Friday, November 02, 2007

The taboos of the stuttering community

Every community has its taboo topics or words. Taboo topics are aspects out of our reality that are best not to be spoken about, certainly not to be discussed. Here are a few statements where you can get in trouble for even suggesting them for debate though they are not obviously wrong and at least debatable. In Japan: "The Japanese army is responsible for forcing Chinese women into prostitution during World War II." In Germany: "Not all Nazi policies were bad, e.g. the construction of Autobahns or the sense of community and purpose." In the US: "There is not reason why the US should have a special relationship with and blind support of Israel." In China: "The Taiwanese and Tibetan people should be allowed to decide their own destiny". Even in the no-taboo porn industry, there is a taboo topic: STDs!

Also in scientific debates we have taboos as the Watson and Larry Summers sagas show. You cannot ask the following questions without fear of being sacked. Here are a few examples: Do Blacks have on average a lower IQ and Jews on average the highest IQ among races? Are there innate differences between males and females that could help explain the high representation of male university science professors / Nobel Price winners and CEOs?

Do not expect a reasonable debate on any of these topics. The pattern is generic. First, the questioner is labeled a racist, Nazi-sympathiser, unpatriotic, sexist, or anti-semitic. Second, therefore these people are evil and stupid. Third, therefore they must be wrong. End of debate.

What are the taboos in the stuttering "community"? Let me know what your thoughts are. Here are a few candidates:

- Many stutterers prefer not to listen to people who stutter, and do not want a partner who stutters.

- Stuttering is a handicap, and stutterers cannot do every job.

- There are stutterers who did bad things. For example, we have Ben Johnson, the Canadian super sprinter who was convicted of doping. He is never mentioned as being a famous stutterers. How about criminals, serial murderers, and rapists.

- Most research in stuttering, especially those conducted by therapists, is a complete waste of time, and those low-quality researchers should be told about this rather than being congratulated for "the hard work they have done".

- Stuttering can be completely explained in scientific terms.

- Stuttering medication could well be helpful to people who stutter.

- Treatment for children is still not proven beyond doubt to be effective in the long-term.

- The majority of those who talk at conferences and claim that they cured themselves never actually stuttered severely.

- There is nothing physically wrong with *some* covert stutterers.

- The use of the word "holistic" is a reliable measure for poor quality in thinking.

- It is a good and necessary thing to take on crackpots and undertake every action possible to limit their ability to spread their message.

Taboo word No. 1: Cure, cure, cure, cure.


Adrian said...

The former Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu stuttered into adulthood, yet we never hear about this. He may have gained more prestige and power than any stutterer in history (and did it while stuttering). I guess we like to pretend the brutal, mass murdering dictators who stuttered never existed.

Tom Weidig said...

Cool, Ceausescu stuttered! I didn't know that!

Uri said...

Some runners up?

- I hate stuttering v. some girls/women find it attractive

- I hate SLP's v. I'm waiting to find one that "gets what its all about"

Keep up the blog Tom! Power to you...

MarkB said...

And old thread, but it's still alive, so...

1. Fluency, as in "chasing the fluency god."

2. Maybe all those stutterers in speech therapy chose their profession to avoid the "real world," and then tell other stutterers to voluntarily stutter and be proud stutterers - and find jobs outside the stuttering ghetto of speech therapy.