Tag Archives: language

Autism : “language matters”–yes indeed.

I have a particular pet peeve and I know I am not alone :  Nazi analogies. Upset me. Every time.

Now I have been told before that my personal sensitivity to people “playing the Nazi card” for emphasis – or as a playful hyperbole! – comes from the fact that it was indeed ‘my country’ that caused the 13+Mio death (non counting war casualties) during the 3rd Reich. The idea being that some kind of inherited, collective guilt-shame makes me cringe or irritated when I am reminded of it.  Not so.
I am quite aware of my country’s history, thank you, and I even know how my own family was involved and victimized by the Nazis. I have grown up to “never again” and “fight the early signs”. And also : “language matters”.

As history moves on, new genocides and war crimes happen, still it is generally agreed that the Nazi terror is the ultimate superlative of horror and calling someone a “Nazi” is the non plus ultra insult. Or is it? Because by the end 90s, I started to dive into the Anglophone internet – and came across the word ‘breastfeeding Nazi’. Hang on, what!? Wow. And then, people would literally say about themselves : “I am a bit of a grammar Nazi” to express how much they cared for proper use of language. Is that so?
Well, let me be the Thundering Goddess of Linguistics and tell you – there is no semantic shift for “Nazi”. You need to shut up!

“Nazi” is the colloquial expression for members of the NSDAP during the 3rd Reich. Out of respect for the tens of millions of victims of persecution and war, the survivors and descendants – you cannot use the word for emphasis or comparison. NOTHING compares and will ever compare.

nazicard-150x109And this also goes for the use of nazi-isms for the politically or socially outraged. Yes. Unless there is a real connection to 3rd Reich persecution, your argument will not be more convincing by adding shock value with holocaust comparisons, “reductio ad hitlerum” or using Nazi as a prefix. As a matter of fact you will certainly lose credibility and support.

I have expressed my thoughts before on the division in what some call the ‘autism community’, especially when it comes to different approaches of parents. Here is what happened:

Yesterday, in a tweet, someone compared the “autism epidemic” (sic)  to the holocaust.

Look. I see the pain of parents and autists alike.  I know we are lucky. Lucky to manage ‘so so’ with a child that has good (not perfect) support in Australia – and ‘only’ high-functioning autism. I do not compare myself to the parents that are lost and confused and feel abandoned by their governments (in the example: the US).
But while the use of shock talk might get you some attention, I doubt it will get you more support or understanding. Autism is and will never be an “epidemic” (=outbreak of infectious disease). And comparing a government that you judge too inactive in the face of exploding numbers of diagnosis to those responsible of actively murdering millions and millions of people in death camps? Just – no.

Thoughts?

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Read : “Godwin’s Law” and “reductio ad hitlerum
and “fallacy” in wiki

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autism warrior mum : how I was right on the internet.

images (10)I have been around on the internets a little and I know better than to engage in flame wars on public blogs or forums. I really can’t be bothered fighting it out with a stranger. I don’t even mean mindless trolls, just people who are wrong. Chances are, they have more time and energy to go on forever, they will get rude and personal and are not interested in actual arguments.

But there are some topics that are close to my heart and I will make a statement or a comment. Domestic violence is one of them. Environmental issues. And autism.

Yesterday I watched this video from Greenpeace on youtube. Read the description. I think it is awesome.
Then I read the comments.

A mistake, of course, because you should NEVER read the comments on Youtube. Commenting on Youtube has become, for some reason, a sort of training ground for upcoming trolls. They are present in every thread under any video with their silly, obscene comments and personal attacks. (Any parent needs to be aware of that when they think
“oh, kiddo’s only watching funny videos” but that’s another topic.)

In the comments, while some people were shocked and others were actually discussing recycling schemes, some young guns were upset about the eco attack to their drink of choice (oh i drink the stuff too! but still..) or they were just being stupid, and someone posted something like this :

“ d’uh! video makers totally retarded, message not  clear.
are you autistic ?? “

This put me off a little to say the least.

So I replied to the comment. It’s true, I was patronizing. I asked the person if he was only little or a senior or maybe mentally disabled himself not to get it and why use the R word and autistic in this unrelated context and as insults?! Stop Coca-Cola trashing Australia - YouTube - Google Chrome 8052013 95911 PM.bmp

It went a bit back and forth. He wasn’t happy, accused me of insulting him and using disability and age in derogatory terms. I had not. Did I even have a point or was I a troll – did I just want any reaction?
I told him I didn’t care what he thought about the clip really (even if it was awesome). But I repeated my point about the derogatory use of the Rword and autistic in a public discussion. That was my point.

In the end I actually got this :

Sorry, maybe I should not have used the word “autistic” as an insult. That was going a bit too far.

Wow. People, seriously, this made my day.

I have seen many blogposts – here is a fresh one from autismum – about language and it’s mostly exasperated, angry posts. I was angry too. But for this brief moment, I am holding on to the thought that sometimes you can really make a difference and make someone see the light if you try.

Have you been RIGHT on the internet lately ?

Figs..and a little bit of Italy in Oz

On Australia Day this year (I posted about what it means to me here), we went out to different family events in the Bay. We spent a few hours in the sun trying to find somewhere where the Tornado and a little friend could have fun and we would not all end up with a melted brain.

It was hot though even at the fabulous shadowy playground at Wellington Point, so when finally we had enough of the heat and the crowd, and I had dropped off our friends, I sat with a buzzing head in the car driving back. Tornado said – remarkably – “we go home and we have quiet games now, ok Mami?” Oh, yes buddy, we will.

Then I passed by a handwritten sign on a fence where someone was selling the produce of their garden to people via their driveway. “FIGS NOW OPEN”
Hmmm, I thought. Fresh figs! I turned around and parked the car.
As I only have discovered fresh figs (as opposed to dry ones, or sugar soaked ones) in my 20s (moving south in Europe), I still consider them somewhat a special treat. I don’t need to say what an incredibly healthy treat figs are.

figs11-540x341So I rang the old and battered hand bell that was attached to a table with a string. After what seemed an eternity – I was really about to go – a man who was easily in his late 70s if not more, came to the door. He was carrying little cardboard crates of figs by the dozen. And a big smile. The figs  looked gorgeous!

After a few words, I kind of already knew but I wanted confirmation : the old man’s Italian accent was so thick he could have been off the boat yesterday. Out of curiosity, I asked him how long he was living in Australia for.
He told me to take a guess.

Now I have met Italian and Greek immigrants of this generation in Australia before so I dared a cheeky “40 years!” and that made him laugh.
“55! ” he said. I told him where I was from. And : “About 4 years here now.”

He smiled and nodded.  “Issa grat-uh plaice, heh? Australee-ya!”

You’re sayin’ it, mate.  Great for all of the above and so many reasons more.
Ps: Figs tasted awesome!

Link: more about the common fig, on wiki HERE
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