zine, [zeen] noun. 1. abbr. of fanzine; 2. any amateurly-published periodical. Oxford Reference


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Don't Be Retarded #1

Don't Be Retarded #1: Autistic Pride in a Neurophobic World 
Edited by Joe Biel / Microcosm Publishing

11cm x 18cm, 64 pages

$5 USD

"Autism advocacy has focused on the rights and struggles of parents over the past 30 years, resulting in an invisible population of disordered adults who have little voice and less support for what they are going though."

Don't Be Retarded is a new zine started by Joe Biel, the founder and manager of Microcosm Publishing, as a way to help counteract that trend and to foster "a social movement for the neurodiverse". It's an important aim. Those with invisible disabilities suffer the double ignominy of the burden of explanation followed by the resultant disability stigma. 

Joe explains the inspiration for the zine's title: 

"I began polling my Autistic mentees and peers. Just like me, everyone has suffered under the word 'retarded'. But taking the word away without taking away the stigma, bias, and attitude does nothing to take away the hurt and only insults our intelligence further". 

The contributors to Don't Be Retarded have largely been diagnosed as Autistic in adulthood, and although every individual has unique experiences, there are common themes of alienation, despair, and seeking acceptance, that run throughout the pieces.  

'Things I no longer have' by Eliot Daughtry is an insightful look at the sound equipment crucial to surviving 50 years prior to a diagnosis, and how the function of behaviours can be manifold; Partly Robot relates their experiences of working the perfect job for the detail orientated; Aaron Poliwoda's comic Autism-Man V's the evil Neurotypical discusses the difficulties surrounding a lack of Autism awareness; Tammy Porter contributes a moving reflection on a life lived undiagnosed; Ricki Bransen examines the lenses our lives are viewed through; Temple Grandin looks at how to reduce stigma by getting good at something; and Joe Biel's pieces offer a thought provoking look at attitude, perception, and discrimination.

Don't Be Retarded is an essential read both for anyone who has struggled, or is struggling, as a disordered adult, and for those open to understanding.

Buy a copy direct from Microcosm: microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/zines/9412

Review by Nathan Penlington

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