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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Selling a Lie

No, this isn’t a post about the economic “crisis/non-crisis/worst-ever-crisis” acrobatics coming from the White House. Nope, it’s about a woman who wants to get her son laid. Unfortunately for the boy, he has Downs Syndrome and can’t quite close the deal on his own--which, if we were to be completely honest, isn’t a surprise since he’s running with a serious handicap in this particular horse race.

I’m not going to debate the wrong or right of pleading and potentially paying for someone to do naughty things to her boy (although I’m curious if she would go to the same lengths if the kid were on the other side of the gender fence). What I am going to quibble with is this:

“I strongly believe, and have always said, that society has a learning disability when it comes to Down syndrome,” she continued. “If he doesn’t get a girlfriend, I will feel really bad, because I have sold him this thing that he is like everybody else. That’s why I’m working overtime to get this sorted for him.”

If you have to break out the checkbook to get your twenty-one year old adopted son a shot with a woman, then he isn’t like everyone else. This isn’t a value judgment about the kid, nor is it saying that he has to live the life of a social recluse, shuttered away from polite society because he isn’t good enough to be around the rest of us. I’m not saying that his life is a useless thing.

But the idea that he is “just like the rest of us” is clearly a social nicety that folks play along without out of a sense of decency. ‘Cause he isn’t like everyone else-- which all rational people would probably agree with even while many try to keep up the “treat them just like everyone else” face because no one wants to be seen as the heartless bastard. But his mental faculties aren’t the same, the way he processes information isn’t the same, the kind of opportunities that he will have in life because of that simply are not the same as for an average person without Downs Syndrome.

I’m not a heartless bastard, but I don’t think that self-deception is a great place to start when deciding what kind of help you want to render to a horny, socially limited, young adult with Downs Syndrome.

Read the story. The comments on the original story (here) are an interesting read as well.

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jed

The main thing that strikes me about this is it’s just a microcosm of the larger issue. This goes on in public schools, e.g., a lot. There’s this whole errant notion about not damaging fragile egos, keeping up self-esteem, etc., that keeps teachers and administrators from passing judgement on poor performance. And I’m not saying that having Down’s Syndrome is a failure. But just as there’s a problem with “selling” him on the notion that he’s just like everybody else, there’s also a problem with treating poor students just like exceptional students.

This sort of fuzzy thinking is responsible for so many problems we face today ... I’ll just stop now.

on Mar 17 2009 @ 07:08 PM

Amen, brother. Speak the truth.

on Mar 17 2009 @ 07:17 PM

You know how, as soon as the Waterboy stopped talking about Momma all the time, he got a piece? 

Yeah.

Way to overparent your child, mom.

on Mar 17 2009 @ 09:50 PM

Jed, really, continue.  You are TOTALLY correct.

on Mar 17 2009 @ 09:50 PM

As was so eloquently stated in The Incredibles: “If everyone is special then no one is.” Same logic here…

on Mar 18 2009 @ 05:30 AM

I love The Incredibles.

on Mar 18 2009 @ 09:52 AM

One of my favorite movies. The last one, actually, that caused me to say at the end of the showing, “The day that comes out on DVD, I’m buying it!”

That said, the problem here is not merely what the mother’s doing, and Jed’s description of the problem; it’s also the probably double standard behind it. She wants her son to be just like anyone else, but I sincerely doubt that she’s doing without assistance in paying for him. People with Down’s are often, perhaps even usually, incapable of taking care of themselves. He’ll likely need support (which translates into governmental support) his entire life, which is not like “everybody else.”

Unfortunately, that seems that “everybody else” is getting more dependent as time goes on.

on Mar 18 2009 @ 05:15 PM

The problem is the Happy Meal Generation.  The idea that we’re all SO entitled to shit.  If we eat a meal, we deserve a toy.  Couple that with some good Helicopter Parenting, and you’ve got problems.

I bet that kid wouldn’t know the difference is mom wasn’t trying to get him laid.  Which isn’t the issue, for me, but the fact that his mother is trying to get him laid is.  Um, EWW?  That has got to be the most inappropriate invasion into a child’s life a mother could make.  I’m surprised it’s LEGAL.

These over-involved, don’t yell at/correct/scold/point out any weakness in my child parents are RUINING THE WORLD.  Ann Coulter thinks it’s the single mothers, I think it’s the suburban housewives.

on Mar 18 2009 @ 08:23 PM

The ”most inappropriate invasion” into a child’s life? I’m not sure I agree. Before my time (or maybe just in different strata of society) it was not uncommon for a man to provide his son with such an introduction to women as a rite of passage. Overall, society was different then, though - “good girls” didn’t until married, shame was a tool enforcing societal mores, and all the other concomitant changes from society today. You (or I, at least) can understand the justifications they used.

That said, it’s still creepy.

As for the rest of your comment, I blame Dr. Spock.

on Mar 19 2009 @ 07:42 AM

I blame people’s inability to look beyond their own uteruses.

Or, at least, to realize at some point in their lives that IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU.  Not you, specifically, Wheels.  We both know it is, really. smile

on Mar 20 2009 @ 12:48 AM

Seems to me that the real reason why this kid can’t get laid isn’t because he’s retarded, but because he’s likely gay.  He is involved in the theater after all…

Rather surprised the possibility wasn’t floated in any of the articles linked or in the comments here, actually.

on Mar 20 2009 @ 12:45 PM

Gay people have all the sex, yo.

on Mar 20 2009 @ 10:37 PM
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