Autism/Asperger’s the New ‘Cool’?

Yesterday the site was hacked and someone posted made a bogus post about poetry, which I deleted this morning. Self-hosted WordPress is a magnet for hackers and spammers.

A post on Hacker News about an autistic Wikipedia editor, Guillaume Paumier, went viral, generating thousands of page views for Paumier’s site and heaps of laudatory approbation for Paumier and the autistic community at large. This agrees with my earlier post about the rise of the Omega male, and how Omegas – not Alphas – are the leaders of the pack in post-2008 America.

In the post-2008 era, social awkwardness, a defining characteristic of Asperger syndrome, is the new ‘cool’, in contrast to being all style and no substance, since awkwardness conveys authenticity and competence. It seems people with the ‘good’ social skills are putting those skills to use at Starbucks, for example, asking techies in line what toppings they want on their coffee, while those who are better at reading code and equations than reading faces are making all of the money in today’s economy. In what could be called the the tyranny of the bookish, today’s cognitive elite, like the 21st century equivalent of kings and barons, are being waited on by the ‘servants’ in the low-paid, but very competitive service sector. Cognitive capital, more than ever, has precedence over social capital, and this is exemplified by the meritocracy that is the tech culture of Silicon Valley, where anyone with a good idea can become instantly immensely rich and successful through hard work and raw intellect instead of family connections.

Servility is ‘out’ and candidness is ‘in’, the willingness to confront and espouse biological and economic reality with ‘Spock-like’ logic without worrying about hurting people’s feelings. Right now there is a demand for bloggers on the alt-right to spread the truth, as people are seeking explanations – even if such explanations are not politically correct – for why the economy has changed so much and why so many people seem to be permanently falling behind in an other wise strong economy, as well as possible solutions. The left says the government isn’t doing enough to help the disadvantaged, yet the left has been waging a war on poverty since the 60’s and entitlement spending is at record highs, so maybe biology, not social factors, is the last stone to be upturned, the final taboo. Liberals would prefer we not talk about biology as it pertains to socioeconomic outcomes.

Guillaume Paumier has gotten more recognition and praise being autistic than the vast majority of neurotypical people. But of course, there are vastly more neurotypical people, but as a matter of percentages, autistic-spectrum people are kinda like the new Ashkenazim of society: a minority, but a very successful, smart, and prominent one. As much as they avoid social interactions, the rest of society and the media apparently can’t get enough, whether it’s extremely successful shows like The Big Bang Theory that feature autism-spectrum protagonists, the rise of nerd culture among millennials, or the the latest scientific discovery that spreads through the media like wildfire, evoking awe and wonder.