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Jim Walter, the man, the legend, the bigot?

500fullPLEASE STOP TROLLING MY BLOG. It makes me feel dirty.  You know who you are.

 

I have a wonderful group of autism-blogger friends. This group started in the comments sections of each others blogs, brought together by Adventure In Extreme Parenthood’s Special Needs Ryan Gosling Meme. Through the blogs and then on facebook, I found people who really know what I’m going through. They understand my love of writing, they get autism. This is a group made up of parents of autistic children, many having autism themselves. These people have not only become some of my closest friends, they’ve become family. Especially Jill Smo and Flannery. I love eating cake with them.

It’s funny. I did Facebook’s ‘year in review’ thing. It basically crawled through all of my posts and then did a timeline of the best parts of the year. I made 458 Facebook friends last year, most through this blog. Of the 458, the ONE AND ONLY was highlighted in all of it was Jim Walter. I even posted that and made a dig at him about it. And he dug back. There was banter, as there usually is with Jim.  It’s always good for a laugh. On the surface, it might very much look like a brother/sister fight between the two of us, and it’s not too far off. I feel like Jim has very much become like a brother to me in this autism family. If someone took our conversations literally, you might think that Jim had a sick fetish with my teeth, or that we were being mean to each other. Good thing no one takes us literally, right?

Well. Not so much.  In a conversation in a closed Facebook group, Jim said something he didn’t mean literally. He was kidding around, as he usually does. The other person in that thread, a prominent autistic blogger, wrote a post about Jim calling him several terrible things.  AND THEN WENT IN AND EDITED HIS POST SO THAT IT NO LONGER SAID THE THINGS IT HAD ORIGINALLY SAID.  IT’S WHAT THIS GUY DOES. HE CHANGES THINGS TO FIT HIS NARRATIVE. HE’S COMPLETELY OFF HIS ROCKER. HE KEEPS COMING BACK TO THIS POST. HE’S BEEN HERE SEVEN TIMES IN THE LAST TWO HOURS! I WROTE THIS POST MONTHS AND MONTHS AGO. IT’S FUNNY, THIS IS THE GUY THAT SAYING THAT I WANT TO BE THE CENTER OF HIS UNIVERSE…YET HE KEEPS COMING BACK HERE. HE’S THE ONE WRITING POSTS ABOUT ME. HE’S THE ONE THAT COMPLETELY MADE SHIT UP IN A POST. IT’S REALLY QUITE SICK. AND THE WORST PART? HIS FOLLOWERS THINK HE’S THIS GREAT GUY. YOU DON’T EVER SEE A COMMENT THAT SAYS “UHM, I KNOW BOTH SIDES OF THIS STORY AND YOU WERE A BIG BULLY HERE” YOU WANT TO KNOW WHY? BECAUSE HE DELETES ANYTHING THAT DOESN’T SHINE A POSITIVE LIGHT ON HIM. HE SPENDS HOURS AND HOURS A DAY TROLLING PEOPLE THROUGH MESSAGES ON FACEBOOK. HE REALLY IS A SAD, SCREWED UP LITTLE MAN.

IMG_2783I really like this picture of me. I think I look very nice in the glow of the Christmas Tree. That’s all.

And I wanted to. I did. But I could not. That’s why I have my own blog. That’s why I’m here. Jim is too good to too many people to let me sit passively by as someone defames him in such a way.  This was a misunderstanding. Jim apologized. The blogger accepted the apology, but kept the post up, and has allowed for the anti-jim dialog to continue in the comments by people who don’t even know Jim.

So let me tell you more about Jim.

Ask anyone who REALLY knows Jim if they think he’s a bigot. If they think he’s mean. They’ll laugh at you. Jim is nothing of the sort. He’s helped me to get through some rough times. He’s helped me to have more confidence in my writing. He’s helped me to understand my son’s autism better, and was instrumental in my coming to a place of peace- and even excitement and love- for my son’s autism.  The LAST thing Jim is is bigoted- towards people with autism, towards anyone.  Last month, I met a man whose own daughter had just been diagnosed with autism. He looked shell shocked. His situation was so similar to Jim’s that I sent Jim a quick message on facebook asking if I could share his info with this guy.  Jim jumped at the opportunity to help someone out. He always does.

I joked about the day Jim and I became friends coming up as the highlights of last year, but it really was. I’m lucky to have him. The autism community is lucky to have him. If you are too, PLEASE, tell us why in the comments, or even go post it on his Facebook wall.

47 thoughts on “Jim Walter, the man, the legend, the bigot?

  1. Jim is truly a wonderful guy. I have watched him be nothing but respectful and thoughtful to so many different points of view. He’s also a smart ass. But he’s not a bigot. No way. Those of use who know him are lucky to have him as our ally.

  2. Jim is one of the most stand-up fathers I know in the autism community with his snarky, sarcastic sense of humor and his ability to make everyone laugh. I can honestly say the only person I have ever seen him offend mercilessly is himself.

  3. I really only met Jim recently but he offered to think about a t-shirt design I’ve been wanting to make. No other person I’ve only just recently met has offered to to that for me. Clearly Jim is superior to most people I meet. (Also he really seems like a hell of a nice guy and a lot of people I really respect seem to like him so that counts for something.)

  4. Jim may be many things but bigoted? Never. Mean? No way. Weird-well maybe. Even my kid likes Jim and she hates everybody. So there.

  5. Oh, Lexi, you rock! I love you so much and Jim both. I think he’s hilariously funny, but also very supportive, perceptive and kind. It really bothers me that he has been attacked this way because I know he never meant to hurt anyone.

  6. Jim’s a rockstar AND one of my very favorite people online. Like to say I knew him when back in the day through our mutual friend Jill Smo. Even gave the bastard an award for supporting my blog.
    Come to think of it… He doesn’t visit much lately..

  7. Jim is one of the good guys. There are plenty of people out there that deserve to be targeted for being cruel or mean-spirited, he’s simply not one of them. What he does deserve is recognition for his great blog, and for clearly being such an awesome family-man. Such a shame to see him unfairly treated in this way.

  8. Jim is weird, sarcastic, bizarre, kind, warm, funny, smart, and the polar opposite of a bigot. He’s a devoted father, a loyal husband, and an excellent friend.
    Calling someone out by name on a public page because of a private misunderstanding is just wrong.

  9. I can think of a LOT of adjectives to describe Jim – some of them are words that would shame my mother were I to utter them. But, “bigot” or “mean”? Not a flippin’ chance. Jim was one of the very first promoters of my fledgling blog, and I didn’t ask him to do that for me. He just did. And, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve gone to another blog to read and comment only to find that Jim has already been there and left words of encouragement (often with his trademark snark).

    All of us who share our words on the Internet know we are exposing ourselves to criticism, disagreement and even scorn. But, public shaming? I can think of precious few situations when that would be warranted, and Jim isn’t anywhere near any of them. He’s the guy I want on my side in a street fight. He’s the guy I want on my kickball team. He’s the guy I defend without reservation – not because he *needs* defending, but because he *deserves* it. Because he’s *worth* it.

  10. You know, I wasn’t there for the thread that started this fire. I’m not sure exactly what Jim said. Could he have said something mean? Sure. I have said mean things. We all have. So I won’t defend him in that regard, because I can’t do so without the benefit of having been present for the exchange.

    I also cannot say that Jim has excellent oral hygiene, because I have also not been present to witness his oral hygiene habits.

    But what I can say is that even if he is snarky, even if he is sometimes annoying, even if I want to smack him sometimes, even if his oral hygiene is questionable, I would never be comfortable proclaiming publicly that he IS A BAD PERSON.

    Because that implies so many things…a premeditated plan to willfully hurt others, to conduct oneself without a moral compass, to repeatedly attack and slander others. I have also not witnessed those things. So to make that kind of leap is inconceivably egregious.

    Jim knows where I stand. Now get me a fuckin’ chair.

  11. Jim has never been anything but supportive of the entire autism blogging community. There is certainly reason for people to get frustrated with each other, to debate, and to disagree. But Jim is a good guy. If we are ever going to bridge the perceived gap between autistics and NT parents of autistic kids, he’s the kind of guy who can do it. Picking on him for some perceived injustice that doesn’t actually exist is misguided.

    It seems to me that if a group wants to convince the world at large of their opinion, regardless of the issue, alienating large groups of potential allies is not the best way to do it.

  12. I haven’t known Jim long, but I can say this: He is not a bigot. I think that deserves to be said twice. He is not a bigot. Period. End of story. And at the end of the day, when all is said and done, I’m proud to say Jim is one of my friends.

  13. There must be a terrible misunderstanding if ‘bigot’ is the label being applied to Jim– “a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group with hatred and intolerance”

    I’ve never met him in person, but yet I can say that I know him, and I feel honored to know him. It makes me terribly sad that total strangers who have never gotten to know him through his words might completely misjudge him.

    The worst I could ever say about Jim Walter is that he’s irreverent, opinionated, and outspoken but there is nothing in his character even remotely approaching hatred or intolerance.

    Behind his humor is a great intelligence, kindness and respect for his topics; I pray that in time his prompt apology and repair attempt can soften and comfort those who he has hurt, and that eventually they may all be reconciled. If not as close friends, then allies. If not as allies, then mutual respecters.

    Reparation is really all we can ask of people when they mess up, even if we can’t find it in our hearts to forgive.

  14. I think Jim is awesome. His sense of humour is dark and sarcastic most of the time, and he has made me laugh when I was ready to give up and cry. He is part of the group that has kept me sane(ish) through a difficult year. I share his sense of humour, and I know sometimes people don’t get it, or are shocked or offended by the conversations on Facebook, but it really is all in fun. This whole situation sucks. Jim has been a gentleman about all of this. Yeah, he may occasionally say things without thinking, but most of us don’t take it personally, and if anyone calls him on it, he apologizes. Sincerely. As he did this time. He did not mean to offend, but has been accused of being bigoted and insensitive. Frankly, I think he was the better person in all this. The personal attacks have all come from the other person. And while I admire and appreciate that person’s blog, and I get that his autism gives him a certain perspective in this, it is not a good enough excuse for his behaviour. This argument did not need to be taken public.

  15. In my opinion that person owes Jim an apology. Being misrepresented is awful enough, but when others pile on, who do not know Jim, to support the author of the ‘bigot’ piece, it’s just so bloody unfair.

    Good on you for writing this Lexi. You are a wonderful friend.

  16. It’s laughable the idea that Jim Walter is mean and bigoted. Jim is ALWAYS the guy using kindness and his oddball humor to try to keep the calm among diverse people in the autism blogosphere. The problem here was that the blogger obviously didn’t understand Jim’s sense of humor. But, rather than ask Jim privately what he meant, he decided to take him to task. Which still would have been alright had he done it in the group. But the blogger broke all the rules commonly accepted by social media. You don’t join a group and then air its private discussions on your blog. To publicly attack Jim by partially quoting from a thread that his readers cannot see is dishonest. Without seeing Jim’s comments in the context in which they were written, it is impossible for anyone to make a fair judgment. I’m not only displeased with this blogger, I’m also disheartened by his readers’ rush to judgment. Having been privy to the thread the blogger’s readers cannot see, I can assure you that this was nothing more than an internet bully using his large following to attack a good guy whose comments he simply misunderstood. Shame on him.

  17. Let me first start off by stating I have Aspergers. It does not make my life any easier. I have a hard time with people, understanding content, intent and what they mean 99% of the time. Having Aspergers means I have to work harder to understand what another person means. What was their intent? Did they mean harm? Didn’t they??? A lot of the times I don’t know. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I will never know. What I do know is that this should never have happened. Calling out a parent out in a public forum is never OK. It does nothing but draw sides further apart. And I know Jim. He can be funny, witty and sometimes yes, even out of line. But….but, he will be the first to admit when he is wrong and apologize. And for that he shows who he really is.

  18. Jim is one of the good guys. Scratch that. Jim is one of the GREAT GUYS. Is he irreverent, snarky, slapstick, ironic? Absolutely. Four of the reasons why I love him. More importantly, however, he is a true friend, support system and knowledge base all rolled into one.

    Jim rocks. Don’t mess with the Jim. He is one of us. And we don’t standby and watch one of ours get messed with. ❤

  19. One of the true highlights of last year for me was connecting with an amazing group of autism-blogger friends. When I started my blog about 4 months ago, Jim was one of the first people I connected with. With my first few posts, I’d always wonder if anyone would read them. Jim did. And he’d leave a little comment – an encouraging word, a suggestion or question. How he has time for his family, a job, his writing and still to offer so much support to his friends and encouragement to fledgling bloggers is beyond me. I don’t know Jim well. But from all I’ve seen he is a terrific dad, dedicated family-man, and supportive friend. His humor has brought a smile to my face on some of the roughest of days. Sarcastic and snarky? Yes. Human with all the imperfections that come with that? Sure… but aren’t we all. Jim, I’m glad our paths have crossed.

  20. I’m only new to Jims blog and I love it. And I’m pretty sure I read somewhere bigots don’t brush their teeth so Jim definately can’t be one!!!

  21. I only know Jim via FB, but the very idea of him being “mean” or “bigoted” is laughable. And he isn’t the one posting angry rants and calling others names. Or being a bully. I never read the other blogger before, but I read his post about Jim (and saw him sic his followers on Flappiness Is), and I’m more than happy to stop there.

  22. I echo what everyone here has said. Jim’s humor reminds me of my husband’s and it’s probably why I like him so much. I’m glad you wrote this Lexi. Thank you for sharing publicly what so many of us know.

  23. Dawwww! I don’t know Jim personally, but I read his comments on friend’s posts on Facebook and he’s one hell of a funny guy. Also, I caught his comment to Target on Facebook that went viral. I CRIED when I read it. As an employee of the big box store at the time, it really made me proud to say I worked there.

  24. I am so happy that I crossed paths with Jim. He is often the little bit of laughter in my day. Humor and sarcasm are also close friends of mine. I think that’s what attracts me to Jim. Jim did you know I’m attracted to you? Apparently, I’m not the only one. Nothing that was said or done was out of the spirit of being mean. When you go for the comedy…there is always the chance that someone will take it wrong. Don’t let that deter you. If the good in your life far outweighs the bad …you are a success. Hugs and love Jim! Thank you Lexy for this Jim love fest. And Jim …stop kicking my ass in Words with Friends!

  25. Lexi was kind enough to the other person in question not to mention who it was – if you know, you also know that these nasty things that are being said of Jim, are typical of this person and how he speaks about many people. He (the name-caller) does have a lot to offer the community, but sadly he is so vicious and hostile and at the heart of it, a hypocrite, it makes it impossible to really benefit from his insight because it’s just too hard to follow or interact with him. Unless you are willing to prostrate yourself in abject subordination to his every word, regardless of whether or not he is right or being hateful to others, you are the enemy, and Jim (unfortunately) is just the latest in a long line of people – good people – that this has happened to.

    I am glad you posted this in support, but I am also so tired of this crap, it’s why I stopped blogging. 😦

    ps. ❤ Jim and his oral hygiene, even if I don't know him that well.

  26. Lexi, thank you so much for writing this. Jim IS one of the great ones, as many of the other comments above say. He is witty and sarcastic and approachable and heartfelt. He is often the first person to respond when someone is having a difficult day, and usually makes a comment that makes you spit your coffee out at your computer and realize things are going to be OK. He is absolutely, positively NOT a bigot and I’m incredibly proud to be his friend.

  27. Ugh. I didn’t know about this. Jim is an absolute sweetheart with a heart of cold.

    I get sick of this community turning against each other. Ninety-nine percent of the peeps are great 99% of the time. People need to learn to chill the one one percent of the time.

  28. I have the pleasure of calling Jim a friend, and it is a pleasure. He’s a funny, caring and interesting guy with a good heart, who speaks his mind and often puts his foot in his mouth but is genuinely remorseful if he has inadvertently offended. And because I’m not a fool I make a point of only being friends with people I respect and who respect me back. The fact that I’m autistic has never been a source of anything but interest and support in our friendship. Pfft, Jim Walter is no bigot.

  29. Thank you Lexi! I am not always a fan of the whole social media thing! Like someone else posted…99% of the time it is really good, and really supportive. I have been constantly overwhelmed by the relationships that were created out of this blogging world from people that we have never met. Jim had given me a heads up on this whole situation, but I did not realize the intenisty until Lexi approached me. I have many thoughts and feeling inside of me, and not sure how to respond. After reading all of your comments of support it is very clear that you all really do know my husband. He is absolutely snarky, sarcastic, opinionated, a pain in the ass at times…but he is equally all the good stuff as well. He is a great husband, fantastic father, and a passionate writer for what he believes in. It was great to see how many people that Jim has become friends with and has impacted in such a positive way. I have said many times…when you meet my husband you will either love him or hate him. I am glad to see that more of you love him as I do!! I look forward to reading more of your blogs and stories and moving beyond this and letting it go!

  30. Obviously, there’s been a breakdown in communication between two similar but distinct interest groups. Both men seem like caring, wonderful guys. If Autistics have problems with sarcasm and NT’s feel they’re being targeted for just being themselves then maybe another means of communicating should be chosen. That way both groups can work together to do some good for everyone concerned. I think it can happen.

  31. The only thing bad I can say about Jim is that he roots for all the wrong sports teams. It’s just awful, I tell you. Completely and totally wrong. Ugh.

    I wish my son’s father knew 1/20th of what Jim knows about autism.

    I will say no more because I fear all this admiration will probably go to the man’s head. . .if it’s not too late for that already.

  32. Ugh. Just read the post and thread you are talking about. Wow.

    His fans ate that little fable up pretty greedily, considering the dude didn’t even offer a stitch of proof that the so-called exchange happened somewhere other than his imagination.

    It’s funny how he used to bag on people and “name names to keep himself honest”, but now he just hurls complete bullshit over the wall to see what sticks, and deletes anything in his history that comes back to bite him.

    Landon seriously needs to grow the fuck up. He is a sad, sad self-delusional imitation of integrity, who needs to write a 20 page paper on ethics in journalism, fold it in half 10 times, and then shove it all the way up his asshole…what a fucking piece of high-maintenance work.

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