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Friday, September 28, 2012

Dear Something Awful: Autistics can be People, Not Bronies

Recently the humor site Something Awful did an expose on the "brony" phenomenon (i.e. adult men obsessed with My Little Pony, sometimes to the point of fetishization). The article consisted entirely of insulting the Bronies for being pervy and pathetic, and most of those insults were various permutations of Autism and Asperger's. To quote author Seth Bailey;

"As you may have noticed, I've made a lot of autism/aspergers jokes in this update. The reason for this is twofold: 1) The Autism Spectrum is a bottomless lulzmine of comedy gold that never goes dry no matter how many mother loads are discovered by the internet hate machine and 2) a disproportionate number of bronies identify (either self-diagnosed or for realsies) as autistic/aspergarian. The sperg is practically rampant in this subculture."

Take this "documentary" for example. While it was uploaded to troll bronies, these are real, honest to God members of the culture in the video. I had the misfortune of watching the entire goddamn thing and there is not a single normal person to be had; not one. I'm not sure which came first: the children's show that hit so many spergbuttons that it would inevitably become obsessed over by neckbearded futurepedos or the broken-ass brain that was looking for a children's show to latch on to. Science would suggest a co-evolution.

The basic notion expressed here is that autism has a direct correlation with not just liking My Little Pony, but devoting your life to a sexual arousal of prepubescent cartoon horses. The fact that it's expressed as humor is besides the point. This is hardly the first time Something Awful has used autistic people as a target, based on the actions of a few. And it's developed an influence to the point where simply admitting having autism on the internet carries a risk of being trolled. And reacting to that trolling makes you look over-sensitive, as though wanting to not be judged by your neurological make-up (or "broken-ass brain") makes you a member of the "PC Police".

I stopped writing my reviews of Sonichu because I felt they were doing more harm than good; I intended to make sure I was just making fun of Christian Weston Chandler for being an awful writer/artist and a personally disturbed and unpleasant individual, but I doubt it came across that way to everyone who read it. Chandler (who's also a brony) is a laughable failure of a human being, but he's that way from his own experiences, his own poor upbringing and his own bad choices. The same is true for the bronies being ridiculed there; autism is only one part of an autistic's entire persona, and while it may guide the direction in which they go, it's not an immutable lock upon who they'll be and what they'll do. There are certainly "neuro-typical" bronies engaged in these perversions, and there are certainly plenty of autistic people who have meaningful jobs, relationships, and lives outside of their fandoms. (I personally could care less about My Little Pony either way).

I doubt that a Something Awful writer would explicitly  make a joke about howall Christians were homophobic bigots, that all African-Americans were materialistic gangsters, that all homosexuals were gaudy perverts, or any other sweeping generalization about a large group of people. I don't mind the making fun of the more extreme bronies, though the unpleasant traits they express have more to do with their own personal sexual dysfunctions than simply liking My Little Pony . What I mind is the notion that because of the way I was born, I'm somehow less than human, and cannot escape association with the internet's sub-cultural laughing stocks.

1 comment:

  1. Honestly, as someone who both is professionally diagnosed with Asperger's and questions his sexuality, I find that bronies in general give autistics a horrible name. I should know because I used to be one of them.