The January 2021 issue of Entertainment Weekly has their Best and Worst of 2020, and it has a little mention of Frankenstein! In the section The Year’s Best Stage to Stream, National Theatre at Home is #4 on their list.
Post by onebluestocking on May 5, 2021 5:37:56 GMT
This review of Sia's movie 'Music' mentions BC's Frankenstein preparation. The autistic reviewer thinks he viewed people with autism as 'puppets who move in interesting ways.' I don't think she understood his approach, but I also don't think there is a way to explain it that would not be offensive to the autism community.
They also don’t put attention to what BC really said: his two bosses Danny Boyle and Nick Dear took him and Jonny Lee Miller (who also talked about it) to a school with autistic kids when they were preparing for the roles. Why? Because first, they both are parents of autistic kids and not just the play but also the book in which it’s based are about being rejected by society. That’s also why a lot of literature criticism around this book compares the creature not just to people with disabilities (frequently in articles written by people with disabilities themselves) but also with homosexuality (the Hollywood classic adaptation is not a faithful one but the director James Whale was gay and it’s widely considered to be an element in his film. There is another wonderful film from the 90s about his life and the meaning of his Frankenstein with Ian McKellen and Brendan Fraser. It’s considered a Classic Queer film! There aren’t gay protesting it. They understand it!) and in general with being human and feeling abandoned by God (it’s considered to certain degree a sacrilege book) or your own father (see the relationship of Mary Shelly with her own father; actually BC’s own interpretation was that it was about “bad parenting” not autistic kids)
Of course, to be a keyboard activist nowadays requires a lot of ignorance about history, context and, in this case, literature. They aren’t educated people and they don’t want to be. They have their fabricated case of discrimination so they can run with it. But here is some context to the said accusation against BC, it was originated on a site that was recently repudiated by its own creator. She finally admitted that she was an angry pathetic teenager with a lot of issues and not social life. She actually apologized for it in the NYT! BC was an easy target because he was Tumblr popular then and this was a Tumblr phenomenon (as it was to auto diagnosed as autistic. More context to the hysteria to those days!) but if someone is still angry at this acclaimed and intelligent production, I wrote above the names of all the persons involved, including the ones who had the idea to go to that school (again parents of autistic kids). Of course, no one will mention them because BC is the popular one!
She is absolutely justified in being offended and angry if what she’s saying is true, but I just don’t think it is true.
I’m pretty sure I’ve seen every interview Benedict has ever done, so I’ve seen his Frankenstein interviews, too. Nothing he said sounded like what she’s saying. So maybe she’s reading something more into his words, or maybe she’s seen some other interview that I haven’t.
I have seen Twitter activists claiming he said the most deplorable things that are obviously completely false, from him saying autistic kids are monsters to him campaign for eugenics against autistic people. I also have seen these “activists” hoping for him losing his career to wish his death. All because they fabricated something horrible in their own minds. It’s all very disgusting!
I mean even if he said something wrong or was inadvertently offensive, why to being so miserable nasty? Why not use it to explain their point? Instead they just lie and react awfully to those lies.
I am now thinking in Gael García Bernal. He campaigned for the actual Mexican left wing president but he quickly felt disappointed by him. Two days ago happened a huge tragedy in Mexico City: a section of the subway overpass collapsed, killing a lot of people. It was a relatively new structure made by people in the President party and who work in the actual administration. It’s a huge scandal! García Bernal was angry at Twitter criticizing the government but instead people were angry AT HIM! Because years ago, he campaigned for them! It’s all obviously very celebrity centered. That’s modern activism! But also, why people can’t understand that human beings frequently commit mistakes and change of mind? Changing of mind is a good thing! But no, it’s all about showing the world that they are so pure and immaculate and everyone else, especially celebrities, would never be so perfect like little them!
Post by onebluestocking on May 5, 2021 15:14:12 GMT
My teenage son has autism, so I keep up somewhat with the community. In recent years, the movement has progressed from "awareness" toward "acceptance." Everyone is aware of autism by now, but autistic people are still expected to be "cured" or try to fit in better. Their point is that they are different, not less, and their type of brain brings its own advantages. Autism is not their disability, it is who they are, and they want to be accepted as such. Some groups, such as Autism Speaks (which has no actual autistic people in powerful positions), have caused a lot of anger. Their fundraising campaigns have played on fears, portraying autism as a tragedy, a burden, an embarrassment, a destroyer of families, and yes as monstrous:
This awareness campaign depicted autism and other disorders as a criminal preying upon children with a "ransom notes" theme:
So, into this atmosphere comes an actor studying autistic children as background for a literal monster. I don't think this was at all his intention. I thought I had read somewhere that he considered, what might go wrong if an imperfect human tries to assemble a body and the millions of intricate connections in the brain? How might that look in regards to behavior? Of course he wasn't implying that "monsters act this way." But, even the implication that autism is "something gone wrong" would be offensive in the world of autism at the present. They also wouldn't like being the "face" of rejection by parents or society. Of course, it is all the high-functioning people, able to convey these opinions, that we are hearing from. The severely affected ones would probably wish for a cure, but we can't know as they're unable to express themselves.
Also, many young autistic adults have a lot of resentment toward parents, who may have spent years trying different therapies (sometimes even abusive or dangerous ones) to change them. Some of those parents were the roots of the antivax movement. So, saying that a person's child has autism does not make their actions or decisions okay with autistic people themselves.
I loved Frankenstein, and think the criticism is misplaced, but I understand where it comes from. Personally I thought BC's Creature looked more like Cerebral Palsy.
Also again, the idea was by Danny Boyle and Nick Dear. That’s what it always bothered me. If they had genuine qualms about it then why they never questioned them? Why they never criticized Lee Miller who said exactly the same thing that BC and who was in exactly the same position? It all began on Tumblr and it was clear that the instigators weren’t even autistic. They were SJW who were deeply into fandom wars then this degenerated into lies and bullying (I once saw two persons calling the mother of an autistic kid names after they were unable of showing her the fake quotes they claimed BC said).
The discussion around autism like other themes as transgenderism, for example, is very politicized and it’s a minefield. I only hope rationality and moderation prevail and that bad actors with hidden agendas doesn’t hurt vulnerable kids.
If I recall correctly, BC was interested in the phenomenon of a person born fully grown into the body of a man but possessing a only child-like means of expression and understanding, and how that developmental situation might affect the Creature. Because he was visiting a group of people who basically were experiencing this, that was the basis for his comments on his understanding of that experience.
That girl who started the Your Fav is Problematic page didn’t exactly apologize for what she did. She’d been bullied and wanted not only to draw attention to how bullying pervades society, but to “wokely” expose (with her limited understanding of context) celebrities. She was very young and imo, has trouble with abstract reasoning, then and now. Many of the autistic young people reading that page also have difficulties understanding what BC said b/c of similar issues. Add in the fact he wanders and waffles when talking and you’ve got a perfect storm of misunderstanding.
I’m sorry to say but people with severe autism can be a significant disruption to a family. That’s not to say they’re not welcome or loved, but it’s a fact that sometimes they add an element of chaos and difficulty that might not otherwise exist. I haven’t seen Sia’s film so I can’t comment on it in particular. 🤷🏻♀️