But when YOU say it, it is mean and it is not funny and you should stop:
It turns out that saying “the train is fine” has turned into a rhetorical tool by assholes to needle people they disagree with, so much so that just the other day I received almost a thousand hits on the video because of another author’s invocation of the catchphrase.
Being a parent of a child with autism is not a great experience. You get all the hardships of just being a parent, plus the additional burden of dealing with a child who does not have full control of his or her emotions or cognitive state. It can be frustrating, even heartbreaking, and because of that it’s good to be able to step back and laugh a little. But one thing we should not do is turn autism itself into the joke, or accuse people who are not autistic of being disabled themselves….
I’m not going to tell people how to comport themselves online. As I said above, I don’t even expect this entry is going to change anyone’s mind about anything. What’s more, I figure at least some of these assholes will come around and leave hateful comments because I’m daring to point out their thoughtlessness. That’s pretty much par for the course for people who think disabilities are a joke. At the same time, I’m not going to simply watch my blog stats tick upward based on the assholish behavior of others and say nothing. I try to be inoffensive here, but come on.
You will note I’m not naming names. I’m not into the shame game. If someone chooses to out themselves on their own blog or in the comments below, that’s their business, but I’m not going to gather up a bunch of villagers, arm them with torches and pitchforks, and send them en masse toward the castle. That’s not my way, and while it may have been in the past, it isn’t any longer. I’m content simply to say my peace and be done with it.
All I ask of those of you reading this is: stop it. You think you’re being clever and funny, but you’re not. You are being an awful person, and while you might believe it’s for a good cause, whatever point you’re trying to make is lost. Sure, your friends might have a hearty chuckle at how you called someone autistic and isn’t that hilarious, but those of us who live the struggle are not laughing. Our kids aren’t laughing. Our brothers and sisters and cousins and nieces and nephews who suffer with ASD aren’t laughing. It’s not a joke.
I’m so glad he’s not going to tell people how to comport themselves on line. Because if he had, I might have been inclined to observe that it’s not hard to see how the acorn doesn’t fall all that far from the tree. Fortunately, he didn’t, so I won’t.
It clearly escaped Mr. Speech Policeman there that “the train is fine” is not utilized simply as a means of needling those with whom one disagrees. It is utilized as a rhetorical means of demonstrating that the person with whom one disagrees is focused on the wrong thing, often to the point of seeming obsession. In other words, the behavior is observably similar to that of an autistic person, which is why the application of the phrase is funny. Humor is contextual, after all.
As it happens, I find this attempt to take offense at an unapproved use of the phrase to be ironic because it has effectively replaced something most people would tend to find rather more offensive, namely, the demand that the interlocutor “stop sperging”.
Which just goes to show that there is absolutely no point in paying any attention whatsoever to these idiot speech police. Considering the lengths to which they go to find offense, I would think they should be abasing themselves before me and expressing their heartfelt gratitude, not whining and crying… except of course that seeking attention by whining and crying is the whole point of the exercise.
The train is still fine.
UPDATE: Our own Autistic Commenter, ER, comments.
I happen to be autistic so I feel qualified to respond to Sam: Shut the fuck up you attention-seeking virtue-signaling hypocritical speech-policing pussified retard! The train is fine!
UPDATE II: And Azimus makes an apt observation:
The most fascinating aspect of all this is the guy Sam Hawken somehow manages to contort himself into a position where the original material mocking autistic people is funny, but a simple reference to it is offensive. I would love to give the man a piece of paper and a pencil and ask him to map out how this makes sense to him.