I’m going to diverge a little from this week’s blog options to discuss how Bagg’s video “In My Language” helped my reading of Bartleby and Rio’s “The Back of My Own Head in a Crowd.” We have discussed in these couple of weeks the process of “othering” and the problems it causes in society and how we perceive those around us who can be considered as “other.” Bartleby was placed in this category as soon as we were introduced to him by the speaker, who made the point to say “[he] waive[s] the biographies of all other scriveners for a few passages in the life of Bartleby, who was a scrivener the strangest I ever saw or heard of.” The reader is already given information that there is something peculiar and strange about him and his strangeness will be described to us by the speaker. After the video we saw last week where Amanda Baggs’ discussed how she communicates with her environment through her own language I wasn’t so inclined to think Bartleby was as strange as everyone around him was. For example there were numerous times in the short story where the author made it a point to acknowledge Bartleby’s actions, “his steadiness, his freedom from all dissipation, his incessant industry (except when he chose to throw himself into a standing revery behind his screen), his great stillness, his unalterableness of demeanor under all circumstances, made him a valuable acquisition.” (line 84-87) I related his “incessant industry” and “stillness” to the way Baggs communicated with her environment, the motions she made with her body, how she would stand still and look outside her window. I can’t say for a fact that Bartleby had the same form of communication with his environment but Baggs’s form of communication resonated with me and made me question how I perceive the world.  There could honestly be a spectrum for anything because there are so many people that perceive, feel, and act very differently from one another. Bartleby acted differently because his mode of communication was different but different shouldn’t mean strange. Murray also mentioned Baggs’ video and its “discussion of a wider autistic self hood, especially the ways in which that self is judged by others.” Bartleby was judged by his coworkers, then the strangers that moved into the building, and even at the end by the prisoner. Bartleby never preferred to change his self hood to satisfy the needs of others, even if he was judged until his death for it.

“The Back of My Own Head in a Crowd” reminded me of Bagg’s video because of all the sensory details and information that was digested by the speaker. Everything she touched aroused not only a physical feeling but also an emotional one. The speaker also reflects a crucial part of Baggs’ video that Murray presents, where Baggs becomes the “subject of her wider political statement. . . It is her own pleasures, preferences, and modes of communication that become the source of her articulation of what autistic subjectivity might be” (34). The speaker in the short story  mentions that because she has “been in so much of this kitchen, so much of it as well is in me. I feel the heat of the toaster, and the sticky sting of the ice” (61). The environment that surrounds her has transformed to become a part of her. She did not transform her self hood to fit the commodities of the outside world, similar to Bartleby’s preference to not do as society expected of him.