Not like normal can't spell, but like over-the-top insayne hadd too sownd out eetch lettr and than tipe it evry time couldn't spell.
And he was in a business where text messaging and chatting and doing shit fast was the best way to get things done-so spell check was not an option.
In real life he was an intelligent and articulate sounding person, but on the page his disability (plus a sort of tendency toward oblique hipster code, perhaps developed over time as a defense mechanism around his spelling) made you expect--if you never knew him--that you were about to meet Bennett.
But despite all this trouble living in a wired and therefore text-centric world, he did a fine job of it and did well and convinced many people to do many things via the written word and was eminent in his field.
His secret was: he told you that he couldn't spell. First message he'd go: "Sory I hav a lerning disbility I cant spel, forgive me. Now onto bizness: wear will you be on tha 25th?"
And it worked fine. People didn't assume he was a moron or too lazy or disrespectful to run spell check, they just went, oh he has that thing, let's move on.
So now Asperger's Syndrome.
I don't have it, nor do I know anyone in real life who does (EDIT: now I do). Or knows they do anyway.
What I knew about it before I started D&D blogging comes from Mandy--who is an expert on all physical and mental maladies--and a Fantastic Four comic book.
(For those of you who don't know, the shorty is: Asperger's Syndrome is a kind--maybe range--of subtle autism that makes people think kinda like robots and have a hard time socializing. I hope I got that right, apologizing in advance if I didn't.)
Anyway, I don't know if it is provably true that the D&D community contains way more people with Asperger's than the art world, the porn world, or the literature world but I sure know that my email inbox contained zero references before this blog existed and now it comes up all the time. Anecdotally: I have way more contacts from outside the D&D world than in it but all references I've heard to the syndrome are within that social circle.
So: some people with Asperger's are really cool. They send me stuff, they talk to me about what they're working on and what I'm working on and are usually indistinguishable from everyone else aside from maybe they send longer emails. And they appreciate rigor and precision, which is always nice.
(A few have weird reactions to my art. There is apparently some connection between autism and the perception of detail and a handful of people with autism tend to have an intense-love or panicky-fear reaction to my more elaborate pictures.)
However, once in a while we have a conversation like this:
Them: "(something I don't understand)"
Me: "I don't get it. How does (whatchamajigger) relate to (whosamacallit)?"
Me: "Thanks, I know that already. But I still don't get how blah blah blah"
Them: "(Exact same wall of text)"
Me: "No, I mean I know that, I don't think you're listening, I just...Ok, this might be an Asperger's thing."
Them: "Yeah, probably, skip it."
What's striking about this conversation is that, other than the last two parts, this conversation precisely resembles the beginning of an insane, endless Internet argument.
This is because, this behavior--
"Request for explanation"
"Request for clarification of explanation"
"Exact same explanation again ignoring what you just said"
--is, outside Asperger's, mostly commonly found in:
-People who are hiding something and hoping that if they just keep saying the same thing over and over the other party won't notice (most notably politicians and press agents)
Of course, these email exchanges with people I've met do not result in insane internet arguments because I know the person I'm talking to has Asperger's. Because they said it. So it's cool and whatever.
This is presumably a known fact within the Asperger's community but I'll just reiterate it here: if the person you're talking to (even online) doesn't know you have Asperger's then it is very easy for certain conversational tics to be mistaken for idiocy, bad faith, or trolling.
Now, from what I understand, five things are true:
-Within the Asperger's community, socializing on-line is generally pro-indicated as a way of meeting people and having conversations in a less risky environment
-A lot of people in the RPG community have Aspergers
-A lot of people in the RPG community get into fights over interesting-but-not-important things because one party thinks the other is an idiot, a liar, or trolling
-The local cluster of people around the OSR and DIY D&D communities is a bunch of cool people who will be understanding if you tell them you have Asperger's before getting into any kind of complex rhetorical thing with them and will understand that, despite communications problems, you may be smart, honest and talking in good faith even though it doesn't seem like it at first
Now I don't know what the official therapeutic line on it is (and maybe this is the exact opposite of what you're supposed to do, in which case I apologize now), but I'd just like to ask, on behalf of everyone in DIY D&D: if you do have Asperger's, please go ahead and say that, especially if you sense you're getting involved in any kind of heated conversation. It'll lower the temperature considerably and make things you say easier for the other person to understand and head off trouble.
And if you do that and anybody has a problem with you having AS and gives you any shit about it, they are invited to go fuck themselves. We will back you up 100%.