The Blogora: The Rhetoric Society of America


Autism is a Rhetoric[?]

Submitted by syntaxfactory on May 10, 2011 - 9:53am

" We contend that autism itself is a rhetoric, a way of being in the world through language, a rhetoric we may not have encountered or recognized frequently in the past nor value highly in academic contexts, but a rhetoric nonetheless. If autism is a rhetoric, then we are beholden to respond to it with cultural sensitivity, ethical care, and pedagogical complexity. And if autism is a rhetoric and autistics are minority rhetors, English faculty already possess all the tools and experience they will need to do exactly that."

From Autism and Rhetoric, in the new issue of College English


Enjoying Spring Break and the Ethnography of Autism

Submitted by Jim Aune on March 17, 2010 - 5:51pm

For many years, Christmas and spring breaks were the hardest on my family. Away from school, my two autistic children regressed in (to us) exhausting ways. Three years ago, we were finally eligible for a federal program called CLAS, which has enabled the hiring of inhome aides for Nick and Daniel (had we lived in the upper midwest or elsewhere, we would have qualified earlier, but I digress).


Autism as Metaphor

Submitted by Jim Aune on August 11, 2009 - 6:44pm

"What is it about autistic people that prompts the trope of the alien? How are autists different from other human beings, in such a way that a gifted autist can feel that living among humans is like living with Martians? How can a gross but effective sound bite create the sense that aliens are snatching our children to make them theirs ? I am of the school that thinks you can learn about X by reflecting on what makes something not-X.


Autism Awareness Day

Submitted by Jim Aune on April 2, 2009 - 10:27am

April 2 is Autism Awareness Day. If you are new to the Blogora, I should disclose that I have 2 autistic sons: Nick (20) and Daniel (18). The autism rate is now 1 in 150 births, but I just heard on NBC that the rate is 1 in 94 for boys. A recent study in California found that this dramatic increase can't be accounted for by better diagnosis. And it's NOT (repeat NOT) from vaccines. Slate has had good continuing coverage of the science, such as here. And don't listen to anything Jenny McCarthy says.


Autism-Vaccine Link Further Debunked

Submitted by Jim Aune on February 8, 2009 - 4:34pm

Seems the original study was fabricated. What misery one irresponsible person can cause. . . .


The Full Retard

Submitted by Jim Aune on August 11, 2008 - 10:30pm

We see the world, as Burke told us, through terministic screens. This insight, along, perhaps, with Orwell's "Politics and the English Language," as well as widespread belief in the (now-discredited) Sapir-Whorf hypothesis as well as General Semantics, led my generation to fixate on changing language in hopes of changing the world. It is not, of course, that simple; language is neither totally irrelevant to social change (as some "realists" might say) nor is changing language an appropriate substitute for normal or contentious politics in liberal democracies.


Artful and Inartful Proof?

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 28, 2008 - 1:04pm

I suppose we've flogged this topic to death by now, but "Dr." Savage's radio network has issued a disclaimer/apologia of sorts:


Michael Savage on autism

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 19, 2008 - 6:07pm

The viciously right-wing talk show host Michael Savage tells us autism is a fraud. I have a few used diapers I'd like to send him if anyone has his address:


Alex with Autism

Submitted by Jim Aune on May 29, 2008 - 12:43pm

The story of Alex, who has high-functioning autism, being voted out of his kindergarten classroom in Florida, has caused a lot of media/blog comment this week. I'm kind of curious--for those of you who know Florida--what kind of school district this is. Our family experience with our two autistic children has been that the wealthier/more professional (especially university professionals) the school district, the worse is the treatment of the disabled.


Obama and McCain's Bad Science

Submitted by Jim Aune on April 22, 2008 - 11:54am

Oh, jeez. Now Obama's joined McCain in proposing the vaccine-autism link. Stupid, stupid, stupid--with potentially life-threatening consequences if children do not get vaccinated. It's all about funding for early intervention, plus a serious commitment to providing care for adults with autism.