Welcome back! This week, we will continue to learn more about the misconception: do people on the spectrum get humour. We already know the answer (yes) but there are other factors of the myth that are important for us to learn as to why it came about, why is it still around and just how wrong is it really? Will, that is what we have been learning for the past two weeks now, and this week will be no different. Please welcome back to the stage to help explain the whole debacle, the BBC! (pre-recorded cheering)
Last we left off, we were talking about how last year was a big shock (to the BBC at least) of just how funny people on the spectrum can be, one way of which was having a special on an international streaming/film production/god-knows-what-else company. A lot of humour, in my opinion, is taking the mickey out of patterns of our daily lives, but how does someone with Autistic/Asperger’s view such patterns in our lives? Will, the creator of the aforementioned Netflix show Nanette, has her view on things.
Take this picture for example: is your life pattern one of a series of beautiful coloured glass steps leading ever upward towards success, or a nightmarish glass slide leading ever down towards a circle brightly lit by the ever-burning flames of the home of beelzebub? Could go either way really.
She herself “understands things a lot deeper than a lot of people” (Do autistic people ‘get’ jokes? Paragraph 14), and by “things”, she means feelings. But what is strange is that our good doctor Asperger is not only responsible (according to the article) for kick-starting the no-humour myth, but he is also known to believe that people on the spectrum lack both empathy and social understanding (wonder if he watched as many cartoons as his “little professors” have before coming up with these, um, “interesting” ideas).
However, not only did the no-humour belief have a huge upset last year, but so, it might seem, did the no empathy/social understanding myth. The article states that many of the people who watch Nanette seem to agree with her “analysis of feelings and emotions” (Do people autistic people ‘get’ jokes?), which kinda pokes a giant hole in the foundations of the myth doesn't it? Someone should really have it bulldozed as it’s a health hazard.
This guy's got the right idea. Or is it manure he’s shovelling over? Hard to tell the difference between the two.
Will, that does it for this week, and also (for now at least) my analysis of the myth: people with Autism/Asperger have no sense of humour. Next week we will be moving on to a different topic, as always, of which may (or may not) exclusively deal with Autism/Aspergers. But until next time, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.
“Approximately 15 per cent of British Columbians over 15 years old self-identify as having a disability. Our goal is to prevent and remove barriers so everyone can participate and feel included. This way, B.C. will be a better place to live, work and visit for everyone.” (Province of British Columbia, 2018)
According to the Province of BC website, we have committed ourselves to become a truly inclusive province by 2024 by implementing the following strategies:
While these action items may support a stride towards an inclusive province over the next 6 years, I would ask, how will the Province of BC be held accountable to its commitments? What should people with disabilities do if these values of inclusivity are not upheld? I can say with confidence that, despite the good intentions of the Province, individuals with disabilities are often rendered voiceless in instances of discrimination. I would suggest that this is largely due to the arduous process involved in escalating a complaint to the BC Human Rights Tribunal.
The Province of Ontario has established an Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. This Act provides Ontarians provides citizens living with disabilities with the option to pursue legal action against their discriminators other than going through a Tribunal process.
I am hopeful that the British Columbia Accessibility Act drafted in May 2018 will give British Columbians the same option. It is difficult to comment on the current content of this Act given that there has been very little progress made. However, I anticipate that its intention is to offer an additional avenue of recourse to citizens living with disabilities who have experienced discrimination. Such an Act may also provide the citizens of BC a measure of autonomy in their pursuit for equity and an opportunity to address their complaint via litigation. Hopefully, this would alleviate the pressure related to the victim’s responsibility to prove and present their case to Tribunal decision makers and make way for case law to preside based on individual circumstances.
The Province acknowledges that there is a significant number of British Columbians living with disabilities and that we should be working towards being a truly inclusive province. Therefore, I hope we continue to find ways support equity and diversity and hold those who do not align with this goal accountable.
Canadian Law Faculty members debate over the provision of extra-time on exams for mental health-related disabilities.
The debate related to students with disabilities being granted extra time for exams continues in this November 2017 University Affairs article by Andre Costopoulos.
In his 2016 article published in the Education and Law Journal, Bruce Pardy, a law professor at Queens University, argues that “extra-time accommodations are not legitimate and should not be granted because they tilt the playing field against the best students.”
In response to this argument, Renu Mandhane, Ontario Human Rights chief commissioner, conveys a poignant response in an article published by the Huffington Post. In short, she asserts that “The hard truth is, not all subjectively desired qualifications are objectively essential. Just because a professor might prefer a student who does not require additional time on an exam, does not make the absence of mental disability an essential qualification. Instead, a careful, good-faith inquiry into the truly necessary qualifications must be undertaken to support the needs of our students.”
Likewise, in response to Pardy’s article, York University’s Benjamin Berger, Associate Dean and Lorne Sossin, Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School, respectively, point to the importance of universal design in a National Post article published in August 2017. “This is the idea that barriers are not in the individual but rather in the environment, and that appropriately designed environments remove barriers that are unnecessary.”
Welcome back! This week, we continue to look at the myth: people with Autistic/Asperger don’t have a sense of humour. Last week, we found out about an BBC podcast who seeks to discredit various myths, including this one, with sharp-wit and humour, along with how the myth started in the first place. But how do you explain to people that the myth is no less a myth than one about faye people or pixies? (probably the same thing, but you get the idea). Will, let's find out.
Think about it, which sounds more likely: that people on the spectrum don’t get humour? Or little humanoids are flying around, causing all sorts of problems or doing whatever it is they are said to do?
How would you explain it? The article might have a solution: a listener to “1800 Seconds of Autism” once wrote (to whom it does not say) that “once you own autism” (Do autistic people ‘get’ jokes? Paragraph 10), it transforms from “constellation of character defects (Do autistic people ‘get’ jokes? Paragraph 10) to something that can be understood (though the article has added the word “vaguely” in front of “understood”). Apparently, you can explain it much like a colour-blindness of sorts, one that cannot see green, but ultraviolet instead.
It goes on to say that NT’s (a slang for Neurotypicals) make sense of the world in their own ways, and not always in the same way. They don’t have deficits, just that their “acuities don’t fully overlap.” (Do autistic people ‘get’ jokes?). Confused? Makes sense? Probably one of those explanations that you need to think about before you get it. Or need another explanation to explain the explanation. Apparently though, this explanation can work across the entire “plain” (of existence? Elemental? Magical?), which includes humour. But, compare this myth to what has happened over the course of last year, according to the article, and something does not seem to hold up.
Not that the myth really held up much if you actually talked with someone on the spectrum, but the BBC seemed to have had a rude awakening last year concerning us and humour.
In 2018 alone, Autistic/Asperger comedians got their own taste of the limelight (why is it called limelight anyways? What if you hate limes? I like apples, so can I call it the applelight?), either by making shows on Netflix (like Nanette) or by making it to one of the top 3 spots on talent shows (like Britains got talent, where a bloke on the spectrum made it to second place). Proving that not only does the no-humour myth not hold water, but that it has so many holes in it that it’s structural integrity is poor and liable to collapse by the meerest breeze. Thus having debris fall onto the sidewalk and road, cause a road blockage that will hold up traffic for hours on end, than causing people to riot in the streets over having to try to back up and take a detour.
This is why we as a society need to learn on how to use more stable material, like facts, when it come to building theories. Or at least choose firm, stable ground if your going to start building misconceptions.
Then once all the debris are cleared, all the inconvenienced travellers once again head on their way to wherever it is they were going. And that is why myths are bad for society. But enough about the dangers of poor building methods, next week we will continue to learn more about this no-humour myth. But until then, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.