and the highlights/notes I made when I first read it. So here is an idea I jotted down ages ago, expressed in a series of quotes.
When I first read An Unlcean Legacy, I loved some of Sophie’s interactions with the Devil, but I didn’t really get this particular line. Now I think I get what it’s about.
(Some of the quotes are about the Judge Rotenberg Center, and about bullying and abuse in general, fyi.)
Jenna Katerin Moran, An Unclean Legacy:
“I understand you,” Sophie says.
And she does.
The Devil drags himself to his feet. He walks over to her — one of his legs is broken, but he doesn’t seem to mind — and he squats down, with one fist under his chin.
He says, “Oh?”
“A man suffers damnation,” Sophie says. “He says, ‘I am in eternal torment.’ But that is simply that man. What matters the perspective of a man? In the severance of humanity from happiness there is a beauty in the world.”
The Devil smiles.
Sophie peers at him. The red is a thunder in her ears. It is tinting the world she sees.
“When humans strive against God,” the Devil says, “and God strikes them down, it is the most perfect of all symmetries.”
Shain Neumeier, “Inhumane Beyond All Reason: The Torture of Autistics and Other People with Disabilities at the Judge Rotenberg Center” from the Loud Hands anthology:
Among other things, the investigation revealed that BRI had used aversives excessively and unnecessarily, such as on a deaf child for failing to obey verbal commands; had deliberately concealed a student’s bruises caused by the use of aversives from doctors and state agencies; had prompted students to act aggressively for the purpose of punishing them or demonstrating that they were aggressive as part of what it called behavioral rehearsal lessons; and had retaliated against students whose family members questioned the treatment program or threatened to make complaints.
CBS News interview with Jennifer Msumba, a Judge Rotenberg Center survivor:
Msumba: One day they came to me and said that from now on, if you do certain things, instead of getting shocked once, you’re going to go on the four-point board and you’re going to get shocked five times over ten minutes.
Msumba: They didn’t really explain why, they just said “That’s your new program.”
Werner: What was that like for you, to be told “This is your new program, you’re going to be strapped down to a board–”
Msumba: I got so sick to my stomach that… I just wanted to throw up. I couldn’t eat, I just felt so nauseous and cold. I felt really cold, and sweaty, and nauseous. And I was so worried about it that I wanted to make it happen, to get it over with. Like, I was so scared of it happening, that I fulfilled that fear, to get it over with.
Julia Bascom, “Speech Without a Title” from the Loud Hands anthology:
I just spent seven hours at a conference about bullying. Here’s the genius behind really good, really effective bullying: it turns the victim into their own worst bully. I told you I never got beat up for being autistic. I want you to take a good look at me. See my glasses? Those are because I damaged my eyes banging my head in tenth grade. See the spots on my arms? Those are from where I tried to gouge out my skin all through high school. See the scars on my face? Those are a little more recent—same idea though: self destruct. There are a million more I can’t show you—even the insides of my cheeks are scarred. I can’t tell you how many pairs of sheets I’ve had to throw away because I woke up covered in blood—I’d tried to pick myself apart while I was sleeping.
I didn’t do this because I was depressed, or scared, or because I hated myself. I didn’t want to hurt. But I knew I had to. When I hurt, I was in my place. And smacking my head against a wall for an hour a day was ultimately less painful than trying to convince myself, let alone everyone else, that I was maybe, possibly, worth something just the way I was.