Friday, March 13, 2015

Finding Kansas Revisited: The Hazards of Firsts and Media

The Hazard of “Firsts”

            I froze while reading this chapter. I have no recollection at all of writing this, but it didn’t read like where I was in 2006 and much more read like something I’d write now. This was haunting because it’s clear that the groundwork is being laid for me to do more than write random essays to my dad. It’s strange, though, as my “cement theory” which I state in my presentation and will be in my 2nd book was somewhat in this chapter but not fully realized.

            It’s weird to say I love a point I made, but seeing how it was almost ten years ago I think it’s right to say I agree with myself on the safety of sameness. The topics I wrote about as what could be a potential Kansas haven’t changed. I wrote this chapter in 2006 and a 1955 Chevy is still a 1955 Chevy and the 1911 baseball season is still the 1911 baseball season. Whatever our Kansas could be it’s often going to be heavy in facts because if we are talking about facts we are talking about something black or white and facts rarely change.

            With each chapter it’s like I’m turning a corner coming closer to realizing there’s more to this than just my story and with this chapter I’m turning a corner coming closer at maximum velocity.


Media and “Firsts”

            This was almost a prophetic chapter, to be perfectly honest. I don’t know, though, if we are going the right way or the wrong way.

            This chapter deals with the fact that I believe that the interaction between various forms of media and those on the autism spectrum can be a hazardous situation, yet at the same time can be positive.

            When I wrote this Facebook was still years from going mainstream, and Minecraft had yet to unleashed on this world. When it comes to Minecraft I don’t know if there has been or will be anything as major as it in terms of generating interest. You should see it when I present at a school and mention Minecraft is the #1 Kansas those that I know are on the autism spectrum instantly light up.

            Now, with the same thing I put forth in this chapter, is this a good or bad thing? I think there is no one answer and the statement of, “If you’ve met one person with autism you’ve only met one person with autism…” holds true here because for person it may be their social outlet and their way to build team skills. For another it may become a world that is so safe, so awesome, and so perfect that leaving it will be impossible.

            Another thing that is different is the way the news is delivered. My fear when I wrote this chapter was how a growing person would process their world around them when exposed to the media. In the media’s frenzy to be the first, or perhaps most shocking, the amount of gruesome violence has gone up by a margin I don’t even know how to measure. Is it real? Yes. Should it be shown? I don’t know, and that’s not for me to decide. What I do know is that witnessing things on the television when I was three, four, and five years of age troubled me for a long time. Maybe times are different, maybe people are stronger, and then again if exposed to so much violence one could be desensitized to it. Maybe yes, maybe no.

            This is topic where there is much debate, autism spectrum or not, and I’m not going to say one way or the other except the questions I put forth in this chapter. These questions and these thoughts are becoming more and more relevant each day as media becomes more and more accessible and seemingly intrusive. I go back to an example I use in my book about what life was like 100 years ago. There was no media and the only “firsts” and “musts” there were was survival; that was it, there was no status updates, no checking in, and gruesome crime scenes from around the world weren’t seen. Times change, and maybe people change, but for people on the autism spectrum is this a change for the better, or a change for the worse?

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