Monday, April 6, 2015

Don't Feed the Trolls

A friend just alerted me to an article about Theatre Development Fund's fantastic Autism Theatre Initiative. Thanks to TDF, we have been able to take Ryan to four Broadway shows without worrying about his stimming bothering other patrons, because the entire audience was either autistic or accompanying someone on the spectrum. Seeing shows through ATI has been a completely positive experience for our family.

So it was all I could do not to stab my computer screen with a butter knife when I read some troll's comment about the article (on The Atlantic's Facebook feed):
"What's next making pork more kosher?"
I have about a dozen problems with his comment, but instead of blowing up at his stupidity, I calmly put on my best grown-up online voice and replied,
"I don't understand your analogy. Are you saying programs that make theater more accessible to disabled audiences should not exist? Are you saying disabled individuals can never properly enjoy theater? Please clarify."
First, this is a great program, and the article was 100% positive. Why be so negative? (The public portions of this guy's Facebook profile indicate he's consistently negative about many issues, including the US government, his own parents, France, Amnesty International, and the ACLU, so I probably shouldn't take any of this to heart. But, you know me...).

Second, this analogy is garbage. Since pork can never be kosher, no matter what you do, logically he is saying autistic people can never attend theater, no matter what TDF does. Clearly many autistic individuals can, and do, enjoy live theater, either thanks to TDF or on their own.

Perhaps he's trying to say autistic people shouldn't attend live theater, or, more broadly, shouldn't participate in society at large.

Maybe in his head the pork in the analogy is autistic people themselves, and he's trying to say you can dress an autistic person up and take him to the theater but you can't make him kosher, ie: clean, acceptable, Human.

I believe in personal freedom, so I don't feel too kindly toward anyone who wants to stop someone else from enjoying his or her life, provided that person's actions do not harm anyone else. Live and let live, Troll.

Mostly, I really have to stop reading the comments.

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Keep it civil, people.