Status anxiety

The misguided bid to turn Alan Turing into an Asperger’s martyr

I’m all for giving more respect to people on the autistic spectrum – but not because they’re ‘special’

10 January 2015

9:00 AM

10 January 2015

9:00 AM

When I first heard the story of Alan Turing in my late teens I made what must be quite a common mistake. I concluded that his conviction in 1952 for committing a homosexual act was indefensible in light of his immense contribution to the war effort. The fact that he was forced to undergo a course of hormonal ‘therapy’ which led to his suicide two years later underlined just how badly he was treated. The British authorities should have been erecting statues to him, not hounding him to his death because he was attracted to other men.

The reason this was a mistake is because I’d made a connection between Turing’s war record and the injustice of persecuting him for being homosexual, when it would have been equally wrong if he’d been a conscientious objector. People’s right to have sex with whomever they choose, provided they’ve reached the age of consent, isn’t contingent on their having done something heroic. By the same token, it’s not a valid argument to say that criminalising homosexual acts is wrong because some homosexuals contribute an enormous amount to our national life. Let’s call all variations of this mistake the Turing Fallacy.

The Imitation Game — the film about Turing starring Benedict Cumberbatch — commits this fallacy, but not in the way you’d expect. It doesn’t romanticise Turing. On the contrary, he’s portrayed as an unfeeling intellectual snob, a person with no friends, no sense of humour — a man who struggles to make any human connection at all. All those who knew Turing have said they don’t recognise this picture and these distortions suggest that the people who’ve made the film aren’t interested in promoting Turing as a gay martyr — a sort of Oscar Wilde figure. Indeed, the filmmakers have invented a subplot in which Turing discovers the identity of a Soviet agent working at Bletchley Park but is blackmailed into keeping quiet. That is, they’ve falsely portrayed him as a traitor and explicitly linked it to his homosexuality. I suppose there might be an argument for gay rights in there somewhere — if homosexual acts weren’t illegal, gays would be less susceptible to blackmail — but it’s pretty well hidden.

No, the filmmakers are guilty of committing the Turing Fallacy in another way. The Imitation Game isn’t a plea for greater tolerance of homosexuals, but of people on the autistic spectrum. Its cause is neurodiversity, not sexual diversity. That’s why Turing is portrayed as someone who struggles with ordinary human interaction. He’s literal-minded to a fault and is incapable of understanding jokes. He’s nothing like the real Alan Turing, who was warm, charming and funny; instead, he’s exactly like the main character in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. To make a point, the filmmakers have invented a largely fictional character — a mathematical genius with Asperger’s syndrome. It’s as if they decided that presenting Turing as a victim of the persecution of homosexuals is old hat. So instead, he’s portrayed as a martyr to another, more fashionable cause. His crime isn’t being gay, but failing to be neurotypical.

Now, I’m all for giving more respect to people on the autistic spectrum — my half-brother Christopher is on the autistic spectrum — but not because they’re ‘special’. The Imitation Game commits a similar error to Rain Man, which seems to argue that Dustin Hoffman’s character should be valued and cherished not because he’s a human being with the same needs as the rest of us but because he’s exceptional with numbers. It’s patronising nonsense, and as an argument for neuro-diversity doesn’t bear scrutiny. It won’t surprise you to learn that Christopher isn’t any good at maths.

If the makers of The Imitation Game had done any research into autism, they’d know that ‘auties’ and ‘aspies’ are no more likely to be mathematical geniuses than the neurotypical. It’s romantic gobbledegook — the Turing Fallacy par excellence. The filmmakers are peddling this myth in order to burnish their liberal credentials, not because they actually want to improve life for people on the spectrum. My brother lives in a residential community that depends on taxpayer subsidy and that will be put at risk if people think he could just as easily be earning a living breaking codes as he could weaving baskets. Far from helping him or any of his fellow sufferers, The Imitation Game is just Hollywood hokum. I’ve no doubt it will win a hatful of Oscars.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Toby Young is associate editor of The Spectator.

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Show comments
  • Doofor

    Still a stunning piece of fiction. Appreciate the inside baseball, but don’t be such a literalist fundie. It’s art, not science. This flick gets the full four potatoes from me.

    • Samson

      More propaganda than art

      • Doofor

        true. anglo fabian agitprop?

        • rusty

          Not sure why it’s propaganda. They should have interviewed and listened to those who knew Turing. They likely got some aspects wrong , which is common, or purposely ignored to create a more interesting story:
          When I think of propaganda, I think of films like U571 (giving credit to Americans for what Canadians did) or terrible films like Battle of the Bulge.
          I found the comments on axis vs allies to be mature and non-propagandist.
          Maybe we have different interpretTions of propaganda?

      • Christine Karlov

        most war films are propaganda
        but I like this one and i thought it more art & commentin on society. Also it criticises the British too so I am not sure how it can be propaganda?? it clearly shows some of the British behaving badly and the problems that happen within a strict heirarchy…

    • wudyermucuss

      It does present itself as being about real events.
      I wish they’d either make pretty accurate films about real events,or,make a film which is obviously about,say,Turing,but acknowledges its fictionalization by naming the characters differently or something.
      The recent missing child film by Clint Eastwood changed the story hugely by omitting the perpetrator’s mothers role in the events.
      Based on real events?Loosely based on real events surely?Or,in the case of The Imitation Game,loosely based on real events with a huge dose of modern sensibilities thrown in for good measure.

      • Bronx_Native

        Please. Any major movie, even if it is based on real events, will tailor the movie to accomplish the objectives of the producer and director (and others) who have their own biases.

        To think otherwise is to be naive.

        • wudyermucuss

          Please.My post is quite clear.

        • interiris

          not necessarily an accomplished writer can make a bio interesting without distorting the events that surround him.It is lazy writing.

      • interiris

        I agree -a complete generation will take this image of Turing as the real thing and it does him no justice

        • Rhiann

          If people are so stupid that they think that a theatrical movie, even if it is based on real people or events, is a word-to-word, precise re-telling of actual events, they deserve to stay ignorant and believe so.
          If people want more accurate telling of the “real story”, they should watch a documentary on the person/topic. The people who take (biopic) films as accurate representation of facts are not even interested in the actual facts. Yes, it is sad they are so ignorant, and therefore misinformed, but let them live in that false belief. The people who actually matter, and want to understand things go and do research after watching this film, and will get more accurate info on him.

      • Rhiann

        Sadly biopic piture/film and documentary are not the same thing. Biopics can follow the events accurately, but can also “twist” them. if you wish to see more accurate representation of historical events, I recommend documentaries (I love them myself)

        Yes, most of the audience does not know or is not even interested in the terms and stuff, but it does not hurt to look them up. So while it is understandable BIOgraphy makes most people think “based on actual events”, it is still a movie…a fictional story… BASED on real person and events, not precise description of real life. .

        Biopic – (definition) “Short for ‘biographical picture’, a film devoted to the life of a real historical or contemporary figure. Although it might be counterintuitive, the biopic is essentially a fictional portrait, typically with a great deal of creative licence. ”

    • interiris

      if you call something a bio you can at eat gi it a sense of reality and authenticity if not just call it a thriller and change the names

  • disqus_UbYeLlfye0

    Apropos of not much, that description’s *completely* the opposite to Rain Man’s message.

  • Guest

  • Samson

    Great article

  • Fiona LeMaster

    I have Asperger’s, as does my teenage son. We are both “Aspies” in similar ways, including hating crowds and sharp noises, having a “thing” about germs, seeing the world as very black & white, and taking things rather literally. I was obsessed as a child with dinosaurs and Star Trek, he was obsessed as a child with Dr Who, more recently with The Big Bang Theory show and now it’s all about video games. We both are rather asocial and hardly ever go anywhere. However, we are also both caring, warm, funny people – just as Alan Turing is described in this article. We Aspies – including Turing, if he indeed was an Aspie – are entirely capable of experiencing the warm “fuzzies” of life as much as any NT can, while simultaneously finding it difficult to come to grips with the finer parts of social behaviour.

    • You are noy “Aspies” you are on the spectrum somewhere. You could equally be misdiagnosed, and so mistreated, and be ADHD. The symptoms are remarkably similar – apart from the literal stuff. Of course a label often has an effect upon the labeled and can be like a reverse form of the placebo effec, psychosomatic almost. DSM V has determined Asperger’s is not a discrete condition.

      • Fiona LeMaster

        Reply #1: Sad attempt at trolling.
        Reply #2: You think anyone is going to take what YOU say about someone else’s verified diagnosis seriously? Good lord. You are deluded to an extremely high degree. ADHD hahahahaha

        • Sorry? You are calling me a troll? Verified misdiagnosis you mean.

          • rusty

            I’d fully agree with troll, or highly ignorant. Take your pick.

          • You are talking about yourself?

            Highly ignorant people resort to insults when they have no argument to make. Read and comprehend before insulting.
            Aspergers and Autism two different things? Don’t be so unintelligent. Read, read and read some more before you insult people.

        • rusty

          Also, the everyone is on the spectrum to varying degrees.
          All of the specialists that I spoke with (when supporting someone close to me) commented that merging Autism and Aspergers did not make sense, I’d be inclined to agree having come if contact with many diagnosed people. The Aspergers really stand out from the Autistics.
          Re:,ADHD vs Aspergers – I laughed too. I know several people with ADHD. I chuckled at the comparison too.

          • It makes a lot of sense if you read enough about it. Laughing at people is simply rude, not clever.

            “The Aspergers really stand out from the Autistics?”

            Are you serious? Talk about hate, you are full of it. Get a life.

          • JennyF

            According to the changes in the new DSM, which is about a year old Aspergers is no longer a discrete condition with a discrete diagnosis, it is an autism spectrum disorder and is on the same spectrum as others with a diagnosis of autism.The main difference being that aspergers diagnosis does include a language delay or cognitive impairment, but as this is a spectrum many similarities will present themselves in a milder way. It is not that the diagnosis is gone it has simply been swallowed by the larger umbrella term. This has been disputed by many people as it may discourage people from coming forward and getting diagnosed, however, we are all on this spectrum somewhere and we all have varying degrees of ” Autistic Traits’.
            I am not really sure of what point exactly you are making when you state the original post writer can not identify her and her son as “Aspies’ and I certainly am not sure why you reference ADHD, a completely unrelated condition ( Attention Hyperactivity Disorder). Why would the writer end up with this diagnosis? I am not really all that convinced you have any idea what you are talking about.

          • ADHD and ASD adults share many common symptoms. It is possible to be both. There is a greater divergence amongst infants as the hyperactivity is externalised as behaviour and the “shyness” of ASD children also. Both are defence mechanisms of sorts. ADHD and ASD children manifest extrovert and introvert behaviour. However both are socially disadvantaged. ADHD adults use hyperfocus as a form of defense mechanism to get their thoughts in gear. HFA/Aspergers (not the same but I’ll indulge you) show similarities of focus but whereas ADHD adults can hyper focus on anything ASD adults tend to focus on one subject indeed that is all they can do according to the “standard” definition of Asperger’s Syndrome.

            The Asperger’s label seems to be a topic that has caused many to become animated by its clinical obsolescence. More as a result of the potential financial loss of benefits and/or health benefits than any clinical concern.

            ASD and ADHD are neurological in nature. To say everyone is on the spectrum is fatuous. If everyone was on the spectrum there would be no spectrum. Not everyone is ADHD but many have one or two traits.

            To portray Turing as Asperger’s is to overstate the ability that those who are so diagnosed have. It is far more likely that he was ADHD as such people have an ability to become expert in many topics, scientific, mathematical, philosophical, literary and linguistic, like me. This means that many intutive insights are possible as connections are made between topics that most cannot make, and so intuitive brilliance, as displayed by Turing, become routine.

            Asperger’s Syndrome is a collection of symptoms categorised by a man named Asperger that those who are diagnosed as such cling to, or more likely siblings, loved ones and parents, so as to reasssure themselves that far from being disadvantaged in the modern world they are somehow special. Of course they are not. they are simply different. There is a massive difference.

            Superiority of intellect is not necessarily special either. It tends to depend more upon what one does with it than the signifying label that is stuck on ones forehead to reassure those less capable that they are in fact superior to the obviously superior intellect before them. This mass inferiority complex leads to discrimination of an altogether dirfferent and more insidious kind.

            Like yourself, those that fail to understand a point simply rubbish it and mock the messenger rather than try and work it out. Of course others like me, and Turing, suffer a similar fate, and are hounded for our genius by the pygmy minded. Those who fail to see that simply because they cannot solve a cyptic crossword does not mean that the answer within the clue is in some way “wrong” or that the author of the clue does not know what he is talking about. But of course the baffled majority often crumple up the newspaper and throw it away in disgust at their own ignorance and the brilliance of the author.

            I hope that clarifies it for you.

          • JennyF

            First of all, Are you at all familiar with ANY current research in this area? You have managed to take a considerable amount of time out of your clearly hectic schedule to write many many words which to a lay person might sound like they make sense but if you actually know anything about the topic are complete tosh! Perhaps you cobbled together some Wikipedia pages? As someone who had dedicated their live to working in this field of study I suggest you do a little bit of deeper research before you comment so extensively, this will save us all a lot of time having to read such drivel!

          • YES! I have read it all, DSM IV & V and the NICE guidelines and been through all the assessment nonsense as well.

            Have you? Not likely.

            The refuge of the ignorant is to traduce the informed.

            Simply because you do not like what is said does not mean it is incorrect. Of course there is no empirical evidence either way. There are brain scans, MRIs and so on; these are pictures which “scientists” interpret, subjectively, on the basis of inductive evidence. So not really scientism at all.

            Popper would describe all the tosh that is spouted from self serving political standpoints, as in the case of Asperger’s Syndrome (which is not a discrete condition), autism generally and ADHD, as pseudo science. As indeed is all psychological and social science research.

            It is therefore only posible to be “right” if you accept the parameters within which right and wrong is determined and the paradigms defined. This is why, if honest, a scientist would say that it is all guess work.

            This means that when you criticise me for being wrong or not knowing what I am talking about that you display your own ignorance of research methodology and prove you are not gifted or special at all.

          • Gallowglass_rn

            You are not a scientist,I am,you are an Arts degree bluffer.

          • You are simply ignorant.

          • Shaun Bryan

            FYI, “scientism” is not a word. You’re only “gifts” appears to be trolling and the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

          • Christine Karlov

            I think they must be a troll or very very mis-informed :/

          • No. Very very informed I am afraid. Get a job.

          • Christine Karlov

            oh that is incorrect , very very very wrong….I wonder where you found this information? It is mis-informing & I can only assume you must be trolling

          • i would be most grateful if you could point out how it is so very, very, very wrong. Perhaps you could provide us wih your source material. I found it in the DSM IV & V and Nice as well as numerous articles.

            Assumption is the mother and father of ignorance. I am hardly trolling. If you could define troll it would be helpful as well. Concision and precision rather than pedantry and unsubstantiated generalisations and insults are preferred.

            The problem with labels of any kind is that they almost always degenerate into pejoratives and this in turn leads to discrimination. Of course it does not help if the labelled revel in the distinction and misguidedly believe that they are in some way “special” and so superior to the, what do they call them, ah yes, “neural normatives”. many neural normatives have very high social intelligence and even higher IQs. Are these another kind of special or not quite as special as the other specials.

            I prefer to think of myself as simply human. Of course we are all similar in many ways and all different in more subtle ways.

            Arguably autism does not exist at all, let alone Asperger’s Syndrome (a phrase coined at the height of the lunatic aylums) or indeed ADHD, bipolar or even schizophrenia.

            Psychiatry and psychology are inductive disciplines and not science. Not in the accepted empirical sense that underpins scientism as a belief system. I myself prefer the Chinese holistic inductive approach to healing which focuses completely on the placebo effect and the ability of individuals to heal themselves and others by thought and the transfer and control of Qi.

            All assessments and diagnoses of autism (which includes what used to be known as Asperger’s Syndrome) are subjective judgements made by people who, to a large extent, rely upon apochryphal information provided by the “patient” their family and friends. There is no blood test for it. It is a set of behaviours.

            A diagnosis also has financial implications for the diagnosed and the rest of society who have to pay for it. As it stands those diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome are treated preferably to those who may be just outside the arbitrary set of symptoms that purportedly indicate Asperger’s Syndrome. Some argue, and I am not one of them, that a minority of such people take advantage of the diagnosis to be rude, confrontational and arrogant.

            The fact that Turing (have you read his work?) had such a breadth of knowledge seems to militate against a diagnosis of Asper’s Syndrome being possible. The same goes for Einstein and others.

            As far as I understand it an all consumming passion in trainspotting does not equate to genius. My nephew is a renowned expert on the first world war and nothing else. My son is an expert, genius some say, at IT. But he is also a gifted artist, writer and musician. So what? They make a living and don’t need a label to get money.

            Asperger’s Syndrome as a diagnosis has held back tens of thousands of people who are treated badly and ridiculed. There is nothing special about that.

            The rudeness and inability to socialise is emminently treatable. CBT is a start.

            I am not a troll simply because I refuse to accept that your paradigm is irrefutably correct. One must learn to look ouside of the box. The “Aspies” need to be told that a mistake has been made and that there is a future as the person they are. Albeit that rudeness and a tendency to isolate is a problem. It is hardly a problem unique to “Aspies” is it?

            I am ADHD. Tough potatoes on me then, eh? Two marriages, five kids, no friends, criminal record, alcohol issues (in the past) substance abuse (self medication with stimulants) fighting, problems with the police and so on. The medical profession are not really interested. Whether ADHD or Autistic. If we can interact on this forum we can improve and move forward.

            There is not a contest between the (admittedly dim) normal folk and us clever ones is there? labelling ourselves just gives them a bear to poke with a stick. keep your head down, be underestimated, learn the law and fight back (legally) by maximising our potential. We need to band together and dominate not crave a label and pity.

            Love each other in other words for what we are.

            I am a hare lip, dark skinned gypsy, ADHD person. You know how many times I’ve had my head kicked in because I don’t take s$%t from the normatives?

            Please don’t call me a troll, just think about it all. That is all I am saying.

          • Gallowglass_rn

            Struck off?-figures…bitter loser

          • Me bitter? You really do need to get out more, get a job, stop hiding behind a label that is meaningless. Lose the streak of self pity that permeates every word you write.

            I feel sorry for people, like you, who hide behind labels given to them by other people. It must be frightening to be so weak.

          • Gallowglass_rn

            As a law degree bulshitter like blair you have no expertise in medicine or science just blarney and bluster.

          • Oh dear, once again resorting to rudeness.

      • Gallowglass_rn

        With a law degree what qualifies you in matters of Science or medicine?Law like the arts is for bullshitters who could not do a Science degree.

        • The fact that i am a genius. I have studied Chemistry and Biological Chemistry too.

          • Shaun Bryan

            “The fact that i am a genius.” Oh my God, you have to stop. I almost pissed myself. The completing of a Baby Einstein course does not a genius make, dear. I had no idea they made chemistry coloring books.

            Since when can’t a genius learn proper grammar or how and when to capitalize the first letter in a word?

          • Shaun Bryan

            Do yourself a favor and stop typing, you’re only embarrassing yourself further. You’re not even a good troll.

          • I see you are an obsessive. I can understand you being obsessed with me but it is not normal. You may need to make an appointment with your GP and change the tablets.
            Urinating involuntarily and drooling are symptoms of far more than being an “Aspie” or a turd. Get help now. Please. For your poor parents’ sake. They have had to put up with you, pretend to like you and love you for far too long – your whole life in fact. Do them a service and consider getting the next bus..

          • Shaun Bryan

            So, is that the front end of a horse in your profile pic, because the hind end would be more apropos.

          • Get help now.

          • Shaun Bryan

            Good one.

          • No, really. Get help now. You’re right, you’re not normal. But you’re not an “Aspie” either. You’re very, very dangerous. Get help before you hurt someone. Probably yourself.

    • Carl

      my .om makes $72 /hr on the computer . She has been out of work for 5 months but last month her pay check was $12097 just working on the computer for a few hours. straight from the source;.Still a

    • Do you revel in your label and think yourself special? Rudeness I find to be a serious disability. There is nothing special about a broken nose.

      • rusty

        Your posting is highly ignorant – one of the worst I’ve read in a while. Do you think the person who first recognised Aspergers Syndrome (an expert on psychology) was so simple minded as to not be able to recognise chacteristics of human behaviour that are particularly unusual from what’s considered normal?
        Ive been on the journey with someone close to me (but not me). They are nothing like an ADHD or a “broken nose” as you put it. I can only assume you are well below the 50% percentile in several areas including empathy and logical reasoning.
        Other than asking to be treated with respect, I’m not sure what you are trying to persecute Aspergers for.
        Note to author: Aspergers often have gifts with language. They are described as “little professors”. It doesn’t reflect any form of higher intelligence necessarily. It may be linked to a deep obsession with symbols. I also think your comment that Aspergers being thought of as code breakers and fully capable is unrealistic and highly unlikely. If anything, showing Autism/Aspergers (two different but related things) is really Positive, except for the historical accuracy IF it’s wrong. Yes, I felt Benedict missed the mark in his acting on one point at least … Aspergers are literal people, but not stupid – as they get older they recognise acceptable rules of behaviour… Choosing to accept and copy these behaviours is another thing.

        • “Aspergers often have gifts with language.”

          This in itself demonstrates that you know nothing about it.

          • Shaun Bryan

            I’m an Aspie, and I guess I don’t have gifts with language, Lit, because all the words I can think appropriate to a jackass like yourself begin with ‘F’ and end in you.

          • You’re just an idiot pal.

          • Shaun Bryan

            1) I’m not your “pal” 2) If you had proper grammar it would be, “You’re just an idiot, pal” 3) You should really quit while you’re ahead.

          • “Proper grammar” – idiot.

          • Shaun Bryan

            I agree, you are an idiot. Your people originated the language, but you cannot be bothered to learn the rules.

          • “Your people”

            You really do have issues. I pity you. Get help. Fast.

          • Shaun Bryan

            Oh my God, you’re really bad at this. You’re just quoting me and acting as if I haven’t embarrassed you–I mean, any more than you’ve embarrassed yourself. I pity the troll that’s being trolled better. LOL! You’re such an asshat. Just give up, dude.

          • Glenn Larsson

            He knows way more than you. It is called Hyperlexia, it means that you know and use more advanced words than neurotypicals. Hyperlexia in the general NT population is low. In fact, most normal people cannot spell Hyperlexia.

          • You know nothing about me. I was taught to read when I was two years old.

            Hyperlexia is an ability to decode written words at a young age, typically pre 5 years, notwithstanding the apparent absence of any prior tuition or guidance in how to decode said written word. It has nothing to do with the vocabulary or lexicon of an adult.

            It has nothing to do with the manner in which an adult chooses to demonstrate any form of “specialness” or “gift” when speaking or writing. In other words there is no such thing as Aspergers Syndrome, or Aspies and the like. There are people and we are all unique, special and talented in our own way.

          • Glenn Larsson
      • Brett Anthony

        Litigation Magnet…your music sucks!

        • Brett Anthony

          Ivor, sorry I couldnt stop listening, for some reason or other my ears were in a “shit” feeding frenzy…your music still sux! (Did you notice how I used a more “cool” spelling of “sucks”?) Thats because Im an aspie, and even to aspies, your music still sux! Dont release the album, it will fail, along with your IQ.

          • I doubt you are an “Aspie” given there is no such thing, although what you are definitely begins with an “a” and if you stuff a toothbrush up yours you’d be able to clean your teeth given that it’s where you talk from.

          • Oh dear! Scotch.

          • Shaun is it? Coward as well as a trolling dim wit.

        • Brett Anthony

          Dude, did you just like rip every single sample cd off the shelves and claim it as your own? You do know its possible to make your own sounds? I bet Aspies made half those sample cds you STOLE!

          • Dude? Defamatory allegations? I could do with taking someone’s house of them. Have you got one?

        • I would suggest that you are the one that does a fair bit of sucking. Not an image I wish to dwell upon.

          Now off you go and live your “special” life.

      • Gallowglass_rn

        Yeah,I have a broken nose but have given more than one broken nose back love..

        • So you are a hand bag swinger as well as rude then?

          Ignorami, such as yourself, often resort to empty threats, and make silly childlike statements, simply because they are so unintelligent and not in the least bit special. Unless being a silly little twit is a “special” gift.

          • Weasel

            *ignoramuses…. Latin verb made into an adjective, if we pluralise it we do it the English language way rather than the Latin because it’s our word. But that’s what you get for trying to sound cleverer than you are. (I know this was 3 months ago, and I’m really very late, but I just couldn’t resist…)

          • Not if it is used in the Latin context to irritate a Celt.

            It would seem you are a good deal more stupid than you believe. Never mind.

          • Weasel

            No no, the Latin context would not be ignorami. It was a verb. It would not be ignorami. Never mind though…

          • It’s what you call a play on words. Anyway, off you go to school.

          • Weasel

            A play on words is a pun. That wasn’t a pun. It was you being incorrect. So off you go back to being incorrect.

          • Wrong again, but it doesn’t matter.

          • Weasel

            But it matters to me Litigation Magnet, it matters to me. I’m just trying my best to clean up all this salt…

          • Never mind.

      • Gallowglass_rn
  • PAUL K

    Still, this was a great, interesting movie. A 5-Star flick and some Oscar nominations.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      Look forward to getting the DVD.
      Jack, Penang

    • interiris

      it is sad that this film is even being considered for Oscars/Baftas when there are other films which are far superior

      • E.a. Solinas

        Such as what?

  • Guest

    If you act and think differently to the majority, the majority is going to blame your brain for it, not because of any hard evidence they can produce about your particular brain, simply because we live in a brain-blaming essentialist biological determinist culture. Hence the addiction to the word “neuro” seen in this article. In reality, nobody proved Alan Turing had any neurological condition. In reality also, millions of people, adults and kids, are being led to believe their brains are fundamentally different, on the basis of spurious neuro-blaming beliefs and without anybody actually examining their brain and proving the claims. I find it quite bizarre that this “neuro” labeling is actually taken seriously.

    If you want to make a claim about your muscle tissue, or your neurons, or your corneas, or any part of your biology, let’s see some real evidence. Who looked into, examined, sampled, tested, measured anything about the body part that you claim is functioning a fundamentally different way? People that run/jog well, throw a javelin well, we don’t use that mere subjective judgment of how well a behavior is performed as unequivocal evidence that the muscle tissue in their knees is “atypical” and the cause of their performing well. Apparently if you don’t “relate well” to society around you, that is proof that your brain is “atypical”. I don’t buy it.

    A disclaimer… Questioning what I see as a spurious explanation for the very real differences in relating and social interaction people might have, should not be interpreted as me denying that there are people and families that suffer catastrophically when people don’t develop or display the behaviors we’d all like them to develop and display to get along in society and have the trouble free existence as possible. The fact that I don’t believe you can prove your loved one’s brain has a “condition” doesn’t mean I don’t empathize and acknowledge the problematic ways of being that have led to them having a label put on them in the first place. I just acknowledge that that label was put on them after the subjective interpretation of behavior, not in response to any test carried out on their brain.

    • rusty

      Here’s a start… Start with FACT. Speak to an occupational therapist. The person I saw diagnosed someone close to me in less thAn 5 minutes. I watched a routine of drawing circles and what looked like yoga and thought “this guys a total loony”. In less than 5 minutes, the patient was shaking like a leaf… I was stunned.
      I know you’re not going to lie this but “you are a total moron”. You have never sought facts or actual repratBle measures. Your arrogance and ignorance takes my breath away.
      If I hadn’t seen what I have seen in the lAst several years, I might share your ignorNce and prejudice. However, having had lengthy discussions with behavioural psychologists, I think I developed a good understanding of the repeatable science.
      Note: I went through several psychologists before I found one who didn’t talk total crap. The women I talked with could answer any question I had. I’ve learned myself as a “bush psychologist” through my work. That’s a figure of speech, not literal, but I do t just accept what I’m told…

  • פרדי לובין

    He wasn’t a traitor, as he did go to the authorities to volunteer the information, but was told to keep quiet, as British intelligence was using the “spy” to monitor what information they wanted the Soviets to have.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      When the Bletchley intercepts started to come up with the names of Poles murdered by the Soviets at Katyn, they were graded “Above top secret”. Damage potential among Allies would have been catastrophic, especially with “Free Poles”.

    • interiris

      the whole spy scenario was made to add atmosphere to the film-it never happened-the writer has admitted this in interviews,

      • rusty

        The parent poster was commenting on the author of the article’s comment. I picked up the same oversight of the author.
        I also Agree this part of the movie was Almost certainly fiction.

  • Asperger’s Syndrome does not exist. It has been determined by the DSM V that this is so. The NHS relies upon the DSM IV which is out of date. ASD is a spectrum of symptoms and often crosses over into ADHD. “Aspies” is a pejorative.

    • Doofor

      What does it mean to be ‘well’? Who gets to decide if one is well or not? By what criterion is this decision made? Is it the subjective experience of the patient? The opinion of the medical community? The extent to which a person is able to function in the social and economic world, regardless of the possible cost to the person doing the blending? Who is it that must accommodate whom and to what extent? Do the so-called ‘neurotypical’ have the right to enforce their social and behavioral rules and expectations on those whose ways of experiencing themselves and the world differs from the accepted norm?

      • No they do not. But the jealousy, displayed by neural normative medical doctors, is frustrating. As indeed is the ignorance of them. My GP did not even know what the DSM is, let alone that it had changed.
        He suggested that as I had three degrees I could not have ADHD. I was palmed off with SSRIs. I am going to give him a chance to diagnose me properly and if he does not I will issue proceedings. He actually laughed at me.

        The resentment with which those of above average intelligence are treated by GPs is pathetic. There really is no excuse for it. It is assault to issue medication in such a grossly negligent way.

        • Inessa

          I am a GP, and I have a patient with diagnosed ADD (not really hyperactive) AND Asperger’s. Thanks to having very supportive family and a fantastic paediatrician, he is off meds and is doing really well. His communication ability is great now but he came a long way from what it was. Also OCD can be present (as in the film). Other people have Autism spectrum plus Fragile X, as underlying cause.
          However, you are quite right, you can have 3 degrees and have ADHD.

          • rusty

            Re: 3 degrees was one of the few things he said that I agree with.

          • Inessa

            The discussion has really deviated from the article’s points. ADD or ADHD can co-exist with Asperger’s or Autism spectrum. I have seen children with severe Autism and the grief their parents go through and it does create difficulties when their children are so severely disabled but children who are on the mild end of spectrum have access to the same funding. On the other hand, those on the mild end of spectrum, or high functioning would previously just been treated as having a quirky personality, but now, the intensive, early intervention with OT, Speech Path, psychologist can make a huge difference later on, for some. I really enjoyed the film. It is a FICTIONAL account based on real events. It doesn’t have to be as close as possible to the actual account or to the source material. There is nothing wrong with pointing out the differences, for interest’s sake, but it doesn’t mean the writers and director should be condemned for choosing to take it in their own direction. It also should not be analysed from today’s perspective. By many accounts, Turing was a lot more open about being gay, than is portrayed in the film, and there are accounts of him pursuing men, more actively than the film describes. This actually raises the possibility that he could well have had Asperger’s. At that time, it would not have mattered at all in society if, as a man, he had difficulties with social interactions or with feeling empathy, as long as he could earn a living. It made a great difference if you were gay (quite opposite to now). At that time, people certainly weren’t encouraged to seek individuality and to stand up for freedom and equality (of sex, race or sexual orientation) quite the opposite. There would have been great incentive for someone like Turing to suppress his sexual orientation, not just to further his career, and to continue to make his achievements, but even to stay out of prison, and also to not have all of his work discredited. Given that, he may well have had something like Asperger’s if he didn’t sacrifice his sexuality considering what was at stake. It’s complete conjecture on my part, of course.

          • You haven’t got three degrees have you?

          • Gallowglass_rn

            Have you arts or history degrees love?

          • Silly comment. Read, read and read. Then you might learn something.

      • Decisions are not made. No one “deicides” anything. There is a general consensus of opinion, a school of thought if you will. If you read up on group dynamics and research discrimination you will see that “rights” do not come into it. It is a kind of mass hysteria. Thus the quasi intelligent appearance of your comment is revealed as a plaintiff cry of “why?” to which I reply: look it up.

    • Gallowglass_rn

      Asperger`s has been re-classified as being High Functioning Autism you moron.It does exist but is now correctly seen as being autism.

      • Gallowglass_rn
        has been re-classified as being High Functioning Autism you moron.It
        does exist but is now correctly seen as being autism.

        This is what you originally posted. Asperger’s has always been considered as “part of autism” if you read the reasearchit is clearly the case.

        I am not sure name calling helps you. And HFA is not a reclassification, I am HFA/ADHD, but I have no characteristics of Asperger’s so diagnosis within the NHS, who base their diagnosis upon Nice and DSM IV, of ASD/ADHD is nigh on impossible. I do not consider myself to have been reclassified, simply mis-diagnosed and mistreated for 54 years.

        Your reference to homosexuality is a non seqitur. The existence of homosexuality as a psychiatric/neurological disorder is highly charged politically. The same cannot be said of Asperger’s.

        Asperger’s is no longer a discrete condition with a unique set of symptoms. Is homosexuality? That is a political issue.

        As such Asperger’s does not exist, it is simply a collection of symptoms that in the DSM IV was erroneously classified as a discrete condition/disorder/syndrome. As the NICE guidelines insist on perpetuating the myth of “Aspies” they cause harm by mislabelling people who revel in being Aspies, not all of whom have IQs in three figures, actually.


        • Lenny Schafer

          Asperger Syndrome has been retired as a label because it muddled those afflicted to the point of disability with those who were not. This gave rise to the ludicrous parlor game of labeling people like Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Susan Boyle and now Alan Turing as Aspergers or autistic.

          Additionally, there is no clinical definition of High Functioning Autism. This too, is a fiction. If one is diagnosed on the autism spectrum, one can only be disabled. The highest functioning person on the spectrum, is nonetheless disabled; they are not nearly normal nor mistaken as normal.

          It is time to end this game of “Pin the Label on the Dorky”.

          • It’s a neurological disorder that can be detected by an MRI scan.

        • Gallowglass_rn

          silly cunt

      • NO Asperger’s has not been recalssified as HFA at all. It has simply become obsolete.

        • Shaun Bryan

          Lit, why don’t you run out into the street and play a game of hide and go f*ck yourself.

    • Brett Anthony

      lol, what a wanker. Im pretty sure you left out some acronyms dumbo, do they make you feel like an aspie…in other words…smart?

      • Are you a soft cock wanker then? I thought “Aspies” were asexual. Softie.

        At least you now accept Asperger’s is what I have said it was all along, a label for a set of similar symptoms that allow some of the labelled to lounge around on benefits while others who are not so good at scrounging have to work.

        Of course the symptoms may be real but then the diagnosis depends on observation and induction not empiricism. See? No? Thought not.

    • Gallowglass_rn

      you psychopathic cunt

    • Shaun Bryan

      As an Aspie, the term is not pejorative. Also, Asperger’s Syndrome DOES still exist, but now it’s classified as level 1 ASD.

      That’s it, everyone stop feeding this troll.

      • Sorry, you’re simply wrong. Now once NICE get their book updated you’re life on benefits will end. Awww. Never mind, you’ll have to learn some manners and get a…JOB!

        • Shaun Bryan

          I have no interest in this ridiculous little Internet tête-à-tête. Why don’t you do the world a favor and stick your tongue in a lamp socket, you venomous cow.

          • Shut the fuck up then.

          • Shaun Bryan

            Oh no, what’s happened? You can’t think of anything better to say? Poor troll. I guess that’s what happens when one fights a battle of wits with an unarmed person.

          • You’re right. As far as wits are concerned you are unarmed. But then bullies, ingnorami and trolls, like you, posing as half-wits, rather than dim wits, usually have nothing intelligent to say at all.

            Get off your arse, get some CBT and get a life. You’re a human and that’s all mate. And an extremely rude, ignorant and sad one at that.

          • Shaun Bryan

            Hahaha! I’m bothering the troll. I guess that’s what happens when one meets one’s superiors.

          • So sad. I feel very sorry for your poor parents. Having to put up with you for the shortest time they could get away with.

          • Shaun Bryan

            I feel sorry for you. You seem to suffer from delusions of adequacy.

          • Shaun Bryan

            Speaking of parents, go pour some chlorine into your gene pool. Family trees are supposed to have branches, you know?

          • I think that the time has come to stop indulging myself at your expense. Now I have realised just how ill you are it would be irresponsible to continue with this “conversation” and I feel I must end it now.

            Please get some help son. For your poor old mum’s sake if nothing else.

          • Shaun Bryan

            “I think that the time has come to stop indulging myself at your expense.” Oh, is that what you think happened here. And you’ve called me delusional? Hey kettle, you’re black.

          • Get help now.

        • Shaun Bryan

          Oh, and secondly, asshat, I don’t live on “benefits.” I’m from the U.S., but if you knew half as much as you thought you did, you would be able to simply read a FB profile. Also, I have a job… at a university. You know, I learn things and do work for the good of humanity, rather than troll the Internet. Now step away from the keyboard, open the want ads, find a job, and move out of your parent’s basement. Also, remove your tinfoil hat before doing so, troglodyte.

    • stig781

      No it doesn’t the DSM IV is published by the American Psychiatric Association, the ICD is used internationally. Why would the NHS uses a shitty US health guide?

      • Because they do.

      • Rhiann

        Good point: the rest of the world does not have to use the same system of “measurement” as the United States! Just like we measure temperatures (F/C) and distance/length (Feet/Meters) differently, it is quite okay to use different guidelines” to diagnosing developmental disorders. At least I think so.

        Here are some links for those who are interested:

        ICD-10 (84.5 is AS)

        DSM-IV (AS)

        DSM-V (via CDC, Autism criteria)

        Besides, I do not think it matters much if the name is AS or ASD Level 1, as long as the diagnosis/label is given based on the same “set of symptoms”. Though I admit I am used to the name I was given, so I will keep using that…no matter what name is written on the official paper.

    • Rhiann

      True. Since 2013, when the DSM V came out, (American “bible” for diagnosis), there is officially no separate diagnosis for “aspergers syndrome” anymore. Now pople get an autism diagnosis officially. But there are lot of people, who were diagnosed before that year (and get diagnosed in other countries based on DSM IV, where it was still a separate diagnosis officially), and have this particular diagnosis. Just like prior to 1940s, when Hans Asperger first wrote about his “observations” which only in 1980s were translated to English and later the diagnosis was added to DSM, the diagnosis existed, it still exists, even if it is not known as AS. Just under a different name. And I personally believe they should be two separate diagnosis. Aspies existed before 1980s and 1940s, even if they never got that diagnosis. If a person, who was diagnosed between 1990 and 2013 has an aspergers diagnosis, they have every right to call themselves aspies, even now that it is not a separate diagnosis anymore. But I bet in many medical charts their diagnosis is specified as “aspie traits/AS” under the one wide label of autism.
      Yes, it is also true that two separate doctors can give the same person a different diagnosis (ADHD, AS, ASD, other), because it is a spectrum, and the “symptoms overlap” sort of…depending how people decide to interpret them. And it is not an exact science. A lot is left up to interpretation. (Plus, of course, it all depends how much the specific docs know of these conditions. Like it is a known thing that girls were under-diagnosed/misdiagnosed a lot, because doctors had not enough information of diagnosing females correctly).

  • Gallowglass_rn

    Your brother Christopher is one autistic-he does not represent the abilities of all of us.Many people with Asperger`s or HFA are like the Turing portrayed in the movie,other`s are more outgoing.Some like myself are like the movie Turing with strangers or people we do not know well but can be friendly and funny with people we trust or know well.You are on the spectrum yourself as you probably know deep down.It can result in entertaining but abrasive and insulting writing which you have been responsible for in the past but not so much in these PC times aprt from this article.That`s because Autistics are one of the last groups who can be abused without serious risking serious damage to career prospects or legal ramifications.

    • I think for you to compare yourself to Turing is vainglory writ large. Calling me a moron really is rather silly. Insults are not entertaining they are simply rude. As indeed are you.

      • rusty

        I find you very rude. Doesn’t mean I’m not – but any implication you are not rude is false

        • I imply nothing.

          • Shaun Bryan

            Least of all intelligence.

          • Not in your case that’s for sure mate. Get a job, get a life, learn some manners.

          • Shaun Bryan

            You’re the most unimaginative troll ever. I’ve trounced you a dozen times. You’re really, really bad at this. Just stop, dude. Really, you suck at this. If you’re going to be a troll, at least be witty.

          • Stupid boy.

          • Shaun Bryan

            It’s cute how stupid you are.

    • Christine Karlov

      I would like your comment fifty times if I could ! exactly

  • interiris

    I agree the film is a distortion of his story and the patronising statements b the actors involved makes it worse,

    • rusty

      I really liked the movie. I picked some faults and recognised deviations (I’d. Based on – rather than full truth).
      I also liked be edicts comment re: the only pardon that should have been given was from Turing himself.
      You and I will agree to disagree, which is fine by me as long as you are informed in your view.

  • Christine Karlov

    silly article. misses the point of the film , this is just one aspect, it is NOT an Asperger film. They show it because it is part of the main character’s life experience and so few understand, truly what Aspergers is like. I do not believe it is explainable unless you have met someone like this and are close to them and truly try to understand them without judgement. No, they are not just being rude.

    • You are pretty rude though aren’t you. The refuge of the illiterate ignoramus.

      • Rhiann

        wow. I have just scrolled through this article and comments, and you seem to be the one here who is picking a fight with everyone for nothing.
        It is like watching two people arguing what colour the sky is, when it can be anything from blue to pink to red…and so many more…depending on the time of day (sunrise, sunset…).
        I can only suggest you stop calling everyone names. It serves no purpose.

    • Rhiann

      I agree, and I like your comment!

  • Archie Meijer

    What is Asperger’s/Autism?

    If there are people who are somewhat literal, bookish, like to be alone, and are good at subjects like math or science on the one hand and then people who never learn to speak or who have to live in adult care homes on the other hand then maybe the problem is overdiagnosis.

    • Rhiann

      To answer your question “What is aspergers/autism”?…

      It basically means that a persons brain is wired differently. We think differently. But both the “low functioning” (low intelligence, needs daily care) autistic person, and the “high functioning” (high intelligence, genius “nerd”) are on the spectrum and “deserve” the diagnosis. (Just like both the person with -1 diopter vision and the person with -21 diopter vision need glasses, and have a diagnosis or vision loss, both “high & low functioning” autistics fit under the same diagnosis – autism.

      It is a developmental disorder. Meaning it affects how a person develops. And it is also not just one thing, but a wide spectrum. With different symptoms, and showing differently in different people. But it basically gives a name to a combinations of “symptoms” that affect a persons senses, way of thinking, development, social interaction… Often the child just develops slower.

      And yes, it can be confusing, because to outsiders some “high functioning” aspies might seem like just a bit weird, nerdy people with quirks, but that does not mean they are “over diagnosed”. Some might put huge amount of time and energy to learn to act this “normal”, and stay this “normal” daily.

      While some aspie might seem like “normal” to you, it does not change the fact that their brain functions differently. That they do not have trouble understanding this world. Feeling like aliens, because every day is like a visit to a different culture where no one speaks your language or understand you in any way.

      For people, who love computers, this analogy has been created: aspie/autistic people are the macs/linux os in the world of neurotypical PSs/windows os people. Both operating systems (ways of thinking) are right, but they “work” differently.

      If you want to actually know more, just google the term

      Two links where your question is answered

      • Archie Meijer

        Isn’t this a material universe? And then doesn’t it follow that anyone who is different in how they think or behave must have differences in their brain? So then what makes one set of brain differences just “Quirky” and one “aspergers/autism”?

      • Archie Meijer

        I can somewhat answer that question. I have read that at least in theory the DSM is supposed to categorize disorders according to things that impair function. So really disorders are not concrete entities, they are concepts that are used to help people and guide treatment.

        So if a person doesn’t benefit from that or would benefit better treating their problems as “shortcomings” “flaws” “character defects” or “negative but appropriate emotions” or what ever other ways of understanding it then it’s probably not best to consider them to have the disorder. However, many conditions in the DSM now get overdiagnosed.

        A few examples in this link:

        Disorders are just categories we impose over issues of thought and behavior. They then try to argue that because there are brain correlations these categories are more than just categories, but brain correlations have been found in studies related to EVERYTHING including personality, emotions, even political beliefs and religiosity, so the fact that they can come up with category to put someone in and then find brain correlations to that category does NOT prove the usefulness of that category in helping people deal with their problems.

        I’m not saying we should get rid of the category of “autism” just that many people diagnosed as high functioning may actually be ill-served by placement into this category. In particular it just seems like if we’re lumping together people with such different symptoms into the same category, people who would naturally benefit more from very different approaches, then there is at least a lot of work to be done to construct better more useful categories, and some may be better placed in more old-fashioned, traditional categories that predate the DSM like simply “socially awkward”.

  • Rhiann

    I did not see the film this way you did.
    But first I would like to say that I am an aspie. And that indeed the behaviour or Alan Turing in this film did suggest he had aspergers, but it was never mentioned (also because the syndrome was basically not known back then). So the movie does not put a label on autism/aspies. Only people familiar with the condition know that the film characters “quirks” are suggesting he is on the spectrum. To an unknowing viewer he is just a “nerd” and “weird”.

    I personalty loved the little moments with references to aspergers behaviour. But this was so clearly a movie about the war, the great gay mathematician, and the time. The main message i got from the movie, besides the little funny scenes, and personal moments, was the deep running arc of his homosexuality and how at that time it was still considered a crime (I think most people know that until 1970s homosexuality was considered a mental disorder, and before those times people who were different were often treated badly. Like prosecution, castration, etc, that homosexuals had to experience “only” half a century ago, like in this story in the UK after the WW2.
    For me the main message of the movie was that. I did not get the idea you did that he was prosecuted because he was on the spectrum. Maybe I failed to get that message because I am on the spectrum. Though I am a female, and can pass as “neurotypical” on most times, and I have been on so many courses on “socializing” that I am quite good at “understanding behaviour”.

    No, aspies are not more likely to be this or that, but just like with neurotypical people, there are aspies who are great at maths. And this was a film about one man, who was most likely an aspie (in this film. I do not know if the real Mr. Turing was an aspie), and good at maths. Someone on some other time might make a film about an aspie, who is bad at maths (like your brother), but this one was not about that aspie. But that does not make math-genius aspies any less likely to exist.

    Just like there are neurotypical people, who are “smart” enough to work on “demanding” job, there are those who are less capable, and whose abilities end far lower. The same applies to aspies. Its is logical. Some aspies are “geniuses” who can live alone quote well, some need everyday assistance and are not able to do more than weaving baskets. I do not understand how anyone can make a conclusion based on a film/book/article about one person that all people who have the same condition/are from the same culture…or share any other “label” are alike!? Do people actually do that?

    Yes, movies/tv shows like to have more “genius” aspie characters than characters who have average/lower “intelligence”. But so what? Let them.

    PS. Some aspies are like Christopher in Curious incident of the Dog in the Night-time. Some aspies are like Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. Some are different from both.

  • Shaun Bryan

    Oh, you do have a half-brother that you don’t seem to think capable of being “warm and funny” or able to do anything other than “basket weaving”? How lucky he is to have such an expert on autism such as yourself. Please forgive my lack of a “warm and funny” reply, I am an Aspie, after all. Also, I am used to stepping aside so that “experts” like yourself can speak about my obviously simple and easily extrapolated experience.

    Toby Young, I’d refer to you as a halfwit if I did not believe that to be a gross overestimation and an insult to halfwits everywhere.

    • You really are a complete cock aren’t you? Special? Special at nothing other than being a prick pal. Still your giros will stop soon, normal Norman.

      • Shaun Bryan

        Since when did I call myself special? You make about as much sense as Christmas in July. Screw you, you insipid twat-waffle.

        • No, you’re not special you;re a dick.

          • Shaun Bryan

            Ooooh, another scathing retort from the brain trust. Aren’t you due back to your village?

  • Ada

    Well, I have Asperger’s syndrome and two days ago was in my first aspie get-together. And I literally cried after that, because they were such caring and wonderful people (it even surprised my prejudices). Two of them hugged everyone, when it was over. A completely new aspie acquaintance came and told me how he feels for my struggles of not being diagnosed as a child. Plus they were all polite and sweet. There was one exception that would fit the criteria of the “Hollywood aspie”, but that was one out of 13.

    As a very emotional Aspie myself, I have always hated how people indeed think that we lack of warmth and emotions -when it’s quite the opposite! We just don’t know how to show them like neurotypicals.

  • Starbuck

    I have a 14 year old son that has Asperger’s Syndrome. I just saw this movie and I liked it very much. I don’t know if the portrayal of Mr. Turing was accurate or not. I know that Hollywood can sometimes take quite a few liberties in movies to make them have a better plot.
    But I do know that every individual on this planet whether they are gay, straight, Autistic, or just a jerk (like half of these commentators) we are all unique with feelings of anger, love, guilt, etc. And making such gross and degrading comments is in very bad form.
    If you were in a public place and were around strangers, would you say such terrible things to them? Probably not. But here on the internet because we don’t see a person face to face we think we can say whatever we want.
    Our society is doomed, and some of you are helping it right along.

  • Having recently seen the Imitation Game I simply don’t know enough about Alan Turing to judge, but it looked as if they were projecting an autistic image onto his character. If it helps an uninformed public to become more sympathetic to those of us who really are ‘on the spectrum’ then I am for it. My opinion, for what it’s worth is that while Turing may well have been autistic in the broader sense,if he’d had an autistic disorder he would never have been in the position he was.

    • Rhiann

      Yeah. Whether this was true or not for the real Mr. Turing (from what I have read..not…he was not an aspie, just a nerdy math genius), it was an interesting touch to point out some quirks, and make those part of the thing that drove him…and his passion for what he did. But I really think that people who say that the writers made him an aspie to feed on the stereotype of the aspie genius, and that it takes away from the rest of the story, are not correct. Even if they wanted to use the stereotype, it is their problem, and the problem, who believe that all aspies are like that (or that all nedrs or math or linguistic geniuses are aspies),. Sadly, most people do seem to think so narrowly, but why concern yourself with that?
      But just as easily as losing his best friend and love Christopher as a teen, and being a smart nerdy genius, plus and aspie, were all reasons that drove him to his passion and work, and defined his relationship with work and others, his quirks could be just quirks, and not aspie traits, and he could just be a socially awkward gay-genius, and that drove him. The label “aspie” is seen bad only by those who see the fake aspies, when in reality all aspies (be they geniuses like the film Turing, normal, or have low intelligence and abilities) have difficulties adjusting to this world. But now Ive lost my point kind of…

  • Josh

    yes, gayness is old hat. For example, in Australia Mardi gras happened yesterday. This is a triumphalist parade through Sydney’s most prestige’s street, reported on by a fawning media and attended by all the right people.

    Gayness is passe.

  • Julia ې Peculiar

    My heart went out to the character in the film, very well acted by Cumberbatch, mostly because of the laws against homosexuality. I found him to be a warm character, very misunderstood. The film also portrays gender stereotypes. A good watch.

  • me

    litigation magnet obviously has been made a fool by someone in the spectrum and is taking it out here. must have been horific for him on the bit where turning finally cracks the code with christopher

  • christopher saunders

    This is probably the most misplaced hate I’ve read all decade

  • I respectfully, highly disagree with this article and believe it may come off as somewhat insulting to the autistic community. The film does not imply that all people with autism are mathematical geniuses. Rather, it shows that, in certain cases, when the autistic person has the ability and right surroundings, he or she can achieve greatness. Your brother may not excel at mathematics, but he may have some other type of greatness within him, if even on a smaller scale than Turing’s. Obviously, Turing is not the normal case; he is unique, (as are in fact all autistics/Aspies, and all people). Were it not for Turing’s autism, however, he may not have done the things that he did. Rather than be super focused on mathematics and computers (his special interests), he may have directed his attentions elsewhere. Autistics should not be raised to believe that they are defective, incapable, or so “disabled” that they cannot achieve greatness. They should be encouraged, appreciated, and understood. If Turing had been diagnosed as during modern times, he may have been told he was disabled and incapable, and World War II may have turned out differently. All autistics are not like Turing. But that does not mean that they should be treated as less than capable or doomed to live on social welfare. To diagnose someone as an autistic, then use that as a label to extinguish all hope is simply wrong. If you tell a person he can never be great, he will believe it. Turing was a great person and should be made a champion for autistics/Aspies. Do not attempt to take that away from the autstic community. Do not assume that autistics are inherently incapable; they are not.

  • Jane

    It is very difficult to diagnose a disorder,particularly when the person in question does not live in the present and all that there is to work with is records of his life.However, the film never explicitly mentions that Turing suffered from Aspergers(which is an ongoing debate), but does give him mannerisms that include criteria for the disorder.However most of these mannerisms are based off the real Alan Turing’s actual behaviours….'s_syndrome

    Above is a link that describes how Turing’s behaviours could(note:COULD not DO) point to him having Aspergers. For instance,somewhere in the link it describes that Turing took everything quite “seriously” and “literally”, which in the film is highlighted by him not being able to understand certain humour,the scene where he misinterprets his colleagues invitation to lunch, or his conversation with Christopher where he states something like “People never say what they’re really mean and you’re expected to understand them ” .

    He was certainly socially impaired and biographies describe a difficulty to work with/control colleagues or peers from when he was a prefect at his public school right up to working on the Enigma code with his colleagues,also shown in the film although probably to a lesser degree.

    An all absorbing narrow interest is one of the criteria that I think he also satisfies.Throughout his school life his teachers noticed that he had no interest in any other subject besides science and algebra and showed minimal effort or interest towards other subjects,almost brushing them aside completely.His room was often completely cluttered with objects belonging to whatever field he was working in .In the film,this all absorbing interest is shown by how obsessively he works on the machine.

    He also had trouble with emotionally expressive language…(as his brother writes: his favourite line in Macbeth was actually stage directions)
    While the film manages to portray his ‘stiff gaze” and “awkward posture” ,it doesn’t portray his speech impairment -high pitched voice,many pauses and his repetitive habits such as always putting the cork back in the bottle and eating an apple every day before bed among others or even his motor impairment .

    To be honest, I think the film did quite a great job of portraying Turing,neither romanticizing him as a homosexual/ romanticizing his relationship with Joan nor diagnosing him completely.The behaviours chosen to be shown in the film can be interpreted as Aspergers or just simply as him being different,socially awkward,not fitting social norms (which, as stated, does not necessarily point to a disorder,just a different way of thinking) it really depends on the conclusions of the person watching, an opinion is not forced on us, making us free to read the character as we please.
    The Real Alan Turing may not even have had Aspergers but the fact remains that he had certain symptoms that pointed in that direction and I think those symptoms chosen to portray in the film were necessary for an accurate portrayal(well,quite accurate compared to other historical films i have seen).I am a bit miffed about the part about the Soviet Spy part, although.It makes him seem like a traitor,but I half understand why they didn’t use the original story of how his homosexuality was uncovered.Still, I suppose it is a little insulting.

  • Glenn Larsson

    The author of this article may want to google the words Autistic Savant.

    Many Aspies are NOT like what the character that Mr Cumberbatch stereotypically portrayed in this movie, some of us have normal lives: we go to our jobs, eat sleep and repeat – and most people will never know that we are on the spectrum. Some people on the spectrum will not be able to tie their own shoes or even go to job interviews, but they are not representative of all Autistics/Aspies.

    Though, it is true that the majority of Aspies will not be Mathematical geniuses, only a few will be interested in mathematics, and will make no bigger contribution to society than a normal neurotypical – but a select few *will*.

    Normal people on the other hand, do not show the same depth and love of a subject as we do, as an example: normal people do not have the tenacity to sit and write code for 18 hours a day because they want to solve a problem that keep nagging them to be solved – unlike them, we can and we do not even do it for the money, even if getting paid to solve problems is a nice side effect.

    I suggest you do some more reading up on the subject because your knowledge about Autism and Aspergers Syndrome is low. Your brother is not representative of people on the Autism spectrum. Neither is Sheldon Cooper or any other flavour of the moment “quirky probably on the spectrum” character.

    I leave you with the knowledge that SOME people on the Autistic spectrum who are in the visual thinkers category, and have a higher detail processing ability than normal people, are now contributing in fields that normal people are unable to keep up with:

    As for what i do to contribute to society, you will be able to read about that in about 70 years.

    Wishing you a happy neurotypical life.
    Glenn Larsson

    IT-Security Analyst
    Swedish Armed Forces

    Diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome since 2011.

  • Suzanne Ennazus

    Maybe because people in the USA need labels, and anybody intellectual is seen as different. Being at school to them as in their many high school films, should only be about stressing over who they will go to the prom with, than academic work.