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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Al Gore and Aspergers Syndrome

The post about famous people with Aspergers last month mentioned that Al Gore was included on a couple of lists of people with Aspergers. Seeing his name on the list was an eye-opening moment; the diagnosis makes perfect sense.

In 2000, press analyzed Gore's charisma-challenged personality by saying he was a beta male who hadn't yet learned to be alpha, as evidenced by his choice of earth-toned clothing. The press was wrong, as usual. Gore's problem had nothing to do with being cowed too easily, or a lack of self-esteem.

Gore was also described that election year as being a bit of "a wooden Indian," which was a lot closer to the mark. He's just awfully stiff. Even walking and gesturing don't seem to come naturally to him. He moves like someone who has just been taken out of a box.

Gore comes across like a robot who's learned how to act like a human being from a book. After painstaking study, he now does a passable imitation. But really, it's only just passable. (And the robot does seem inordinately proud of that second-rate imitation.)

Think of how he speaks, in that slow, slightly overemphatic, pedantic tone. He always sounds as if he's explaining something to a group of particularly backward third graders.

Another trait of people with Aspergers is that they are very rigid in their beliefs. While there are respected scientists on both sides of the global warming argument, Gore obviously believes in it as if it is established fact. And he gets becomes infuriated at anybody who doesn't believe in it -- as a true Aspie would.

Despite all of Gore's preaching, he himself lives in a sprawling house in Tennessee whose carbon footprint is famously twenty times that of the average citizen's house. He takes private planes and drives around in an SUV. Hypocrisy of course does not prove Aspergers, but tone deafness is an indicator. And being unaware of how you come across is one of the essential components of Aspergers. 

I once heard another Aspie say that her child had to go to the right school "in order to earn social skills." This is a prototypically Aspergerian belief, that learning the social niceties and how to get along with others is something that you would need a school to teach you. Normal people pick up social skills through trial and error wherever they grow up, and whomever they interact with. Only someone with Aspergers would believe that you have to be "taught" how to say hello, how are you, and so on.

Now that I think of it, a specialized school just for people with Aspergers actually wouldn't be such a bad idea. Such a school might teach its students to be less robotic, to recognize humor, to banter, to look people in the eye, to not have a meltdown when criticized, etc.

Al Gore would make a good student body president there.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

You're an ignorant ass.

Anonymous said...

You're an ignorant ass.

Anonymous said...

You are an ignorant ass.

John Craig said...

Anon --
A little repetitious, aren't we?

Nice, skillful rebuttal of the post. And thanks for illustrating my larger point about people with Aspergers.

(Okay if I just call you Al?)

Anonymous said...

You are an ignorant ass.

John Craig said...

Anon --
Not sure whether this time was a joke or the same person; hope it's the same person, and I sure hope that person's initials are A.G.

Anonymous said...

Wow - An interesting mix of fact, hypothesis, fiction, and anger against a handicapped population group. Does the author also like to vent anger against blind folks, people in wheelchairs, and other handicapped people?

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous, being blind or deaf are PHYSICAL disabilities and are hardly the same thing as a disorder. Imagine comparing being deaf to having narcissistic personality disorder.

John Craig said...

Most recent Anon --
Thank you. You seem to be a lot more intelligent than the Anon who preceded you.

Steven said...

I actually found Al Gore charismatic and appealing in an inconvenient truth. Shame on me?

John Craig said...

Steven --
I never saw the movie, so I don't have an informed opinion. (But my guess is, yes!) I will make an effort to watch it, or at least a snippet of it, now though.

I've heard, btw, that the movie is full of convenient misdirection. (For instance, showing a river which has dried up and implying that it was due to environmental reasons when in fact it was mostly due to a dam being built upstream, that sort of thing.)

Steven said...

I watched it when I was a lot younger, about 22.

I did investigate the science of global warming once and after as rigorous an analysis a I could muster, I ended up coming to the conclusion that it was indeed as the human caused orthodoxy says so that's what I confidently believed for a while...at some point I heard that somebody I greatly respected said it wasn't true, which planted a seed of doubt in my mind that hasn't gone away.

John Craig said...

Steven --
I know that at 22 I was much more impressionable than I am now, as an old man. As far as global warming, I'm agnostic. It's an incredibly complicated issue, with a huge number of factors impinging on it, and I'm not an expert in any of those fields. I do know that most of the same people who believe in it with such fervor know noting more about science than I do, and I know that the media which promotes that agenda is dishonest about a lot of other things, so, naturally, this makes me suspicious. I also know that there were 72 Nobel Prize-winning scientists who signed a declaration that the media was spinning the global warming scenario misleadingly. On the other hand, humans have taken over this planet in an unprecedented way, we are changing its ecology for the worse, and common sense would say that we could well be having an effect. So I just don't know.

Mike McCroskery said...

What is the problem with Anon.?I have Asperger's Syndrome and I would be ecstatic if IF Al Gore does too. This line might show that if he does have AS he has a big ego for it "I invented the Internet" That line was just opinion and not meant to be taken serious.For those that haven't being able to get over him saying that ,I say"Get a life"

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid, I'd have to agree with the anon. You are an ignorant arse. As with most diagnoses across the entire Autism spectrum, many can not have all the traits and to go through them like it's a tick box is just wrong, which if you are too busy reading this and thinking of some smart arse reply, was what you were doing.

Furthermore, you are dealing in absolutes i.e. "Only someone with Aspergers", it's screaming ignorant and uninformed. I suggest you do some serious research into Aspergers Syndrome and come back with a better post.

And since you clearly have nothing better to do than reply to posts, I implore you to waste your time by replying to this post as I'll probably never see your post or your website ever again.

John Craig said...

Anon --
I love the way liberals like you never refute what I say about Gore (or anyone else), but merely call me names instead.

I may be an ignorant arse, but that's not much of a defense of Al Gore!

PS -- PLEASE don't go. I'll MISS you.

Manbearpig said...

You're an ignorant ass.

John Craig said...

Manbearpig --
And you are, let me guess, an Aspie.

(And not a particularly original one at that.)

Ian Jarrett said...

As someone who was diagnosed with Aspergers just three years ago at age 47, I find your article more than a little patronising.

Anonymous said...

If you look up a list of people known or suspected to have Aspergers you'll find the bulk of humanity's progress in various fields. Sure, there's insufferable Aspies who contribute jack shit beyond unwarranted narcissism (e.g. the writer of this blog), but it's a small price to pay to no longer be primates.

John Craig said...

Anonymous Aspie --
Your comment was a perfect illustration of Aspergers. You want to claim all of humanity's stars for your club, and you lash out at me for describing Aspies as they are. And then, the worst insult you can come up with is to call me an Aspie with "unwarranted narcissism." Projecting much?

I actually think I'll take your comment and turn it into a post.

Anonymous said...

There is a difference between the list of famous aspergians of the past and the present.
In the past they wanted to show a person could achieve success in spite of their disorder (which is actually a noble goal). They did go overboard with claiming einstein and washington were aspies (though I do believe Al Gore and Bernard Montgomerry were aspies, they had success in spite of their disability).

The modern day lists are claiming they achieved success due to their disability (which is bullcrap, we should be encouraging people with aspergers to find success in spite of their handicaps and learn to function better with education and therapy instead of this mental illness denial).

John Craig said...

Anon --
Great points, though I think it's possible Einstein was an Aspie.

I also dislike the concept of seeing Aspergers sufferers as being "differently abled," or whatever terminology they use. It's a syndrome, and one that handicaps people socially and emotionally. And a guy like Gore did achieve success despite it, not because of it; there's no way that being an Aspie is an advantage in politics. That said, there are fields, like the sciences, where being an Aspie might help one focus. (Being obsessive does have SOME upsides.)