Hard News by Russell Brown


Feeling good

Attitude TV came to see us this week, to record an item that will screen in a few weeks' time. It's the kind of thing that we wouldn't have thought about before the fundraiser, but it was quite a good experience.

Leo, as he increasingly tends to be when people come and visit, was charming and talkative. He isn't the angry, inarticulate refusenik in the classroom last year. He showed off his stuff in Gary's Mod and help set up some shots of Colin the kitten.

By chance, the tutor we've chosen for Leo also came around for a meeting with Fiona and I to confirm the details of his work. I can hardly believe we've found someone so well qualified: a retired school principal with Correspondence School experience and a clear plan of action. It's really exciting. He starts Monday.

Later in the day Jimmy came home from school and indicated he'd like to talk about who he is. Linda, the director, asked him whether he saw Asperger's as "a disability, or an ability?"

"I think it's both," he said, explaining that it sometimes made it hard for him to think, but that it also mean he had different ideas from other people, and he liked that. He enjoyed being different.

His speech is still very mannered (and often a bit loud), but I felt some pride as I eavesdropped. Jimmy used to be much more down on himself.

As we've opened our lives to some degree in the last few weeks, some people have told us what great parents we are, which I'm not sure is warranted: you just do what you have to, and the fact of the fundraiser has actually given us a useful boot up the bum.

But to hear Jim expressing such a positive self-image … I granted us a pat on the back for that.

Yesterday, I banked the bulk of the money raised from the Hustle for Russell - and got to see a few of the names on the cheques. It was humbling. There are people I know who I'll thank personally when I see them, but, again, to everyone who contributed: thanks. This is a good thing that's happening. And for those who've expressed an interest in the humans.org.nz website, thanks, and I'll fire up the listserv soon, honest.

I feel bound to note that in the Herald story yesterday listing cases in which the Section 59 defence has been successfully used (the print version doesn't seem to be online), at least two cases involved the hitting, with objects, of children who were clearly disturbed. I know it's not easy when your child behaves in an extreme or unacceptable manner - believe me, I know - but I can see no sense in which systematically striking either of our kids would have helped them. Quite the reverse.

Meanwhile, yet more pro-smackers you wouldn't trust to know the meaning of "reasonable force": the CYFS Watch nutters publish the home address of Labour MP Sue Moroney, who has young children. And National MP Katherine Rich, who will vote for Sue Bradford's Bill receives phone calls uttering threats against her school-age children.

And the Libz mingle with the fundies outside Parliament.


Oh, and the embargo has expired and I'm now free to tell you about attending the preview screening of This Is New Zealand on Monday. I was surprised: my memory, and that of most people who recall seeing it first time around, is almost all about the scenery,

But there are plenty of people - and farms and factories and nightclubs - the film. It's sort of an odd mix of public service film and art movie. I got to meet the creators, Hugh Macdonald and Kit Rollings, and the interviews with them will feature in Public Address Radio, 2pm Saturday on Radio Live.

A word, also, for the quality of the remastering at Park Road Post: the new film looks and sounds brilliant.

One thing I can't do (I didn't actually sign the NDA but I feel bound by the commitment) is describe Park Road Post itself. It is forbidden. But I guess it's okay to say I thought it was pretty cool.

Meanwhile, our friends at Spare Room have some video goodies for you. The Campbell Live cross to John Key's 40 Below doing-it-for--the-kids party that went a bit off the rails. And a report from the Onion News Network on the dark threat of immigration.

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