Tropes Vs Autism: The Bad Guy

Image © Can Stock Photo / indomercy

Beloved and I went to see The Batman for our anniversary and -yes- it was stupid fun. But I still have objections. You might be able to guess what it is based solely on the title of this blog. I’d seen a few snarky things about this iteration of The Riddler on Tumblr, but I decided to judge for myself. And because The Batman is going to make squillions because Batman… I predict a whole new trope to come out of this. Once again – title.

Now I have no objections to an Autistic-coded villain, but it’s the way they did it that chafes my niblets.

When he was a threat, The Riddler was presented as a mastermind smarter than Batman. Dangerously violent and possessing a hair-trigger temper. Typical terrorist stuff, right? No hints that he was Autistic all along.

Now flip it to where he was unmasked.

Doughy white lookalike to a young Bill Gates, he suddenly exhibits all of the ‘worst’ Autism traits three seconds after a cop slams his head into a countertop. It’s only then that it’s revealed that our baddie this time has also had a parasocial relationship with Batman, believing them to have worked together.


Then when he’s institutionalised, we see howling and moaning, the politically incorrect “REEEE!” as favoured by Redit edgelords who think mental disability is funny.

Not great for me, who has a daughter who makes similar noises when she’s on the zoomies.

Very likely not great for a large number of fellow Autistes who may also make those noises. It’s got to be so much fun to have the popular media make you and people like you into a threat. As if Autistes don’t already have enough opposition for just being themselves from all the normies.

Mask On Riddler has online associates who are willing to do mass shootings in his name. Charming. We know that many Autistes couldn’t get people to follow them out an emergency exit if the building was on fire. But now, thanks to this, we’ll get even more people believing Autistes are one bad day away from shooting complete strangers. Thanks, Warner Bros. Thanks, DC. Thanks, Universal. You’ve made so many lives that much more difficult with your choices in representation.

Mask Off Riddler is all alone with no friends and easily falls under the influence of someone we presume to be The Joker. All the Joker had to do was announce he was a friend and then we all get the ominous zoom-out to imply that there’s a more menacing dynamic duo.

Do I need to get into the weeds about how fucking toxic that is?

How all you need to do to get an Autistic minion under your thumb and perhaps be permanently manipulated by any kind of abuser is declare yourself as their friend. Huzzah. Bet you a dollar that there will be thousands more incidents of exactly this happening in the future. Give it a couple of decades before it gets discovered and remember that I freaking called it.

There may even be victim blaming, because that just fucking ADDS to the shit sandwich.

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