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Autism Communication Social

Movies Taught Me about Life: How Hollywood Failed My Autism

Actors are PAID to get across what they’re feeling. While real-life humans seem to work desperately to keep it hidden… From me.

I remember a lot of movies & TV in my life. Probably I watched more than the majority of my generation.

School, home, family, neighborhood, church

There was a lot of stress in my early autistic life. Which is why I spent most of my time escaping into that zoned out, mildly dissociative trance of focused reading… And screening.

And why I was alone. A lot. I remember it being a constant struggle with my parents… how I should do more to “make friends.

Another duty. Another disappointment.

Cuz with rare exception, I preferred learning through reading, science, or art by myself more than anyone’s human company.

SO, most of what I learned about how to behave like a human… honestly, a learned role for me…

Came from Hollywood. And ultimately, Madison Ave.

Now, humans in movies are easier for this adult autistic kid to understand than in real life.

TV & billboards for that matter, too.

Movie acting, even the best, is not natural. It’s highly stylized…

Slower, more exaggerated, highly ritualized…

Lots & lots of long significant “looks.”

With supporting music and camera work that generally make it VERY clear what I am supposed to feel… and how to interpret actors’ motivations.

Unlike real-life humans whose conflicting actions and words bewilder me.

Cuz actors are PAID to get across what they’re feeling. While real-life humans seem to work desperately to keep it hidden… From me.

Plus a darkened theater is a very safe place for me to experience strong emotion…

With the comforting presence of humans around me.

Who share much the same experience with me…

For once.

My only problem?

Hollywood sells lies. Ordered up by Madison Avenue. That keep us yearning for unattainable ideals by spinning unrealistic fantasies about breaking taboos.

Art, even “reality” TV, taught me nothing that prepared me for life.

Especially not…

A human turning to the camera…

And telling me exactly what’s on their mind…

Never, ever happens on my block.


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