Thursday, September 22, 2011

It Happened, Glee Pissed Me Off

Update September 25: Alot of people seem to be reading this post. Pay attention to the comment caveats. Do not comment if you are going to be nasty. If you say nasty things knowing it will not be published then you are just being a troll. It is boring. Go do some charity work. Help out at a soup kitchen or at a food bank. This country has some real problems do something about it. Get out of your house and get a life.

Considering what a Gleek I happen to be I surprised myself that the season premiere of Glee angered me so much. Actually if you read the rest of this post you will understand why I was upset, it was just unexpected. It wasn't that the singing or dancing was less terrific. It wasn't that the story line is really any different as well. There was the usual teenage angst, turn to the darkside, need to discover yourself, backstabbing machinations found in high school but I thought it went over the top this time. Mr. Shuster standing up for himself and the Glee club was a long time coming but I really am tired of Sue Sylvester being a sociopath. (yes I understand that there are crazy teachers in highschool) And yes, I understand that Glee is over the top campy too. But there are some things that just aren't funny.

I suppose what set me off is the rude portrayal of the student with aspergers. There was a student who came into the Glee club tryouts with aspergers, thinking she was the greatest singer of all time but who in reality just couldn't sing at all. This of course is not an unusual manifestation of aspergers as any of us parents could tell the Glee writers. There have been times over the years that both boys would think that they were doing something so amazingly that they could be the best in the world. An unrealistic perspective about one's talents is part and parcel of this disability. They could think they are more capable then they are, or quite frankly, as with most cases, think they are less capable then they truly are simply because there are so many basic daily realities that they face that are so hard to accomplish and understand.

I have to tell you that the issue we generally have had over the years is the boys thinking they couldn't do something when they could.  CM2 would immediately shutdown when faced with a new concept or idea at school and CM1 would just dismiss anything out of hand that seemed overwhelming, like trying new social situations. Yes there were times when they were much younger that they had unrealistic perspectives, for example when they were learning to play tennis and finally hit the ball over the net and would announce that they were headed for a professional career in tennis and meant it, but that was a long time ago. On the other hand, I would have to say that neither really does like to loose at something they consider important in their lives. CM1 doesn't like bad grades (anything below an "A" or a "B+" is bad to him) and CM2 does think he knows everything about every video game. Yet these are issues we can work with and we can help them channel these idiosyncrasies into making positive, productive life choices.

The issue I have with  Glee, which has prided itself on the positive role model it shows for gay and lesbian students (or basically any student who has felt themselves isolated and alienated) and the issues they encounter in high school, turned the aspergers student into a laughing stock. Instead of trying to be understanding towards the aspergean and to figure out this student, they showed the Glee members frowning, smirking and laughing at  her including the all understanding Glee Club teacher. They also showed that the aspergean was able to get away with inappropriate behavior and was generally just a spoiled brat with no manners and a huge sense of entitlement.

There was no discussion of issues. There was no discussion of what this student faced on a daily basis. There was just open ridicule and false stereotypical rendition of those on the autism spectrum. Considering that most students with aspergers and autism spectrum disorders end up bullied and abused by their classmates it was a horrible thing that Glee did. Instead of lending support they have now told all the tweens and teens that watch their show that it is OK to make fun of and abuse our children.

Shame on Glee. The next time a child on the autism spectrum is bullied, harassed or beaten up, the writers of Glee can blame themselves for adding to the hostile environment that so many of our children face. So much for understanding and acceptance. You can bet I won't be watching Glee anymore, until and unless the autism community gets an apology, or Glee finds a way to let everyone know that aspergean issues will be handled well, and respectfully, in the upcoming season.

Until next time,