9/26/2010

Getting a jump on the Week

Right. It's Sunday night, isn't it? And most of us are busy getting ready for the week ahead. So I'm gonna get my Monday post done tonight. That's a jump on things, right, not an avoidance of other things? Ah, perhaps it's not. Still, it's one less thing I'll feel I should do at 5:30 tomorrow morning, and that will make my Monday flow better, maybe.

Mondays are my second longest day; Wednesdays are the longest. It's lovely work I do, though, so even though the days are long, it's spent doing a job I love. What more can a gal ask for than that? Ah well, the moon, I'm sure. And chocolate and coffee enough to get there and back!

Each morning for the last eighteen months, I've glanced at blogs the way I used to watch the news; I read the news online now, roundabout my blog visits. One of the places I'd usually hit on was Age of Autism. Have you noticed it's slim pickings there now? Same old same old, with the same folks. It's not worth the bother any more, not really. Nothing to see anymore. I won't be going there tomorrow. What I feel when I read those comments is mostly pity. I think that their rhetoric is dangerous; it's misguided, too. And when I see someone quote and link to whale.to, well, my eyes roll. There's only so many conspiracy theories a body can read is for damn true. It ain't worth the price of admission, and seeing someone be taken in by a site like that reveals a great deal.

I'm teaching my students how to recognize key words in ads, in posts online, on websites selling goods. It's important work in the midst of teaching grammar, writing, and psychology and provides a handy way of demonstrating some fallacies. Certainly websites like AoA provide good fodder as well, but since the schtick doesn't change, looking for additional examples isn't really a priority. Besides, folks who read this blog, well, they either were reading Countering Age of Autism to get their mad on because they were AoAers or they were skeptics and science-based bloggers looking to see what woo I'd come across; they already got that it was woo or factually incorrect. How many of the same posts do either of these groups need to read, anyway? The AoAers can get their mad on elsewhere.

Ah, see, what I'm saying is, the blog wasn't changing anybody's opinion. Like Hillary Clinton, I guess I'm one of those women you either like or don't, and I'm good with that. I can change hearts and minds in the classroom, or at least work at it.

Here, well, maybe I can help flesh out the goals that Kathleen and I have for the directory and Respect for Infinite Diversity: community building. Hah, see with that, we make a difference. We want to change the world, we do, even if it is one person at a time. We want to build a supportive, kumbaya community. Haven't we been working on it since this started? Kickass kumbaya: we'll take on the woo, right enough, and those who peddle it, but that isn't enough. Showing support and encouragement for other families and individuals, both online and in the real world, well, maybe it isn't a huge quantum leap or anything, but I can live with incremental change, even when it chafes. I know all about incremental change, tiny, slow, itty bitty change; change so small it barely registers until it finally smacks you in the face change!

More than two decades ago, my grandfather and I argued over changing the world. He argued vehemently that no one person could change the world. Hah, I come by my love of argument naturally (my dad and I jaw at each other all the time); I replied back: "Jesus." And I wasn't cursing, either. It was one of the last real conversations I had with my grandfather, too, unfortunately; well it was the least acrimonious, anyway. I'm not saying I'm christlike here; don't mistake me. I'm not saying I'm gonna take the world by storm, either. I'm saying that here in my little neck of the woods, I'm going to get up each day and try to make it a little brighter, a little kinder, and the folks in it a little better at thinking, reading, and writing critically. I'm going to work hard to raise my children the best I can and to make the world a little more understanding of folks who don't fit the pre-fabbed mold.

It's what I got. If it ain't enough, well, it's still what I've got. Oh, and flowers. I got them, too.

9 comments:

lifewithasperger said...

Kim,
There's a lot I could say, but I'm gonna just tell you:

I think you're wonderful.

:-)

kathleen said...

I concur with lifewithasperger...one person, one moment,one zillionth of an inch at a time..those who believe that a person can't change the world have already given up.
There are some who believe that the world revolves around them-and them only..they don't see their place nor the impact they could have..instead of "doing" they complain..the cup is half empty..I guess what I'm trying to say is this-you make a difference-you care..you are wonderful..and if some can't see that, see that you are working for many..doing your best and putting yourself on the line-well then they can"t see the forest for the tree's.
We'll talk about this post one day when we are in our eighties kicking ass from our front porches..

KWombles said...

Thank you, Laura and Kathleen. :-)

Laura, I'm gonna be curious, though, about what else you could say!

Kathleen, hee, I don't reckon we'll ever give up, do you? I look forward to those porch days! :-)

Roger Kulp said...

Same old same old from the same old tired names is right.I think one reason,Age of Autism, the book,isn't exactly burning up the charts,is because we've read it all before,and much of it from these same two characters.Donald Triplett and his gold salts,Pink Disease.Ho hum.

I kind of think the study by Price,et al,was the one that finally did it.It really took the wind out of their sails.And only a few months after Jim and Jenny split.Bummer dudes and dudettes.

I feel pity for them,and their kids,too,but from a different perspective.I know many of these children probably have undiagnosed genetic syndromes.

In the last week,two previously diehard antivax moms joined our little Yahoo! group.Their kids were found to have mito,and/or a fatty acid metabolism disorder.One is really pissed she spent all that money,and aggrivation on chelation,GFCF,and such.

as you once said yourself,antivaxers have always been a minority.A very noisy minority.

I must admit,ever since I learned about your teaching,I was very curious just how you worked AoA,and the antivaxers into it all.

Roger Kulp said...

I thought you might like to see two comments from here..They were back to back after a lot of the usual drivel from he usual suspects.

Sometimes you just gotta read hese threads for a chuckle when you're board:

These autism freaks (Jenny McCarthy amongst them) are just like the birthers. You can't please these bamas ever.

Posted by: bs2004 | September 17, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Alrighty then ... I guess we should run to the nearest vaccine supplying drugstore and cure our kids of autism with more mercury injections because the CDC supports this biased profit driven research ... Or, should we just wait until the Almighty Government "forces" us to do it ?? I mean what big deal is losing one more human right compared to all we've had to endure this last year ?

Posted by: smartmom | September 17, 2010 3:13 PM

KWombles said...

Roger, thanks for sharing the link to the article and comments.

In my 1302 course, I use a few AoA pieces with contrasting pieces. The point isn't to beat up on the writers, but to provide appropriately matched counter pieces and let students analyze them and decide for themselves. It provides good opportunity for the discussion of more than just critical thinking skills; coping skills, parenting skills, societal values, and more are discussed, as is the need for compassion and empathy.

angel said...

I am so glad I found your blog and blog directory!

I really appreciate this post and I am fascinated myself with marketing and how people blindly follow ads or websites without any detective work on their own.

My 5 year old daughter asked me the other night to fast forward through the commercials, when I asked her why she said "because they are not true and we don't need a car." I confess I was a very proud parent.

Do you have any books or resources to recommend that would be beneficial for more on the topic of recognizing key words and such?

I tend to know that things are not true but then question if I am correct or not. I have done that in the past with reading materials from such places as AoA, but I quickly go and look for other resources to combat that feeling. It would help me to know what to look for specifically and understand the strategies that are used.

KWombles said...

Hi Angel!

You should be a proud mama; that's great reasoning by your daughter. :-)

Sometimes, it's a matter of investigating specific claims made, but there are key things to look for in certain kinds of ads.

For example, if the claims are very vague, a product offers to cure multiple conditions, there's no specific ingredients, and no plausible way for the product to do what it claims, you may have something to be worried about.

If it's got a warning saying it's not been evaluated by the FDA and isn't intended to treat diseases, it's not one I'm personally going to be purchasing.


I recommend starting with this film:

http://herebedragonsmovie.com/

This site:

http://austhink.com/critical/

And this book:

How to Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age.

angel said...

Thanks Kim!

These are great, I am half way through Here Be Dragons, it is a very good resource.