I Think This Should Be A Word: Ignoranthropite

I like this word ignoranthropite, which appears to mean something like “a person who dwells in ignorance”. Of course, that’s pretty much all of us, and I don’t really see it as a synonym for being human, so what else might it mean?

As a rule I’m opposed to gratuitous ignorance-shaming. I strive to accept the fact that we are each of us more ignorant than knowledgeable, and I really think that of all the nasty ways to luck-shame someone, I think one of the nastiest is to shame someone for having failed to learn something yet. Examples of this sort of interpersonal cruelty abound:

  • You should know how to manage your own finances!
  • What? You mean you can’t even cook a souffle?
  • Don’t you know better than to give your credit card number to someone who just calls you up and asks for it?
  • You idiot!
  • You moron!
  • You dolt!
  • You’ve never read The Great Gatsby! Did you even finish high school?
  • Holy cow! When are you going to learn to drive?
  • This is America, dammit — speak Navaho!

So I wouldn’t want this neologism to become a term of insult or disparagement, which suggests it should refer to some sort of temporary status. It is simply a word meant to convey a particular way of being human under particular sorts of circumstances. More specifically, it should probably describe a particular way of being ignorant, until such ignorance has been replaced with a particular kind of  knowledge.

Perhaps this:

An ignoranthropite is a person who dwells for the time being in the specific and hopefully temporary ignorance of his or her own more general and utterly Human state of Ignorance.

In this sense, it appears to have an antonymous relationship to some kind of enlightenment. To the extent that enlightenment is an awareness of one’s own ignorance, then an ignoranthropite is one who has yet to achieve that type of enlightenment.

What do you think?

 

 

 

If a Company Can’t Even Accept Dreadlocks, How Could It Ever Accept Autism, Bipolar Disorder, and Other Forms of Neurodiversity?

I just came across this story about a woman who was denied employment because she had dreadlocks. I find it notable for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the EEOC deemed it worth taking to the Courts back when Obama was President, but rejected my own (autism related) case under President Donald Trump. But perhaps most significantly, the story reminds me of yet another of MetLife’s dirty little secrets:

MetLife Has a “No Hats” Policy.

cute_baby_with_hat_315x210NO HATS??? That’s right, MetLife employees are in violation of the company grooming policy if they wear hats during the work day. It’s OK to wear them to and from work, apparently, but if you’re caught sporting a fashionable beret or deerstalker while working, you can be written up for violating the company’s dress code.

With the dreadlocks case, the EEOC tried to argue along the lines that dreads were commonly worn by African-American people, so discriminating against dreads was effectively discriminating against African-Americans, and the Courts rejected that approach because dreadlocks are a choice, while being African-American is not a choice.

But I think another argument could be made based on the premise that company policies against trivial stuff like dreadlocks and hats gobble up limited policy-enforcement resources that would be better invested into enforcing the company’s policies against discrimination. The idea here is that if a company is wasting its limited policy-enforcement resources on hairstyles and headdresses, then how on Earth can it hope to enforce more important policies, such as those that prohibit discrimination against, say, people with Autism, Bipolar Disorder, etc.

dreadlocks-business_woman_315x210I don’t remember if MetLife discriminates against people with dreadlocks, but I do know the company discriminates against people who like to wear hats. Perhaps if the company could be persuaded to allow hats (dreadlocks, etc.), it might subsequently become more tolerant of the neurodivergent…

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

 

Diversity Acceptance Consultant, At Your Service! — Another Open Letter To The Folks Who Recently Fired Me Illegally For Being Autistic

Dear Folks Who Recently Fired Me Illegally For Being Autistic:

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This is not really a picture of the laptop I’ve stolen, but it does exemplify the kind of excellent care I am taking of the real device. Everyday I take it out for some fresh air and sunshine. Image Credit: Pixabay

First, it’s been a good 10 days now since I’ve confessed to stealing your laptop in order to protest your decision to fire me illegally for being autistic, and I must admit that I feel surprised but fundamentally relieved that I haven’t been arrested yet.

Although I am psychologically prepared to “do the time” for this civilly disobedient cyber crime I’m committing, of course I’d much rather you all just come to your senses and give me back the job you stole from me. But if you really want to send an autistic man to prison over this, well, then rest assured I’m really prepared to go. But in the meantime, every day that I don’t go feels like a gift, and I’m grateful and fundamentally relieved to receive it.

I don’t know what’s taking you all so long to figure out what to do about our predicament, but as long as you’re mulling things over, I would like to suggest a third option — a kind of compromise, really — if it will make things easier for everybody. Basically, I’m wondering if you might like to become my very first paying clients for my new Diversity Acceptance Consulting business.

Please allow me to elaborate:

The obvious (to me) fact that you all fired me for being autistic strongly suggests that despite your company’s being one of the more autism friendly places to work, it nonetheless has some growing it might do with respect to its current Diversity and Inclusion Strategy — especially as this strategy addresses the autism issue, specifically, but probably also the more general issue of psychiatric disability as wellIn my opinion, and I hope you will agree, your company could really benefit from the help of an actually autistic person such as myself — someone who has the skills, background, and experience necessary to challenge your own complacent (let’s face it) and self-congratulatory (just being honest here) status quo, and to lead you all towards greater awareness, understanding, and especially acceptance of autistic people and more generally the psychiatrically disabled as well.

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Again, not your laptop, per se, but yours is comfortable and in the company of friendly and familiar objects. Image Credit: Pixabay

Now, I realize you’re probably skeptical, of course. I know my methods are somewhat eccentric or unconventional. Heck, I bet I’m the only service provider you’ve ever encountered who is actually willing to risk going to prison in order to offer his services to a prospective client, am I right?

But if you know anything useful about autism, you know that if I were truly capable of doing things the way normal people do them, I would have done so long ago. I didn’t choose to be the way I am. Nobody chooses to spend his life with his nose pressed to the glass wondering what its like to be a “normal” person. And nobody should be surprised when an autistic person does something unconventional, eccentric, or just plain weird. If my methods surprise you, then clearly you haven’t spent enough time with autistic people, and that’s a problem I was born to help you solve.

Also, I think if you are honest with yourselves — if you take a good hard look at the facts —  you’ll see that much of my work with your company has already been completed. I’m sure that if you all take careful stock of what you’ve learned about autism in the past few weeks — learned with my help, and, I might add, at great personal risk to me and my family — if you really open your eyes to how you now feel about autistic people (perhaps not me, per se, but at least other autistic people) and especially the whole situation vis-a-vis autism in general, I’m quite sure you will see that I definitely deliver the goods. I’m sure you are now much more aware, understanding, and accepting of autistic people than you were.

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Image Credit: Pixabay

I’m all about customer satisfaction, and oh, did I mention that I offer a 100% money back guarantee?

Yes, that’s right, you understood correctly — a 100% money back guarantee!

Due to the unorthodox nature of the service I offer, for now at least I have chosen to use an entirely tip-based business model. Like a waiter in a restaurant or a street performer, first I deliver my service to my customers for their complete enjoyment, and only after they’ve had a chance to fully benefit from that service do I offer them the opportunity to pay me, with absolutely no obligation to do so.

Yup, you understood that correctly: if you are not completely satisfied with my Diversity Acceptance Consulting service, then you don’t have to pay me a dime. Of course, if you are, say, 30% satisfied, then my hope is that you will pay me 30% of what you would have paid me if you’d been 100% satisfied, but I will leave all of those details entirely to your discretion. The upshot here is that because I’m running a tip-based business with all this, my customers have total control over whether and how much I get paid or not.

In any case, that’s the compromise I’d like to offer you. If you simply cannot give me back my job, and you simply cannot bring yourselves to press charges against me, then how about taking a middle road by becoming my first paying customer for my Diversity Acceptance Consulting business? If you do that, I will still keep your laptop as a souvenir, but you can definitely deduct the cost from whatever you were going to pay me.

I hope that makes things easier for you all. As I said, I am all about customer satisfaction!

Sincerely,

Daniel L. Scholten, a.k.a. “The Walrus”

Diversity Acceptance Consultant — at your service!

flying_walrus

 

 


Image Credit: Shutterstock (colored blocks)

Tilting At Windmills: How To Turn Just About Anything Into A Civil Rights Issue

 

defiance-386x500In my opinion, and especially with Donald Trump in the Oval Office, we all just don’t do enough public protesting, and I suspect it’s because we tend to think that we are just too busy working to pay our bills and to keep food on the table. But this is too bad because the two goals need not conflict, and can in fact be pursued simultaneously and with little extra effort, simply by making a conscious decision to re-purpose into spontaneous mini-protests all our mistakes, bad habits, shortcomings, etc. — basically, all of the ways we might frustrate, annoy, or cause discomfort to another person in some way — and this simply as we go about the ordinary humdrum business of our daily lives.

A few examples will make the general point. Imagine you or others saying any of the following under suitable conditions:

“Defend free speech by farting — often, loudly, odorously!”

“I’m chronically tardy in protest of the Trump Administration!”

“Their armpits stink in defiance of the way animals are systematically abused.”

“What do you mean you forgot to invite me to the party as a gesture of good will toward all sentient beings????”

“Your willingness to just accept that I’m a terrible kisser in the name of Nuclear Arms Reduction is a noble sacrifice for a worthy cause.”

“I have not shaved yet today because I’m hoping it will help raise awareness for diabetes.”

“Let’s all show our disapproval for Trump’s sexist behavior by talking too loudly on our cell phones in public!”

Now, you may find this technique a bit odd, but that’s probably just because it’s such a great idea. Great ideas always seem a bit odd at first, until they catch on and then everybody’s like “wow, that’s a great idea!”

Or maybe you think it’s comical? I agree! Which is partly why I think it can be so effective too. Nothing starts a conversation like a good joke — especially a good fart joke! Jokes always set everyone at ease — especially fart jokes! — and make it easier to keep the conversation on a friendly, collaborative track, rather than letting it veer off into mayhem, murder, or negative attitudes.

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The link between a symbol (green light) and it’s meaning (go/move forward) can be completely arbitrary. Image Credit: Pixabay

One thing to notice with all this is that the link between a given act of protest and the thing being protested can be completely arbitrary. It can be based on nothing more than the occasional need for a good excuse for some random gaffe or foible that might otherwise make you look ignorant, incompetent, or insensitive.

Looking through the examples above, although farting may plausibly be a form of free speech (especially for anyone who talks out of his ass — badump bump!), what’s really the link between animal abuse and stinky armpits? Or between beard stubble and diabetes? None, really, but that’s OK, because the protest is a symbolic gesture, and symbols are often quite arbitrarily linked to what they symbolize.

Consider, for example, that a green traffic light symbolizes that it’s time to move forward through an intersection, but it does so purely by convention and not for any obvious connection between green and forward movement.

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Why does this circle with lines in it symbolize peace? Image Credit: Pixabay

Or notice that only rarely do words have any clear connection to the meaning they symbolize. For example, the word snow itself isn’t cold or white or fluffy, but we have no problem using this word in English sentences as a linguistic symbol for the actual cold, white, fluffy stuff. And consider that the famous peace symbol is just a circle with some lines in it (flowery lines in the one shown here). What does that have to do with peace? Again, the connection between the symbol and its meaning is arbitrary and conventional. So why not take advantage of that basic semiotic principle in order to be more politically active?

In summary, political activism need not be limited to voting or riding 15 hours on a bus to attend a rally in Washington, DC. Virtually anything that someone else finds unpleasant in some way can be re-purposed and politicized into a Civil Rights issue of your choosing.

One caveat: the people that you annoy, frustrate, etc. in this way are probably not going to like that you’re doing it and will likely try to fight back and do their own counter protesting. They may try to trivialize your protest or characterize it as “silly” or “childish” or both. They may try to convince you that you are “insane”, or being “utterly ridiculous” or “infantile” or “irrelevant” or “acting like a complete fool” or making “mountains from mole hills”, a “tempest in a tea cup”, or “tilting at windmills”.

But don’t listen to them. Of course they will say these kinds of things. When they do so it likely means that you’re protesting effectively. Especially if they play the “tilting at windmills” card — that’s when you know you’re doing it right!

What about you? Can you think of any more examples to add to those shown above? If so, please let me know in a comment!

 

 

 

 

White Men Go To Jail Sometimes Too, Don’t They?

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

It’s been a week since I publicly confessed to stealing a laptop computer in protest of what’s actually the second time in the past year or so that a company has fired me illegally for being autistic. Here I wish to confess my astonishment at the fact that I haven’t been arrested yet.

Folks, what the hell is going on? I’m pretty sure this is a felony I’ve committed here — a cyber crime. Heck, it might even be an act of “lone wolf terrorism” for crying out loud! Isn’t somebody going to waterboard me?

Yes, yes, I’m a white man, of course, but still — surely at least some white people go to jail, don’t they? What about — what’s that one guy’s name? Who was that?…he was white, for sure. Dang…what was his name?

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Anthony Hopkins as the fictional character Hannibal Lecter in the film Silence of the Lambs. Image Credit: MGM Pictures

Oh, right — Hannibal Lecter! There, see? Sometimes white people do go to jail. But of course that guy ate people. Must I actually eat someone in order to be held accountable for my actions? Would my victim also have to be white? Can I at least use a condiment — perhaps some honey mustard?

What if I just chewed for a while on some of the guy’s toenail clippings, would that count?

Just spittballin’ here…

Anyway, keep in mind please that the computer in question also happens to be loaded with all kinds of customer data that is protected by law — Social Security Numbers, etc. My newly ex-employer cannot just go around letting people access this data willy nilly. And yet, at this very moment I can both willy and nilly all I want with this data. I could go into it right now if I wanted to, look at the data, run my fingers over it, cover it in whipped cream. Sexy, sexy, data! Ooh, baby, yum!

sexy_mouth_strawberry_cream_315x210Heck, I could have your own birthday and Social Security Number on there, by which I mean you, yes you — the particular she or he reading these words right now, whoever you may be. My ex-employer’s database is enormous. Heck, I’m pretty sure Elvis is in there somewhere. I might have Elvis Presley’s Social Security Number on this damn laptop.  And if I have Elvis’s data, why not yours too? In principle at least I could use this data to steal your identity. I could go out and get a fake passport, birth certificate, credit cards etc. with your name on them and run around the country committing all manner of mischief in your name. Oh, the nasty numerologizing I could do to your Social Security Number — if I were so inclined (which I am not, lucky for you).

But that’s the least of it really, because this company’s database is so freaking huge — I mean we’re talking a sizable fraction of a billion customers are in this thing — that it just so happens to have the names, birthdays, and Social Security Numbers of all of the individuals who conspired to get me fired from MetLife last year, which is to say the first time in the past year or so that a company has illegally fired me for being autistic.

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Another example of a white man who went to prison.

How’s that for irony? First these people fire me illegally, and then somehow I get lucky and find a job working with a database that is so huge that it actually contains their own protected data!

But for me, really the most deliciously ironic part of this irony is that I’m actually in possession of this data for for the very man who organized and led the charge on that event, which, by the way, was such a coercive ordeal for my family and me that I now feel entitled to refer to it all as a form of gang rape, even though nobody ever touched me physically, and indeed it all mostly happened via Email.

That’s right, I now have the Social Security Number (birthday, etc.) of Seyfarth Shaw Partner Frederick “Fritz” T. Smith (pictured, right) — a.k.a. “Batman“, a.k.a. a man who raped me (yeah, yeah, “so to speak”).

But it’s been a week since I confessed all of this, and I’m still walking around free. Shouldn’t I be in jail by now? Is White Privilege really that powerful?

 

Turn Me In To The FBI Today And Win This Attractive Bag Of Lawn Clippings!!!

Dear Reader,

Are you worried that I may have “crossed a line” by committing a felony in protest of the Trump Administration (not to mention everything else that a sane person might protest, especially the fact that since Trump became President I’ve been fired illegally twice for being autistic)?

Does it seem like I’ve gone “too damn far” by stealing a laptop loaded with protected customer information from the most recent company to fire me for having autism (a company which shall remain nameless, for now, and for reasons that are seeming less reasonable by the hour)?

Would you like to receive the attractive brown paper bag full of lawn clippings shown in the photo above as a Thank You gift?[1]

If so, then today’s your lucky day! Because with just a simple phone call to the FBI you can get that bag of lawn clippings as my Thank You gift simply for “dropping a dime on me” to the FBI regarding the above concerns in particular or in fact really any concerns at all you may have and which follow from my recent public confession that I have committed a felony cyber-crime just to protest, for example, the Trump Administration along with the fact that I’ve been fired illegally twice (for being autistic) since Trump became President, and in fact pretty much everything else that a sane person might protest these days, including but not limited to all the items discussed in yesterday’s open letter to President Trump’s acting Chair of the EEOC, Ms. Victoria A. Lipnic.

By the way, in case a bag of grass clippings isn’t already enough incentive, you should probably also recognize that the truly enormous size of my latest ex-employer’s customer database implies an excellent chance that I may in fact now be in possession of your own name, birthday, and Social Security Number.

Yikes!

So don’t delay. Address your concerns, whatever they are. Drop a dime on me to the FBI today!

Turn me in, please! Do it now, I’m begging you! Don’t over think it. Just follow this link to the FBI Contact Us webpage or do an Internet search on “report a crime to the FBI” and follow the easy instructions you will find.

And yes, I am being totally serious about everything except the bag of grass clippings. That part is really just a joke that I’m hoping will set you at ease long enough to get you to read this post. To be clear: I am not seriously offering anybody a bag of grass clippings as a Thank You for turning me into the FBI. But for the most part I’ve been posting on this topic with a straight face for several days now, and I really do not understand why I am not already in a jail cell.

I’m a friggin’ outlaw, for crying out loud! Somebody, please, do something!

I thank you sincerely in advance for you help,

Daniel L. Scholten, a.k.a. “The Walrus”


[1] In case it isn’t perfectly obvious: I’m really just kidding about the bag of lawn clippings. But I am definitely not kidding about asking you to turn me into the FBI. That part is quite serious. It’s been several days since I publicly confessed to stealing the laptop in question along with the protected customer data it contains, and so far I’m still a free man. I find this weird and disturbing, to say the least. I thought for sure I’d at least get a knock on the door from the police, but so far nothing — which is to say nada, nichts, rien, nyet, etc.

Is this a race thing I’m witnessing? Am I being protected by my so-called “white privilege”? Seems like these days black people can get arrested for forgetting to cover their mouths when coughing. I’ve stolen a friggin lap top and so far nobody seems to care!

Calling All Slackers: How to Get Paid and Save the World by Being Lazy, Ignorant, and Self-Entitled

two_boys_poverty_316x210Do you need money? Do you want to help save the world? Are you lazy, ignorant, and self-entitled? If so, then today is your lucky day, because I have recently invented an easy way to re-purpose your currently worthless and embarrassing slackritude into a powerful world-saving money-machine.

[Note: if you are just too educated, hard-working and humble to qualify as a slacker, then don’t despair. You can still use this method, but you probably won’t make as much money. But then again, you probably don’t need money because you have a real job, and in any case you can still feel good about helping to save the world.]

Slackers have always been a persecuted minority. Most of us despise slackers and see them as merely human-ish. They are forced to live in a world that reviles them, marginalizes them, insists that they work for a living like everybody else. Everywhere are advertising messages, movie characters, and other constant reminders that all so-called “real” human beings are hard-working, educated, and humble; and that slackers are somehow defective, inferior sub-human beings. Slackers are systematically denied opportunities to relax, enjoy, love, and really for no other reason than that they earnestly believe that the rest of us owe them a luxurious lifestyle.

If you are lazy, ignorant, and self-entitled (or simply want to save the world), then get ready to transform your life, turn the world on its head, and become the envy of everyone who is too proud to accept charity.

Introducing: Diversity Acceptance Consulting

Diversity Acceptance Consulting is a totally new profession that I am currently inventing  by myself (but only because I haven’t yet been able to entice anyone else to invent it with me). It is nothing less than a way to fix everything wrong with you by re-purposing or up-cycling it into a professional credential. Although in this post we are looking at the particular credential package of laziness, ignorance, and self-entitlement, literally anything and everything about you that may be viewed by others as weird, strange, foreign, yucky, gross, offensive, unattractive, inappropriate, or somehow undesirable can be used by you to do Diversity Acceptance Consulting, if you so choose.

Here’s how it might work if you are lazy, ignorant, and self-entitled:

Whenever a so-called “normal” person — educated, hard-working, humble — becomes aware of your lazy, ignorant, and self-entitled ways, they are presented with a wonderful opportunity to practice and develop their own ability to become aware of, understand, and accept someone they currently despise. But that way of describing it suggests that you as a slacker are somehow constrained to the role of passive bystander. With that way of viewing it, you’re just sort of there by accident, slouched on a couch littered with candy wrappers, binge watching Downton Abbey, and waiting for your soul-mate to break into your home and kidnap you; and whether the so-called “normal” person is even aware of this opportunity, and actually sees it as such is entirely up to him or her.

But you don’t have to be so passive. Even though you are a slacker, there is really nothing stopping you from taking an active role in the encounter. You can literally choose to take control over the situation and guide it proactively toward success. For example, you can simply tell the other person that your own slackrositous magnificence is an opportunity for them to practice and develop their ability to be aware of, understand, and accept boorish space-wasters such as yourself. For example, you might say to them something like,

poor-child_210x224Hello. I am a professional Diversity Acceptance Consultant, specializing in raising awareness, understanding, and acceptance of people who are lazy, ignorant, and self-entitled like I am. Basically, it’s my job to help hard-working, educated, and humble people such as yourself to become aware of, understand, and accept that people like me are perfectly normal human beings who just happen to be lazy, ignorant, and self-entitled. If you see value in your own ability to be tolerant towards people who are different from yourself, then you may wish to become one of my clients and pay me to help you further develop your own awareness, understanding, and acceptance of people like me.

Now, that’s really a hypothetical example. Here is the real deal:

If You Like This Idea, Please Pay Me For Sharing It With You

dscholten 8-8-15Hello. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Daniel L. Scholten, a.k.a. “The Walrus”, and I am a professional Diversity Acceptance Consultant, specializing in halitosis acceptance. What that means is that it is my job to help people such as yourself to become aware of, understand, and accept walrus breath as a perfectly normal part of the human experience. If you value your own ability to be tolerant towards people who are different from yourself, then you may wish to become one of my clients and to pay me to help you develop your own awareness, understanding, and acceptance of people struggling to survive with breath that can ruin photographs while living among people who can be french-kissed immediately upon waking.

If you would like to pay me for this service, which I provide to my clients in part by refusing to brush my teeth and by chewing plenty of fish oil capsules and raw garlic, then please visit my How to Hire Me Retroactively! page and follow the instructions there.

If You Really Like This Idea, So Very, Very Much That You Too Want To Get Paid And Save The World With Whatever Is Unique About You

If you love as much as I do this idea of Diversity Acceptance Consulting, and you want to get started in this profession, then this is your invitation to do so. And here is one basic way to do it (you are welcome to invent your own way):

  1. Identify your own specialty or specialties: make a list of everything you’re ashamed of, embarrassed about, etc. — the stuff that makes you weird, offensive, or otherwise rejectionable. These are your credentials as a Diversity Acceptance Consultant; this is your platform, your own unique area of expertise. Note: If you really can’t think of any reason that someone might reject you for, then you can use “in deep denial about how others see me” or maybe even manufacture the aforementioned halitosis credential by refusing to brush your teeth and chewing fish oil capsules and cloves of garlic on a regular basis. There are surely other credentials you can simply adopt as well.
  2. Take a proactive role in presenting your credentials to others as opportunities to increase their awareness, understanding, and acceptance of people who share your credential or credentials.
  3. Ask them to pay you for this service.

A few additional points: I view the development of the Diversity Acceptance Consulting profession as an open source project, by which I mean that nobody actually owns this amazing idea it, and anybody is free to contribute to its development and evolution, provided she or he does not try to take control over the project and turn it into some closed source thing.

Have fun, and let me know what you think!

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