NPR has recognized Alice Wong’s groundbreaking work with the publication of the new book, Resistance and Hope: Essays by Disabled People, Crip Wisdom for the People, Edited by Alice Wong, Disability Visibility Project. In an unexpectedly insightful and critical story Ilana Masad outlines the stories in both Wong’s book and the new collection of New York Times disability essays, About Us: Essays from the Disability Series of the New York Times, edited by Peter Catapano and Rosemarie Garland-Thomson
Category: Publishing & literature
Once more with feeling: I will never pay to see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Even if money was no object, even if I had comp tickets, I still wouldn’t go. Hell, even if someone was paying me to watch the play, I would have significant pause.
As an autistic person, if I had to choose between watching the dramatization of what my community has lovingly (that’s sarcasm; we are capable of it) called “the nighttime dog book” and getting that root canal I suspect I need…
Put a bib on me. Shoot me full of lidocaine. Because I’m not watching that play.
Many, many autistic people have leveled criticism against the novel for its stereotypical and harmful depiction of autistics. The main character, Christopher, is portrayed as an egotistical snob whose disability and disdain for anyone he considers less intelligent than himself (i.e., everyone) justifies the abuse heaped on him by his family and society as a whole. Unsurprisingly, because we live in an ableist hellscape, the book has been received warmly by neurotypical audiences and critics.
Due to the book’s popularity, Christopher has served as the standard bearer for a cavalcade of fictional autistic white boys with too much self-worth and not enough social skills. A combination that almost always manifests as misogyny and/or lateral ableism. (On a related note, I will not be watching this fall’s latest crop of “autistic white boys: bad for their family members, good for science” series, Atypical, The Good Doctor, and *groan* Young Sheldon.)
Watching this book be brought to life while surrounded by hundreds of fawning neurotypicals sounds like Hell on earth to my highly-attuned autistic hearing.
And yet the play’s recent run in San Francisco was included on this website’s calendar.
Why would we bring public attention to an artwork that I personally would rather undergo dental surgery than attend?
To get to the root of that question, I’ll need to transition into my generation’s favorite critical device: the listicle.
Reclamation Press is a new publishing company created by Elizabeth “Ibby” Grace and Corbett Joan OToole. They publish fiction and non-fiction books by people within diverse disability communities and are seeking authors living at intersections such as disability, race, and class. They strongly believe that people living at the junctions of multiple communities create books that expand our horizons and enrich the lives of individuals and communities. Check out their new blogposts and follow them on twitter and FB by going to the Reclamation Press website here. The image here features the cover design of “Fading Scars: my queer disability history” which was a finalist for the Lamda Literary Awards in 2016 and on the ‘must read’ for the 2016 Women’s March in 2017.