Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A few more good Pokez in the eye.

The Pokez story rolls on.

Off the top, best comment ever:

Also contact a lawyer, because the restaurant's policy is against the ADA by a longfuckingshot.... As part of that, go into the restaurant sometime, and record all the time that nondisabled adults or kids are allowed to take a long time or be outright disruptive. I would bet she's one of those assholes that thinks it's okay to abuse someone because they look autistic -- the fact that we're the ones put through years of psychologically damaging "training" to hide what we are so people like THAT are more comfortable makes me really angry.

And proof that Jay - the father, is WAY cooler than I am:

I'd still be OK with just 3 things from the Pokez owner: a written public apology for David, a statement that the manager was incorrect in his reaction then to support the waitress's abuse , and something (either staff training or personnel changes) to prevent this from happening again. But apparently the restaurant is claiming that we were asked to leave because *we* were rude (LOL.. we were actually reserved and probably the quietest table in the place that night, and I was incredibly polite-but-firm to the manager afterwards), and they are saying that it doesn't matter because David isn't really autistic because he can talk (?!?). Apart from them being utterly incorrect on both counts, even if David was a *neurotypical* child, that still doesn't somehow make it OK for the waitress to grab him and scream in his ear! (scratches head)
I can't think of anything more likely to cause me to commit a physical indiscretion, and way past the point where my "don't hit girls" programming would override my urges.

But this isn't about me and my imperfections and flaws - other than the obvious, that sometimes consequences are direct and other times they catch you flat-footed from behind. In other words, this is about ethics, what they are, why you should have them, and using this unfolding mess as beautifully horrible example of people who believed in their own "spin control."

Allow me to illustrate consequences:

Ducksnorts - dedicated to Padres Baseball, not autism (although there's probably no sport more suited to aspie fandom and autistic perseveration) says:

... I hesitate to mention this because it takes the focus away from baseball and the Padres, but a story on one restaurant’s treatment of an autistic child disgusts me (more here) to the point that I have to say something: I’m recommending against a place called Pokez (hat tip to San Diego Blog).

Who says:

Pokez, (and myspace) the venerable lefty hippy arty cool vegetarian-friendly Mexican restaurant downtown is practically an institution among the hipster set. I myself loved eating there back when I was working downtown.

Well, all is not well in Pokez-land. Here’s an allegation of an autistic customer being assaulted for not ordering fast enough: “Assaulted at dinnertime in SD

And they got it here: (11 comments so far), and they got it here, (13 comments so far). Figure that LJ isn't a lot different than Blogger, and the odds of a comment are one in a hundred - to pick a number out of the air.

This is what happens when assholes insist on being assholes in the New World Disorder. People notice, and each person tells all their friends... and it can reach critical mass in hours, in exactly the same way as a nuclear reaction going critical. You just have to piss off one, wee tiny insignificant little neutron enough...

Well, the world-wide-web has made it impossible for "responsible authorities" to choose what you insignificant neutrons should or should not get radioactive about. And that has implications in the land of practical ethics and the situational morality of getting caught with your pants around your ankles.

Since nobody - not Dick Cheney and certainly not some waitress at Pokez can predict which neutron will choose to go feral, cannot control all the communications of everyone, everywhere, it's now getting to be very difficult to casually lie your way out of trouble, now that the group mind has a permanent, accessible and indexed memory that anyone can feed.

Now, as karma and consequence are sometimes distressingly imprecise, it's even more strategic to be careful, not just about your own actions, your own ethics - but those you happen to be around a lot. This appears to be what other Pokez people bitching about right now; how "unfair it is that they have to bear the consequences of the actions of people they supported at the time.

And you know how much complaints of that sort are worth.

Therefore, we all have a great interest in what ethics are in a practical sense. That's what I write about, most often, and I could not ask for a better illustration of the consequences of operating (as Pokez seems to) outside of the bounds of accepted ethical standards. Or in the words of one
Yelp review:

"Good For Kids: No"

Shame on them. Their snotty service and bad attitudes from the servers went TOO FAR and look what they got themselves into.

I hope Cynthia, the waitress in question, resigns immediately.

Ethics are all about behaving rightly in all situations. It's more than morality. Morality is about proper behavior in particular, common situations, and while morals should also be ethical, it's not wise to bet on that if you value your karmic balance. If you prefer to go without any mystical component; people expect a certain ethical standard of certain places and certain people in particular situations, and if those expectations are violated badly enough, there might just be hell to pay. If you make a habit of being unethical, sooner or later, "might" becomes "will."

Most often, ethical consequences are not as easily visible as this. For instance, for every time a customer is treated rudely, there are probably ten people exposed to that scene, and clearly silence does not imply approval. Check out the reviews from before the alleged assault. You will find a lot of disgruntled folks supplying details that make this incident seem entirely plausible, and certainly not an "isolated incident."

Here's one ethical statement I use a lot: "My right to make a fist ends at the tip of your nose."

I've spent a great deal of time working on my ethics, because like many people on the autistic spectrum, I have no other recourse; I have found that going back to the very basics is the only way to figure out how to act for myself, and how to figure out where I stand when neurotypicals have what are to me inexplicable fits of drama while loudly proclaiming their right to not be held accountable for nose/fists interactions. As in, well, this case.

And being "counterculture" is no excuse. Indeed, it means there's far less excuse.

In many countercultures, and particularly alt-sexual countercultures, "Straight" morals are rejected and the violation of "straight" conventions is a given, but part of pulling that off with style and grace is realizing that those morals and conventions are being rejected for a good reason; because of their soul-destroying hypocrisy and ethical vacuity. It is not a license to be a dick, it's a statement that you aren't going to hide behind convention.

Here we have some little hipster wannabe Republicans, going by the very Down South "my house, my rules, if you don't like it, don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out" paradigm. It's' so very Blue Collar Comedy.

Oddly enough, I have no issue with that, so long as they don't have any problems with not whining about the potential problems of being petty authoritarian dicks, and post the policy clearly in the window. Go ahead, BE a "soup nazi." But it's a high wire act. If you fall off, no whining.

I can't think of anything more uncool, less punk, more totally ungoth than pissing in someones cornflakes for fun - and claiming the right to get away with it.

I mean, seriously. Even worse, I have the feeling that if I been there in my silks and my leathers, with my AS kid, it would not have happened. Why? Because I am counterculture, I look like an elegant punk, (when I go out) and I can clearly and wordlessly communicate that I have no trouble whatsoever turning some twink wanker into a whimpering pretzel, and would rather enjoy doing so. Therefore, I suspect I would get excellent food and excellent service at Pokez. Indeed, I wouldn't be entirely surprised if one of those little tramp-stamped packages of attitude called me "Sir." And that pisses me off, because it tells me that they don't actually respect anyone, and most of all they don't even respect themselves; they merely disrespect others to the extent they think they can get away with.

Those are the values of James Dobson and Pat Roberson. It's Focus on the Family values. It's Godhatesfags.com values. In other words - Red State values. Values any self-respecting counterculture member rebelled against starting in sixth grade when they shoved a safety pin through their My Little Pony's nose.

Counterculture is not about pulling crap and getting away with it. It's about questioning authority and poking it until it goes away or gives you a sensible answer. It's mocking it when it tries to make contemptibly stupid unenforceable rules - and proving that you can live outside those rules without bursting into flame or being struck down by Jehovah's lightning bolts. It's about rigging your OWN parachute, thank you very much.

You own your own shit; compost or wallow as you choose.

The lamest thing of all is to hide behind the slack-ass San Diego police, or cower behind stupid lies. That's contemptible.

Cynthia, go back to the 'burbs and live in mommies basement, because clearly, a couple of tats and an attitude does not bring that elusive quality known as "street smarts."

Watch that happens, exponentially, as those others chime in, people who are, or could be punk, or goth or otherwise counterculture because their wetware just is not designed to live in the suburbs and go to the Church of God with the other sheep. And a lot of them are incredibly protective of children who seem rather like themselves. We wetware-driven "freaks" are the core of many countercultures. Believe it or don't, I'm not about to hand pointers to voyeurs as proof. Collectively every day, in every way, we are reminded of the many small advantages and comforts we have abandoned as the price of our dignity and our liberty.

Is it worth it? Hell, yes. But there is a price to pay, and one of them is self-awareness, self-discipline (in a somewhat elastic but very real sense). People who live outside the lines better damn take care of their own and correct one another with "grandmotherly kindness" BEFORE shit like this happens, because when the straights come in, it's either to do nothing, or it's the Stonewall riots.

Meanwhile people like
Lenny Schaefer will be raking in the bucks by using this as an example of what can happen when you don't torture your children into maintaining an acceptable facade of normalcy. Yep, for people like Lennie Schaefer, it is always the fault of the child for attracting the attention of bullies, always the fault of the parents for not teaching their child how to suck up and take it, to accept the truism that "shit rolls downhill" instead of wondering aloud what sort of damn fool would play "king of the hill" on a crap volcano.

Me, I much prefer telling bullies and social game-players how very painful it will be for them if they continue to expect me to play their games of status and dominance. Five gets you ten that's what this was; Cynthia was trying to impress someone kewl at David's expense. If you ever watched Tool Time, you KNOW how this ends. So if you know, don't go. Because really, saying no will hurt a lot less.

One of my very favorite moments in life was standing up to four bullies, each twice my size, who surrounded me at my locker in front of the Principal's office to tell me they were going to beat me up after school, and I was required to attend. I wrapped my hand around my big brass combo lock and informed the Four Stooges that it was right here, right now, if they wanted to go that route, I was gonna eff-bomb-kill one of them.

This was in the early seventies, when a good F-bomb was worth a fuck of a lot more than it is today! Hell, I kinda recall it freezing the entire first floor, but memory probably exaggerates. However, Authorities who were mysteriously absent before (despite having a clear line of sight through plate glass windows) appeared as if by magic!

Oddly enough, I was expelled as a "troublemaker." See above reference to "stooges." But what I didn't get was beat up. Not ever again.

Here's another ethic for you: "An it harm none, do as ye will." The part before the comma is not optional.

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Esmé said...

I bookmarked this post awhile back (someone had linked it) so that I could read it over again. I think it is well written and has many valid points.

Counterculture is not about pulling crap and getting away with it. It's about questioning authority and poking it until it goes away or gives you a sensible answer. It's mocking it when it tries to make contemptibly stupid unenforceable rules - and proving that you can live outside those rules without bursting into flame or being struck down by Jehovah's lightning bolts. It's about rigging your OWN parachute, thank you very much.

I like this. Especially the first sentence. I see a lot of people who don't want to be the norm and then act like assholes, but then act discriminated against when someone calls them on it.

Bob King said...

Amen. I see it all around; the idea, for instance, that the First Amendment grants the right to speak vicious idiocies with impunity . Search the web (and this blog) for "Spoko" and "ABC" or "KSFO" for some wonderful examples of how that delusion plays out..


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