14 November, 2009

fictional characters

who strike me as having ASD and/or who I identify with as an ASD person without actually thinking that they have an ASD.

1. MAD MEN of course has Pete and Peggy, who pass in different ways, who compensate in different ways, who "improve" in different ways and are attracted and repulsed by each other for precisely that reason.

2. HARRY POTTER--Luna in a conventional way (i.e. she strikes me as actually having ASD). She was the first person I was exposed to that dumb conversation about, because Luna said something nice to Harry one time and real ASD people don't ever say anything nice or helpful, according to the people in that conversation. Also, Luna dresses weirdly because she likes to, while real ASD people dress weirdly because they don't know any better. Tiresome, because she's actually perfect as a realistic example of an ASD person, and I wish more intentionally ASD characters were like her.

I don't really think Neville has ASD, but he is my favorite character and it's easy to identify with the way life is a battle for him while he's in school. There's a really good fic, Night-blooming Heartsease, which really powerfully articulates the kind of determination I had to develop as a teenager--and yeah okay, it's slash, and has a pairing that squicks a lot of people out, but seriously, just read it anyway, you won't even care it's that good.

3. ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT--Buster of course! His impairments are probably caused by his upbringing and not something neurological, but I've always found him easy to relate to. For a while it was easiest to just explain myself by saying, "I'm young for my age." Although I don't have all the trouble with things like taking buses that I used to have (not as much, anyway), I used to just tell people, "Yeah, so I'm basically the real-life Buster Bluth." It made things a lot easier. I think that Tony Hale makes some acting choices, in terms of mannerisms, that make Buster read as someone with a developmental disability, but I don't know if this was a conscious decision.

4. FIREFLY--River Tam, especially in "Objects in Space." Again I don't think she is really ASD, but I love the message of that episode, which to me is about how the crew try to judge River's sanity and morality based on the things she does that they read as "crazy" or "odd," like picking up the gun, or having (in Kaylee's eyes) the wrong kind of affect after shooting people. She doesn't see context, she just sees objects in space. Then we have Jubal Early who also doesn't see context but is completely different--River sees guns as pretty objects, and Early sees "ordinary" objects as weapons, he sees the cheerfully, guilelessly sexual Kaylee as someone he can cow with the threat of rape. So I think the story is supposed to be, context-blindness and being evil or unstable are not the same thing. River is odd and good.

5. SPACED--Brian! I really love him because usually when you are diagnosing fictional characters, you have to go on social interaction alone, but Brian actually has the mannerisms and postures of an ASD person. Well, this ASD person, anyway. And like Luna and River and Buster, he is a good person, just different, which is nice to see.

I'm sure I'm forgetting someone. A lot of people, actually. But whatever.

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