We’re working on the next episode, but in the mean time, we thought we’d drop a little rant into your inbox. We both picked something from the feeds that annoyed us this week.
The Cough Drop Is Not The Sign You Think It Is
Recently in hard-hitting journalism (lol): TODAY reports on “the cough drop sign”, a “profound” story that’s “going viral”:
Listeners will be familiar with Ed Hallowell, whomst we discussed in episode 5 on the ADHD Boss. His influence in the world of ADHD truly cannot be overstated — the man has reach, and his message is still resonating, considering that an anecdote from a book he co-wrote in 1994 is still getting retweets and write-ups in the news.
Here’s the TLDR: a client told Hallowell that someone left a cough drop on the dashboard of her car, and every day she looked at it and thought about throwing it away, and every day she forgot. This culminates in a breakdown in which the client cries that forgetting the cough drop every day is a metaphor for her entire life. “The cough drop sign” is, thus, a sign of ADHD.
Do I relate to this experience? Yes, daily. Do I think it’s profound? No! Does it make me want to shove an entire bag of cough drops into my mouth until I can no longer scream?? KINDA.
I texted this story to Ayesha with the commentary, “We live in hell” to which she replied:
“The cough drop story is just a human on capitalism.”
In the article, Hallowell explains why people forget the cough drop:
"The cough drop is boring, so we just don't bloody see it," he continued. "We can see it — in other words, it lands in our visual cortex — but we don't comprehend it in the sense of (acting) on it."
And then the article goes on to explain prevalence rates of ADHD and the shame in being chronically forgetful, but I think we need to go back for a second, because they skipped right over a very important point.
The cough drop is boring. That spreadsheet you need to finish at work is boring. That shift behind the cash register is boring. That doctor’s appointment is boring. That class about algebra formulas with no attachment to your daily life is boring. Driving around in a car by yourself is boring. Cleaning your car is boring. Doing laundry is boring. Having to plan and cook all your meals alone is boring.
The mundanity of daily life under capitalism is fucking boring, and beyond boring, it is meaningless. The cough drop has no meaning, so you forget about it. This is not a brain disorder, this is a human reaction to the expectation that we manage and organize and juggle an increasing list of responsibilities and material objects in near-total isolation.
The only thing profound here is the alienation we are all forced to experience under capitalism, and the way that individualized diagnoses are being used as the smoke and mirrors to keep us from getting angry about it.
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Stop Glorifying The Neurodivergent Grind
This is a post that was making the rounds on IG — among a slew of many posts, articles and blogs we’ve seen recently along the same lines: “X type of neurodivergence/disability/mental illness has not stopped me from being successfully exploited, commodified and objectified by capitalism! Yay! #blessed #grateful”
Capitalism finds a way to co-opt everything and make it profitable. We’re sold oppression as freedom as we attach our worth to successful conformity and assimilation within the empire. In fact, it is a societal norm to celebrate success, which can look like people getting the job of their ‘dreams’ or climbing the ladder or winning some promotion or accolade at the expense of others.
We pat each other on the back for being an obedient, productive, self-optimizing worker and decorate ourselves so we can give off the illusion of perfection on our curated CVs, Linkedin resumes and social media profiles. We’re covertly coerced since birth to shape ourselves with the values of the empire and grow up to willingly self-exploit, self-optimize and self-pathologize so we can be perceived as thriving and successful.
4 jobs?????? FOUR JOBS? This is just heartbreaking and devastating to see. Just like it pains me to see people fight to be perceived as diseased and defective because of their broken body or innate biological disorder that manifests in a vacuum rather than trace the root cause to a society that disables us. It’s sad because any marginalized identity can be brought into the fold of the empire this way.
We’ve all aspired to climb the ladder and glorified our pain, adversity and suffering. “I was able to get a degree and a job despite all these systemic obstacles!”
We’ve all fallen for the “hard work is all that matters” bootstrap BS at some point. We write diversity essays reducing our community’s oppression to a good story.
“Look at all this violence my people experienced under the empire! But aha! That never stopped me from rising above and entering the heart of the empire. I am strong, unlike those people who just didn’t work hard enough.” It’s truly fucking sad.
4 JOBS???!!! You shouldn’t have had to ever earn the right to live. This isn’t an achievement, it’s an example of how oppression and individualism operates; we are primed to focus and chase personal “success” so much so that we ignore the systems killing us. Abolition is the only way.
Oppressive systems don’t just use overt violence to secure our compliance, they have to find a way to suppress rebellion while extracting the most out of everyone. Capitalism waits for an opportunity to see how it can co-opt an identity, a social justice cause, a movement, or our altruism to ensure it can exquisitely extract from anyone.
These are a couple of comments from the post — I very frequently see these everywhere. They capture a very important point. The DOD is the Department of Defense of the United States — the embodiment of the empire, imperialism and neocolonialism, and the comments are accurate in that it is a hot spot for “neurodivergent recruits”, as is the Army, Navy, Airforce, and this is true for all colonial countries from the U.S. to Canada, Australia, NZ, Europe etc.
Fortune 500 companies now have corporate “Heads of Neurodiversity” who are tasked with finding unique ways to exploit and extract from folks that diverge from norms to get them back into the norm. This is all true, but the terrifying thing is, people don’t see history repeat itself. We’ve been taught to be grateful for the crumbs thrown at us so people are enamored by any attention from authority. I wrote a little about this before:
Just to re-emphasize: We deserve the right to live without having to do anything. We deserve to put in love and care into sustaining our own communities without a state exploiting us. This empire will fall. They all fall. Fear is never sustainable but love is.
No one is built to thrive under capitalism. No one is built to conform, obey, assimilate and be willingly coerced, but capitalism creates hierarchies to divide and conquer. No one is built for oppression or exploitation more than anyone else. No one should sell their body for the right to live. Period. We broke this all down on Episode 5:
This isn’t unique to people who identify as neurodivergent. Capitalism deploys the same tactics to exploit all marginalized identities and people uncritically engage with it, fawning over the approval of authority figures. Same sh*t, different identity. Same co-optation and woke-washing of our communities’ suffering for profit.
good shit right there, loved it
Thank you. You are the fuel to my fire of hope! 💋