That line about the cruelty of nature is from the movie Temple Grandin.
In a world where people are often labeled and categorized, a movie like Temple Grandin is a breath of fresh air, especially since it’s about an actual person.Â Not only did Grandin excel in a male-dominated world, she didn’t let her Austism hold her back.Â Much of this, at the beginning, was due to her mother, who refused to follow a doctor’s orders to have Grandin institutionalized.
Grandin’s mother fought for her, as did some of her teachers–the ones who could get past her “weirdness” and see her brilliant mind.Â The irony is that not only was Grandin not institutionalized, but she went on to college and received several higher degrees.
The movie focuses a lot on how Grandin sees life and makes connections–she thinks in pictures and has a photographic memory.Â A powerful, and humorous, moment in the movie is when one of Grandin’s teachers asks her if she can recall details of even ordinary things like shoes. Â She flashes through a series of mental pictures of all the shoes she’s ever had, the shoes of people she knows, and the shoes of the teacher she’s talking to. Â Then she looks at him and says, “Can’t you do that?”
Much of the movie illustrates how Grandin views the world, and how her unique perspective helped her create humane chutes and slaughterhouses. Â She made the inevitable end of the process of raising beef much more humane. Â As she says, “Nature is cruel, but we don’t have to be.” Â Grandin maintains that cattle are prey animals, bred for consumption, and that we owe them respect because we will eat them. Â And what might really blow some people’s minds is this: in an article in the Wall Street Journal, Bari Weiss points out that Grandin may be the only person who is both a consultant for McDonald’s and an honoree of PETA, who say she’s a “visionary.”
All of this, no matter how amazing, is only part of the picture. Â Grandin has also stepped through a door into another area. Â She now speaks about Autism, and how to help Autistic children. Â Grandin has published several books on the subject, including Emergence: Labeled Autistic and The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger’s.
It seems clear that Temple Grandin is a visionary. Â I hope she continues to excel in her field, and continues to have such a beneficial effect on those who need help understanding Autism.