Television Autistics

Parenthood (2010 TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Television now includes a surprising number of autistic and possibly autistic characters. We've already had shows with autistics (The Bridge, Touched, Alphas, Elementary, Parenthood, and more). There seem to be more, now, or maybe that's merely my perception.

I am not impressed with this trend. As with the novel and play, __Curious Incident__, the characters seem like a collection of assumptions about autism. Not horrible, but too reliant on shallow understandings of atypical neurologies and savant personalities.

An expert consultant? A specialist? Maybe even an autistic person offering some opinions regarding scripts or even on set. But, generally, the characters feel superficial.

Atypical is just bland and lousy, with or without the geeky boy in search of sex (or love). I simply don't like the characters. If it weren't pitched as a show about autism, maybe it wouldn't be streaming.

The Good Doctor trie…

School is Social (and Academic)

Navigating school requires social skills, and often the most successful academically are also successful socially.

Despite the stereotypes of jocks and nerds, geeks and goths, consider actual data. To participate in athletics, a minimum GPA is required. I recall the star athletes from my high school and today those individuals are doctors, lawyers, and teachers. They were involved in student government, and later joined organizations at their colleges and universities.

The "privileged" students had time to participate in sports, music, drama, and student government. They were raised in reasonably secure and successful households. They understood the rules of high school and, later, the universities. The balanced academic and social skills, leading to academic and professional success for themselves after high school.

The student who can feign admiration for a teacher or professor? She does well, for some reason. Teaching assistants at the university particularly seemed to…

Another Degree of Overqualified

Earning the MFA in Film and Digital Technology proved a challenge, in many ways. We had medical emergencies (including surgeries for both my wife and me), family emergencies, and the general financial stress of a graduate degree. There were long nights and weekends spent working on projects and papers, trying to add to my marketability so I might earn some money to contribute to the household.

I now possess the MA, MFA, and PhD pieces of paper. My areas of specialization are the economics of media and portrayals of economic issues in the media. I'm interested in how we discuss economics and find it fascinating that an expensive industry (media) that embodies capitalism finds itself conflicted. More narrowly, I'm fascinated by the visual aspects of digital media and how those are used to engage in persuasion.

There isn't a huge demand for the rhetoric of economics, especially within visual rhetoric. It's a small field, dominated by a few names. You need an appreciat…

Thirty Years Ago...

Thirty years ago, I was preparing to move to Los Angeles to attend USC. If I could tell myself what I know now…

1) Do not drop the physical sciences degree four units short! The English and journalism degrees won't get you far.

2) Do not drop the computer science degree, either. Sure, the courses are boring and you will do more interesting stuff at work in the computing center, but darn it… uhg!

3) Do not pursue the teaching credential. It isn't going to happen, so stop it. Now! (And you'll keep repeating this teaching career mistake. Get over it.)

4) Do more than work and study. Two years at the Daily Trojan and nobody will remember you because you didn't hang out or attend any events. That's not how to network. Clips alone aren't the ticket.

5) Enjoy LA more. You'll miss it later. Riots, earthquakes, and all, you'll always consider LA "home" in some way.

I graduated in 1990, after three years, with the fall 1990 semester for my pr…

The Career that Wasn't

Newspaper (Photo credit: Wikipedia) When I was an undergraduate, my goal was to teach high schoolphotography, yearbook, and newspaper. If I could undo the last 27 years of my career... I would. In a heartbeat. Accepting a job that seemed right changed my life and took me away from that path.

Instead, I ended up trying to make my skills work, somehow, from job to job. But, I always long to be back at the high school, teaching photography and media arts.

The disappointment in myself doesn't fade. I should have made that lousy (abusive) job work long enough to clear my credential and do what I wanted.

So, I went after the MA, Ph.D, and MFA all with the goal of teaching full-time. I've had one full-time, tenure-track post, and it was as bad as the high school job that I left.

It's my social skills, or lack thereof. It's the way colleagues (especially supervisors) run over me and get me to do their work. It's many things. Too many.

All I wanted to do in life was teach a…

Insecurity and Relationships

Insecurity is the greatest challenge for me in relationships.

I seldom feel confident as a partner, friend, mentor, or coworker.

In my marriage, I rarely believe I am as intelligent overall as my wife. I know I am not as emotionally balanced as she is. I know I lack her ability to deal with people. I know all the ways in which I fall short of her. I rarely feel that my talents complement hers.

This insecurity means I constantly worry that I have failed her. She could have found a better companion, someone with whom she would enjoy life and enjoy more success. That's a challenge for a relationship, since I'm always fighting the sense that she would be better off without me.

I think to myself, if only I were more successful, more popular, more charming, and more fun, her life would be better. Instead, she's stuck with me holding her back financially and socially.

Similar thoughts impede my friendships, my teaching, and my career. Doubts take over, consuming me at …

MFA Film Project - The End is Near

Cinemeccanica movie projector from circa 1950 in small cinema of folklore and arts union. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Since January 2016, I have been working towards my MFA in Film and Digital Technology. During these 18 months, I have had a number of medical issues, yet I did complete my coursework on time despite hospital visits, surgeries, and other minor disasters, including a car accident that totaled our beloved Jeep Cherokee.

What I don’t blog about, for many reasons, is that my wife and I are also foster parents. I won’t write much about that, but want people to understand that not only am I “the autistic me” trying to do my best to obtain job skills, I am also a parent with special needs children who are worth every minute they require for special services and our love.

My studies, teaching, our medical adventures, the children… it all adds up and has made completing the MFA film project a race against the clock. It also is going to require more funds than I had anticipated.