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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

It's a matter of perspective

Josh and I have been rather hopeful about a new crime drama that has been on TNT lately. Perception stars Eric McCormack as Dr. Daniel Pierce. A brilliant neuro-scientist who helps the FBI solve complex crimes with his unique perspective and insight on people. Oh and he's also schizophrenic...just thought I should add that in.

I have many mixed feelings about this crime drama but it looks like a good foot in the right direction. However, just because you're going the right way doesn't mean you won't get lost. I suppose this essay is kind of a review on the show but not an accurate one since I have only seen the first episode. It's also dissection on the perspective of having a dual sword of a disability and a talent.

The show is something I want to bring up to parallel what is going in the James Holmes case. There is discussions that he had a psychotic break and is diagnosed with schizophrenia. Not sure if the latter is true however and I did mention my irritation on the lie that schizophrenics are always crazed killers and the denial of the fact they are more likely the victims. Yet the show takes on many of the similar tropes I have seen before. One of them is the "disability superpower" trope. I don't know if it frustrates me or rather fascinates me that his visual hallucinations are the manifestation his subconscious telling him how to solve the crime. Could it be possible for a schizophrenic to have dissociative consciousness that whatever it takes it in, it comes out garbled and skewed? Possibly, it's very likely that most hallucinations cause by different neurowiring is simply a scrambling of what is understood and perceived. But the whole idea that his hallucinations manifest to help him use his active consciousness to solve the crime doesn't sit well with me (example of this is during the episode one of the suspects gets nervous when he sees Dr Pierce he later visits the doctor saying that he is going crazy and killed someone and wants Dr. Pierce to help him. Turns out it's a hallucination that is a clue to what is going in the case). I can't buy it for some reason, hallucinations don't always manifest like that, some are just plain nonsensical (the one my friend J had are pretty damn surreal). Maybe that is why Dr. Pierce is brilliant, maybe his brilliance is because of his schizophrenia. Or is it the other way around, maybe is born brilliant and his brain schisms causing the schizophrenic symptoms?

Perhaps this is the thesis of the essay. Am I good storytelling because I am an autist who sees things in different shades? Or am I an autist that uses stories as an accommodation to communicate? It's a chicken/egg question indeed and one that needs exploration. I have high hopes for a show that works to move pass the tropes and cliches of schizo-typal people. Who has a neurodiverse hero that treasures his neurodiversity and truly recognizes it. It's good to see folks taking that bent on disability than making it "teaching lesson" for the able-bodied.

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