I’ve been reading “The Enigma” by Andrew Hodges, a book about Alan Turning on which “The Imitation Game” a film coming out this fall, is based. I’m used to flying through books breakneck speed and finishing them in a day or two. The Enigma is taking me quite some time. Its a book you need to chew, to think over, and requires full attention. One chapter is taking me two hours, and I’m loving it, but it’s taking awhile because I do not have large swaths of uninterrupted time most of my days.
I’m only a few chapters in and at this point, it is well before, biography wise, Turing accomplished what he should have always been famous for, and now finally is recognized for, breaking the German enigma code during WW2 and saving countless lives.
Now, this far in I can tell you, I’m in love with this character. He’s definitely different. With so much detail provided it is difficult not to notice how different. Back then people like Alan were considered eccentric with no specific labels thrown around. Alan was never diagnosed with anything, so we CANNOT know if he were diagnosed with anything today, what that would be. I DO see parallels to my son Aidan in terms of enormous strengths coupled with immense challenges, and rather unhappy parallels to my dead brother, which, is really throwing me off, mood wise.
It was perhaps a bad idea to pick up a book about a brilliant, different, ultimately suicidal genius. I’m going to finish it anyway.
Seeing difference, atypical behavior, and some parallels is where I stop, I do not make assumptions.
It’s impossible to diagnose the dead.
Now about that film.
It just debuted at Telluride Film Festival to rave reviews, and personally, if its anything like the book, I understand why. The film’s central message is what the book in the end is driving home = that its ok to be different. I love that, I’m all for that. It’s something I want my kids to grow up knowing. Benedict Cumberbatch has a knack for playing “different” so I can’t wait to see what he does with it.
I started to wonder, reading the reviews, when the first references to Turing and aspergers would begin being thrown around. Our label happy culture chooses to label often based on unfair judgement of behavior and stereotype.
Not two minutes later on Variety’s review
“and its central conception of Turing as an Aspergian outcast who makes up in haughty, condescending attitude what he lacks in basic social graces. “
and so it begins.