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Mental Swag

15 December 2021

Apparently I haven't been online here for 11 days?? It feels like so much longer than that, LOL. I mean, things have been nice lately. I'm trying to have a marginally more positive outlook on life because I thought it would help me get through every day easier and not hate everything, an it's honestly been working!! I guess I just came here to talk abt a thing that I've been thinking about recently.

So, you know how nowadays it's generally looked down upon to use ableist language? Words like "retard" and all that, yknow. And tbh, as a mentally disabled person myself, I really think the internet's obsession with ableism is really annoying and doesn't help disabled people all that much. It's definitely related to cancel culture, because nowadays on social media everything is problematic, but I've noticed a whole new influx of people thinking that cancelling someone for saying "retard" or smth in 2011 makes them a disability rights activist. And it's like, bro... nobody cares. Move on. I saw someone talking abt this in relation to a kids' book author (Rachel Renee Russel, author of the Dork Diaries series, if anyone wants to know), because apparently the books this woman wrote contain the word "retard". Like, okay, that's pretty shitty, but most of that book series was written in the late 2000s-early 2010s when that kind of language was very socially acceptable. I generally can't stand most terminology-related anti-ableism, in fact. Because it is absolutely not a big deal when someone uses words like "crazy", "stupid", "schizo", "psycho", etc. These words are not associated by the geenral public with specific disorders. They're associated with craziness as a general concept, just like how the word "gross" is associated with a bunch of things that are considered unpleasant/disgusting and not with anything specific. "Gross" can refer to anything from vomit to mud to an ugly sweater. The words that everyone seems to think are SO ableist refer to general things too. "Psycho" or whatever else can refer to a serial killer just as much as it can refer to the kid we all went to school with who used to naruto run everywhere. And as for genuinely ableist words like "retard"? I think we all need to stop worrying about those, tbh. I use "retard" in place of "stupid", "annoying", and other negative words, and while I'm aware that my disabled status grants me a privilege to use it that abled people don't have, I honestly don't care and think we should just let its meaning change already. It's just not as big of a deal as other slurs imo. Like, whatever. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Something else I hate is how the Internet has created this idea that you can't ever criticise anything a mentally disabled person does or thinks. This is mostly from the autism and ADHD crowd, with things like "special interests" (G-d I hate that term) and hyperfixations. I'm going to talk about special interests for the most part, but they're honestly pretty similar to each other so hyperfixations are also included in what I say. There's this whole thing about how you shouldn't make fun of people's special interests because they can be literally anything, including things that seem weird or childish. And likeeeee. I'm all for understanding disabilities and the symptoms of them, but this is by far the dumbest thing I've ever heard on this topic. First of all, even though special interests and hyperfixations aren't really things that someone chooses to have, we still have some level of control over how strong our interest in them can get and how much we engage with that fixation. And second of all, it's not that terrible to make fun of someone for their special interest???? Like if I meet someone in their 40s whose special interest is a show like Charlie and Lola or some other shit for infants, I'm definitely going to judge them while still understanding that they didn't choose to have autism or to have special interests as a symptom. I know it's not a choice! But remember, just because you don't choose to develop special interests and you usually can't choose what to be interested IN doesn't mean you can't control how intensely you get interested in a thing. Like, if you avoid engaging with the fandom and avoid consuming content related to your special interest, the obsession will likely start to fade much faster than if you keep engaging with that thing.

And besides, part of treating mentally disabled people like normal human beings is understanding our symptoms and not caring too much about them. I don't mean ignoring them and refusing to accomodate to our symptoms, but I DO mean not trying to alienate us and dismiss everything we do as "they're disabled who cares". Like, judging someone for a special interest is not a big deal. In fact, dismissing everything and just blindly going along with everything is ifantilising AF. It's like nodding along and saying "That's so nice, sweetie!!!" when a little kid tells you about a show they like. I really don't like this new thing where mentally disabled people have gone from wanting to be treated as equals, as normal humans who are capable of normal things, to begging people to infantilise them and view them as dumb little kids. Like? People already think we're useless retards, and with how influential internet personalities are, shit like this is going to reaffirm that opinion. We're not making any progress here, and I hate that no one is doing anything ahout it. I am also very bothered by how much worse the "disabled influencers" are making this. There's the relatively common 'disabled child getting exploited by their parents for money and attention from the internet' influencers, who aren't really influencers because they're children, but there are also the grown adults who built a following from showing themselves stimming and shit online, mostly on tiktok and instagram. There's one girl in particular who I'm thinking of, I think her name is Jay or something. She made a video of herself stimming while listening to a song she hadn't heard before that went viral, and... fucking christ. It's like. Why are fellow disableds suddenly making fools of themselves online? Why do that on purpose?

This person is one of many who posts their symptoms openly, and like. You know what? I don't like it because she, as well as all the other idiots like her, are definitely playing up symptoms and doing certain things for clout rather than for the sake of autism education. If this was at all educational, she wouldn't be treating her symptoms like something "cute". She wouldn't call her hand-flapping "cute lil hands" and she wouldn't intentionally make herself look like a complete fucking idiot for millions of strangers on the internet. We seriously need to stop enabling shit like this if we, as mentally disabled people, want to be taken seriously and viewed as functioning humans instead of child-robots who jump around and flap our hands when we're excited and play with stuffed animals.

On Kim's Convenience

8 June 2021

So, yesterday Sonia Rao of the Washington Post published an article about the Canadian sitcom Kim's Convenience. I saw this on the news section of Twitter just today, and as a fan of the show I was naturally curious about what was going on. I mean, to be honest, I'm not surprised because I'm just one of those people who sees a thing being done really well and being really good and successful and praised for being accurate with representation and thinks 'Hm. This IS the entertainment industry, shit is always going wrong there, this might be too good to be true...'. Anddddd on 2 June, one of the lead actors (Simu Liu) actually made a lengthy, detailed post on facebook about pretty much every issue he had with his experience on the show. That last littl note at the end, "otherwise, check us out on Netflix!", is so funny yet sad to me. I mean, if someone beats the shit out of you and takes everything from your wallet all the while yelling cruel, terrifying threats at you and then says "I love your shirt, btw!" before they run away, it doesn't exactly detract from everything else they just did, right? LOL.

Now, if what Simu Liu said about Ins Choi is true, then I'm very disappointed. Yeah, the man has every right to leave the show if he feels like it, whatever. I'm only slightly bothered by it becaue Ins Choi wrote the original play that Kim's Convenience is based on and it's like, damn he abandoned something of his own creation :/. But whatever. My main pet peeves about this show are very different given that I'm just a viewer and that's what I also want to talk about. And, listen, I'm not an expert on any culture, not even my own. I know that many Korean and Chinese people are not bothered by this, many don't give a fuck at all, and just as many would agree with me. I just have my own shit to say and I'm not against other opinions.

Now, the first real issue I found that I had with Kim's Convenience was the man himself, Simu Liu. I know, I know, everyone else who plays a Korean character on this show IS Korean, maybe we can let this slide because no one seems to be saying shit about it and he seems to get on great with the cast and he IS East Asian, but, but... Simu Liu is Chinese. I kind of assumed he was Korean-Chinese when I learned what his name was and connected the dots of "Chinese name, presumably Chinese or part-Chinese actor, Korean character", but he's said himself on Twitter that "everyone is Korean except him", so... I think he did a great job playing Jung, and I'm sure that Korean and Chinese culture are similar in many ways. In just as many was as they're drastically different, in fact. To me, this comes off as very, like, "all Asians are the same and we don't care to differentiate" vibes. It really seems like people aren't bothered by this and even to me it feels nitpicky in a way. But It's a little sketchy to me, even if having people play characters of a culture/race/ethnicity that they aren't part of is a common-ish thing. I mean, the Goldbergs has an Italian playing a Jew, and I don't like it but for some reason there just isn't any visible objection. IDK.

And the fact that they made Nayeon, Janet and Jung's cousin who's directly from Korea and seems to be her early 20s, the "weird, annoying foreigner"... They didn't really do this to anyone else, not even the Kim parents who are from Korea but have lived in Canada for probably over 20 years (based on their kids' ages and me making an assumption based on my own family's experience and all that, but it's not like it was ever mentioned afaik so maybe I'm wrong?). Why make the person who lives in Korea, and by default has closer and more direct experience with unfiltered, un-Candaianized Korean culture, the weird one? Why must the one from the characters' country of origin be weird and obnoxiously quirky and intentionally annoying? It just doesn't sit right with me because it feels very much like they're applying a weird "They're better and more likable because they're from Canada and don't act like those weird Koreans from Korea" filter to Nayeon's episodes. Not great, imo.

Based on all the things the cast have said thus far, it really is disturbing. Of course you don't need to only have Koreans working on a show about Korean families. It's not about making it an exclusive Korean-only TV Show club, but when you don't have ANYONE except the actors who can give insight on their own lives and experiences on a show that revolves around those very things, it is not great. Just as I wouldn't want an entire team of goyim writing a Chanukah scene full of blue-and-silver christmas wreaths and nonstop dreidel action, just as I wouldn't want non-Russkis putting the wrong type of rugs on the walls or cleverly placing the wrong Exact Black Spoon With Brown/Orange Leaf Patterns That Every One Of Us Has For Some Reason on the kitchen set's shelf, just as I wouldn't want non-Thais to sprinkle limp ramen with hot sauce and peanuts and call it authentic cuisine, I don't condone non-Koreans writing an entire culture when they just don't get it. Even if it wasn't for the entire show. It's a culture solidarity thing. No one should have let this happen.