Such. Utter. Stupid.

Is anyone else as done with COVID antivaxxers as I am? If at all possible, they have made things even worse in the last few months than they already were.

The refusal of antivaxxers to take the vaccines has seen thousands of them wind up in ICU’s around the World. And now, this has started to harm others.

Because there are so many people in ICU’s and hospital beds with COVID, hospitals have been forced to turn away patients as they have no room. And now people are dying. Ray DeMonia is one. He suffered a cardiac emergency but was unable to get treatment in time. 43 hospitals were contacted before one with an available bed was found.

Forty three hospitals.
That means forty two hospitals had no space.

Daniel Wilkinson is another. He had gallstone pancreatitis, and would have lived had there been space available at nearby hospitals. But again, there were no empty beds close enough to him.

If instead of bitching and moaning about their rights to be disease vectors, antivaxxers and antimaskers had kept up their end of the social contract, DeMonia and Wilkinson would still be alive. I doubt they’ll be the last to die because no hospital beds are available.

Adding another irritating wrinkle, some pillocks have been using ivermectin to treat/prevent COVID. Not only is there no good evidence it works, some of these morons have wound up in hospital from ivermectin overdoses, putting an additional strain on an already overloaded system.

Nicki Minaj, in a massively ignorant tweet that has earned her a suspension from Twitter, claimed that a friend of her cousin was due to get married but his testicles swelled up from the vaccine, leading his fiancée to call off the wedding. When asked about this, medical experts including Doctor Fauci pointed out that that was not plausible, and that a Sexually Transmitted Infection is a much more likely explanation. It also explains why the fiancée called off the wedding.

Stick to rapping, Nicki. At least you’re good at that.

The vaccines reduce breakthrough infections, hospitalisations and deaths. There is no longer an excuse for those who can get them to do so.

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Dear antivaxxers and antimaskers

I am tired of your entitlement and your idiocy. You have got so much wrong, on so many levels, you have gone through wrong and out the other side, then looped round and crashed into wrong again.

First things first. Demanding you be vaccinated to take part in certain activities is not a violation of your rights and it is ludicrous of you to claim otherwise. Ditto wearing a mask. The Court Case Jacobsen vs. Massachusetts confirmed that governments are allowed to mandate vaccines. That was in the U.S. in 1905. There is no reason to suppose it would be different anywhere else in the World.

Comparing yourselves to jews under the Nazis or black people under Jim Crow would be hilarious if it weren’t so offensive. They were unable to change their ethnicity. You are choosing to risk others by refusing to take actions that prevent the spread of diseases. In fact, when one group made that argument in Court, the astonished and disgusted Judge correctly rejected it as “reprehensible”. I would have gone a lot further than that Judge and used much stronger language.

Wearing a mask can be unpleasant at times. In fact, I had to shave my beard off because wearing a mask over it felt too itchy. But stating you are unable to breathe while wearing a mask? Please. I have seen people at gym working out with masks on. I don’t buy that for even a millisecond.

You say you’re healthy and won’t get infected? How do you know? You can be infectious for days before you show any symptoms.

Me, holding my COVID Vaccination card. I was vaccinated on the 11th of August at Discovery Place

You say you refuse to get vaccinated because you don’t want to be part of a medical experiment? You are doubly wrong.
Firstly, all the vaccines have gone through several rounds of trials. They can no longer be termed experimental.
Secondly, you are part of an experiment. You are in the control group. And you are getting the worst of it.
The results in the field are coming back, and the vaccines are working. The vaccinated are far less likely to get breakthrough infections, far less likely to need hospitalisation, and far less likely to die. In the past few weeks, I’ve read numerous stories of people who refused vaccines getting COVID and dying. Near the end, almost all bitterly regretted their antivaccine stance and urged others to not repeat their mistake. Greg Abbott, the Governor of Texas, has fought bitterly against mask and vaccine mandates. He is now infected, and Texas has a frightening per capita rate of COVID infections.

Ultimately, though, this isn’t about you or your rights. It’s about a disease. A disease that cares nothing for rights. A disease that has killed thousands and will kill thousands more as long as fools like you refuse to hold up your end of the social contract and take precautions to prevent its spread.

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Turning the corner

“There comes a time where you fade to the blackness

And when you’re starin’ at the phone in your lap

And you hopin’ but them people never call you back

But that’s just how the story unfolds

You get another hand soon after you fold

And when your plans unravel in the sand

What would you wish for, if you had one chance?

So airplane, airplane sorry I’m late

I’m on my way so don’t close that gate

If I don’t make that, then I’ll switch my flight

And I’ll be right back at it by the end of the night”

Airplanes – B.o.B

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ve probably noticed something about my posting.

For the last few years, there have been significant gaps in between posts. There is a reason.

At the end of 2018, on my 42nd birthday, I received some bad news. I’m not going to say what it was, only that it wasn’t medically related or legal trouble. What happened, though, is that I was sent on a downward spiral. And now, something has happened that has finally stopped that spiral. I’m still far from being in a good place, but I’m slowly getting further and further away from the bad.

There is a saying that “Hope makes a good breakfast, but a bad supper.” It means that unfulfilled hopes can be worse than having no hope. And I can say for a fact that that is very true. Having high hopes, only to have them dashed, is depressing. If it happens often enough, it can be soul-destroying. And I had my hopes dashed multiple times.

Alfred E. Neuman is the fictional mascot of the now defunct Mad Magazine. One quote attributed to him is “The trouble with learning from experience is that you get the test before the lesson.” And that has been my experience over the last almost 3 whole years. I have learnt a huge amount, but I took the test before I got the lesson. I’m writing a book of advice for my niece, who is also my goddaughter. And what I’ve learnt has been added to it. But still, I would have appreciated knowing those things before my situation went to Hell.

Another thing I now know from my ordeal is that the South African Government is useless at helping people in my situation. I no longer trust them to help if I ever wind up in a mess like this again, so I’m taking steps to ensure I never wind up in this mess again.

Hopefully, things will gradually start getting back to normal for me.

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Musk on the spectrum?

So Elon Musk, when hosting Saturday Night Live, claimed that he was the first person “with Asperger’s” to host the show.

Not only was he wrong (Dan Ackroyd is), I strongly doubt he is on the spectrum at all.

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Music “wins” big at the Golden Raspberry awards

I hope this is the last time I will post about Music.

Music, the supposed “love letter to the autism community” directed by Sia, was the Big “Winner” at the 41st Golden Raspberries. It took home three of the “coveted” statuettes, for Worst Director (Sia), Worst Lead Actress (Kate Hudson) and Worst Supporting Actress (Maddie Ziegler). It “lost” to Absolute Proof in the Worst Film category, avoiding a clean sweep, but that is still impressively bad.

The Golden Raspberry Award. Official street value is $4.97.

I feel that it was wrong for Maddie Ziegler to be nominated for a Razzie. As has now become clear, she was pushed into the role against her wishes by Sia. Music and Sia may deserve the huge opprobrium they’ve received, but Ziegler is a victim in this, not a perpetrator.

Hopefully, Music will now disappear into well-deserved obscurity.

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Listening too late – updated

So Kate Hudson, who plays Zu in the trainwreck Music, now says “we are listening” to concerns about the film. To which I respond, too late.

It is a common failing to not listen until matters are beyond salvage. Think of someone begging their partner to stay and promising to fix things, prompting the now ex-partner to point out all the times they asked for changes to be made, only for nothing to happen. Or of an employee who was ignored until they resigned rejecting the offer of a massive pay rise. This is Sia’s current position. Music has been almost universally panned by critics and loathed by audiences, and a Change.org petition is being circulated to have its Golden Globe nominations rescinded. At this point all the regret in the World can’t save the situation.

Updated

Music did not win either Golden Globe it was nominated for.

The one person I feel genuinely sorry for in this fiasco is Maddie Ziegler, who played Music. From what I have read, Ziegler was very uncomfortable with the idea of playing an autistic character as she is allistic and expressed her concerns, only for those concerns to be brushed aside. This mess will now follow her around forever. She doesn’t deserve this.

The thing is, Sia didn’t listen. She clearly didn’t listen to the autistics she claimed she involved as advisers. She didn’t listen to Maddie. She didn’t listen to (and even attacked) the autistic actors who told her she should have hired an autistic to play Music. She didn’t listen to those who warned her that she shouldn’t partner with Autism Speaks. And now that Music has spectacularly crashed and burned, she’s apologetic and willing to listen. Well, it’s too late now. Had she listened from the start, this whole mess would have been avoided. All she can do now is own her blunder.

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Dear oh dear, Sia – updated

It just gets worse and worse with Music, the film directed by Sia I have mentioned before.
It has now emerged that there is a scene in the film where Music melts down and is restrained by people lying on top of her. This is shocking and dangerous, as autistics have suffocated and died after being restrained in this fashion. And despite what Sia claimed, it is now clear she always intended Music to be a vehicle for Madeleine Ziegler.

The reviews are in, and Music is getting roasted. Leonie Cooper in NME gives the film one star, calling it “clumsy” and “tone deaf”. David Fear, writing for Rolling Stone, declares Music “the type of curio in which the gap between its intentions and the end result is Grand Canyon-esque.” Also, “one that turns its heroine into a sort of neurodivergent equivalent of a Magical Negro”. Sara Luterman, who is autistic, writes that she felt “intense secondhand embarrassment” watching the film. And Matthew Rosza, who is also autistic, writes “This movie isn’t just offensive; it’s patronizing…It cares about autistic people, I sense, but it isn’t listening to us.” And “The end result is a movie not about what it’s like to be autistic, but rather how a neurotypical person perceives someone who is autistic.” One thing that keeps coming up is that Music is not about its title character, despite its name. It’s about the neurotypicals around her. Another is that it’s not entertaining.

Katie Cloyd at Scary Mommy had this to say:

And this: “Casting someone at (the character’s) level of functioning was cruel, not kind, so I made the executive decision that we would do our best to lovingly represent the community. … I did try. It felt more compassionate to use Maddie. That was my call.”

HELLO?? SIA?? EARTH TO SIA.

If this trash can of a movie was too uncomfortable…no, wait, what word did you use? CRUEL? If it was cruel for an autistic person to act in the part, what in the name of all that is holy made you think that it was a good idea to proceed? If a non-speaking autistic person can’t play the role you wrote, maybe, just maybe it DOESN’T PROPERLY OR RESPECTFULLY REPRESENT A NON-SPEAKING AUTISTIC PERSON?!

https://www.scarymommy.com/sia-new-movie-ableist-trash/

Shockingly, Music has been nominated for two Golden Globes. It deserves nothing.

Music is an abject lesson in what happens when someone who is not autistic tries to write about and for autistics. Sia should have involved autistic people from the start. She should have listened closely. She did neither, and the result is a godawful parody of autism. As I have said, before you speak for us, listen to us.

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Scheduled exam rewrites set aside

Matriculants who sat for the leaked Maths 2 and Physics 2 exams will not have to rewrite them.

Earlier this month, it emerged that the question papers for the Maths 2 and Physics 2 exams had been leaked. Minister for Basic Education Angie Motshekga then announced that the two exams would be invalidated and that all matriculants who took them would have to rewrite them later this month. Gauteng High Court Judge Norman Davis has now put the kibosh on this. His ruling makes clear that the rewrite decision was both procedurally and substantively unfair.

After the rewrite decision was announced, four matriculants approached AfriForum, asking them to challenge this as they felt they would be harmed. AfriForum was joined by the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) and other interested parties, including other matriculants. The Responding Parties were Minister Motshekga, the National Examinations Irregularities Committee (NEIC), and quality control body Umalusi. Also listed as respondents were the 9 provincial MECs for Education.

At the core of the Case was the question of how widespread the leaks were. Umalusi claimed (without proof) that the leaks were widespread and thus it wouldn’t recognise the results. The applicants argued that this was merely speculation, and Davis agreed. In fact, fewer than 200 students have been implicated in the Maths exam leak (around 1 in 2,000), and 60 in the Physics exam leak. As Davis said:

Even if the extent of the leakage is a hundredfold of that already identified, the question is still whether a 6% compromise would result in a non-certification. Umalusi has not even considered this or at least not done so on the papers.

All the papers have to be marked. In addition, the papers have to be kept safe and not destroyed pending any appeals by the respondents. Motshekga and the Department of Basic Education have been ordered to pay costs.

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Brackenfell High “racism” case – much ado about nothing

Over the past few weeks, the South African political party the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has been protesting outside the grounds of Brackenfell High School about a supposedly racist Matric Farewell party. The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) today released the findings of its investigation.

The verdict? What a todo over a non-issue.

The facts are these: In September, the staff of Brackenfell High sent a notification to the students’ parents that in light of COVID-19 restrictions still being in effect, 2020’s Matric Farewell was cancelled. In response, one of the mothers decided to organise a function at a wine farm. Invitations were sent out. Several teachers from the school also attended. All the students attending were white.

The WCED’s findings:

  • The function was a private function and did not occur on Brackenfell High property.
  • The teachers who attended did so as acquaintances of the mother who organised it.
  • Invitations were extended (and this is key) to every matric student at Brackenfell High.
  • The reason there were no white attendees was because some of the other students had also made arrangements to have private functions.

All of the shouts of racism are wrong and based on ignorance. I don’t expect the EFF to apologise for smearing innocent people or disrupting classes, but I do hope they’ll privately feel like the idiots they are.

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Oh dear, Sia

The autism community is unhappy with Sia, the singer.

Sia has produced and directed a film Music about a pair of sisters, one of whom is autistic and nonverbal. The autistic sister is played by Sia’s frequent collaborator, Maddie Ziegler. The problem? Ziegler isn’t autistic.

Several autistic actors called out Sia for not using an autistic performer in the role. She answered:

I actually tried working with a beautiful young girl non-verbal on the spectrum and she found it unpleasant and stressful. So that’s why I cast Maddie.

This response was deeply unsatisfying. An autistic actor replied:

Several autistic actors, myself included… We all said we could have acted in it on short notice.

These excuses are just that — excuses, The fact of the matter is zero effort was made to include anyone who is actually autistic.


Sia then obnoxiously doubled down and riposted:

Maybe you’re just a bad actor.


Oh dear, Sia.

Sia also claims to have been advised by an autism organisation. I was a little bit apprehensive as I wondered which organisation.

I was right to be concerned.

It’s Autism Speaks.

Oh dear, Sia.

I have blogged about Autism Speaks several times before. It is an organisation that has been roundly criticised and even condemned by the very community it purports to help. It consistently pushes the “autism as tragedy” narrative, advocates for a cure, and hyped the “vaccines cause autism” lie long after Andrew Wakefield had been discredited. A disproportionate amount of its funding goes to overhead. It also has hardly any autistic employees, a bad sign for any supposed autism charity.

The bottom line is, Sia blundered. She blundered by working with Autism Speaks, and she blundered by casting a nonautistic actor to play an autistic character. And then, when faced with justified criticism of her actions, she doubled down and attacked her critics.

Update

CommunicationFIRST has released a statement criticising Sia for using a verbal actress to play a nonverbal character.

Link here.

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