There’s this podcast I used to listen to. It’s called: “The Last Podcast on the Left”, I discovered it whilst searching for podcasts about serial killers and the like because I have a penchant for those dark things and if I am being honest it might be because there is a small part of me that feels that knowing the details of grisly crimes will somehow protect me from meeting the same fate, or I am just a little bit sick. Either way, I’ll make no apologies for my love of all things murder, from Dateline to my girls Karen and Georgia over at “My Favorite Murder”.
That preamble may not have been necessary but there you have it. Now, what the hell does my odd and dark little avocation have to do with autism? Here's the thing, I was hoping the answer would be, nothing. Listening to audio-books, and podcasts and indulging in a little Keith Morrison each week is as escapist as it gets for this mom. It's a time when I don't think about autism or its hold on our family. It's a time when I don't wonder if there is something else I should be doing. It’s me time, and my favorite time to do it, is on the way to work in the morning, which brings me to the point of this gloomy little essay.
This morning, as I indulged, some of my favorite podcast personalities “The Last Podcast on the Left” (ep 35) used the following phrase: “What kind of retard you rockin’?” as if this was a most clever way to ask about his podcast partners “autistic sensibilities”. The r-word banter went on for a few more minutes before I angrily switched it off. Now, I’ll be honest, I tried momentarily to reason out why these podcasters would say such things. Were they using it ironically, (which is still not okay)? Were they playing characters that were supposed to repulse? In the end, it didn’t matter. They used the most archaic and hurtful idea of my child and yours in an attempt to get a laugh and my stomach turned.
So, what am I going to do about it?
Tell my tens of followers for one. If I can’t reach those short-sighted, small-minded, ‘peaked in high school’ sons of bitches, I’ll just have to tell my loyal following that we still have work to do and it starts with calling these people out every chance we get.
Grace and Kate's mom. (Shanell)