Dan Bull captures what many autistics feel in lyrical form
May 3, 2013 10:12 PM   Subscribe

Many autistics have trouble putting what they feel into words: Not Dan Bull. He puts it into words, sets it to music and raps it.

First featured on Metafilter in 2010, Dan Bull rose to internet fame when he released a song based on Skyrim, set over footage from the trailer.

Since then he has released a number of raps along the same lines, including Mass Effect, Halo, Dishonoured, Assassin's Creed, Bioshock, Boarderlands,
Starcraft, Fallout and many others. Notable is his Tomb Raider rap, that he performed in conjunction with a cosplayer, and then played on fan expectations by adding a Hawkeye Initiative twist.

In addition to gaming Dan has put out videos on political issues and original material not based on games.

Oh yes, and of course the obligatory to his rather enthusiastic Wikipedia page.
posted by Canageek (21 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Alright, now that I've done the official post I'd like to note two things: The first is that I have Asperger's syndrome and while I don't feel exactly as he describes anymore, a lot of it very accurately describes how I felt when I was younger, particularly around crowds. Some still applies too; the feelings of isolation and the world being a stage I never auditioned for are very familiar.

Secondly, we all talk about how terrible YouTube comments are, but I'd like to note that all of his Autism vids (including the original version of Portrait of an Autist that I shamefully missed until writing this FPP) all have far, orders of magnitude more upvotes then downvotes. Thank you internet, I feel better amount humanity now.
posted by Canageek at 10:18 PM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

Is using "autistic" as a noun okay? It strikes me as being like referring to "a black".
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:32 PM on May 3, 2013

Pope Guilty: I've heard a number of people on the spectrum use the term, so I think it is ok as long as it isn't used as a pejorative.
posted by Canageek at 10:35 PM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

I can't find it at the moment, but Tanni Grey-Thompson made the point on Twitter a while ago about saying "disabled people" and not 'the disabled". i.e. she's a person who happens to have a disability rather than being defined solely by that.

The faxt that you've heard autistic people use it does not, to my mind, make it fine: my nephew has autism, but he's my nephew, he's not an autistic ...
posted by lucullus at 11:14 PM on May 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

Mod note: Comment and some responses removed: please do not derail this thread right out of the gate, thank you.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 11:42 PM on May 3, 2013

Language and labels applied to disabled people is a complex issue. (I'm not autistic, but I am disabled; many of these discussions pop up across various disability communities. Some of those conversations I've participated in as a stakeholder; others, like around autism, I've observed as an ally.) I have to disagree with lucullus; lots of autistic people use autistic as a noun; their identity, their choice.

Which is not to say that all autistic people feel this way; different people have different opinions about the labels they want applied to them. That's okay! What's not okay is people nay-saying the label that someone else has chosen for themselves.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 11:48 PM on May 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

Good stuff - I loved the line about his brain playing 'a syncopated change of pace to your rhythm'.

saying "disabled people" and not 'the disabled"

That's called people-first language, lucullus - it's a bit controversial, because some folk see their disability as part of their identity (eg Deaf people, where a disability is bound up with language, culture).
posted by jack_mo at 11:53 PM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

Wow, he's really talented, both in terms of lyrics and delivery. I'm also totally digging his gaming raps (at least for the games I've played). Thank for this!
posted by treepour at 11:57 PM on May 3, 2013

jack_mo: That would explain a lot; There is a strong movement within the AS community to own the spectrum, as it does have upsides, and to view it as something different, not something lesser.

treepour: Thank you very much. You and jack_mo are the first people to actually comment on the music, for which I think you.
posted by Canageek at 12:04 AM on May 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is great stuff. Thanks, Canageek.
posted by koeselitz at 12:24 AM on May 4, 2013

koeselitz: You are very welcome.
posted by Canageek at 12:30 AM on May 4, 2013

I've always loved the Lily Allen dis track.

posted by jaduncan at 12:55 AM on May 4, 2013

Note to editors: the Wiki entry will hurt your brain.
posted by elsietheeel at 6:06 AM on May 4, 2013

Yes indeed. But, previously.
posted by c10h12n2 at 6:57 AM on May 4, 2013

For those who may be interested in the "autistic" v. "person with autism" debate, there is an excellent summary of the issue here. Written by an autistic woman who prefers "autistic", it also provides links to voices on all sides of the debate.
posted by Daily Alice at 6:58 AM on May 4, 2013 [3 favorites]

elsietheeel: You should see the section I out and out deleted before linking to it. Apparently there is a religion horsewhipping Dan Bull.
posted by Canageek at 10:00 AM on May 4, 2013

As a parent of a daughter with autism, , I like seeing music, writing, and videos giving various perspectives on the neuroatypical experience. This young man is talented (even though I don't get the gaming videos, as a non-gamer). Thanks for the links.
posted by notashroom at 10:59 AM on May 4, 2013

Notashroom: You are very welcome.
posted by Canageek at 6:16 PM on May 4, 2013

Hey this is Dan Bull. Thanks for making this article. If anyone has any questions they'd like to me to answer, post them up and I will do my best to answer for you.
posted by ItsDanBull at 10:58 AM on May 7, 2013 [3 favorites]

How are things going for you commercially, Dan? I'm really curious how the whole free downloads and tip jar/paid downloads thing is working out.
posted by jaduncan at 7:19 AM on May 8, 2013

Thanks for dropping by Dan!
posted by Canageek at 7:23 PM on May 12, 2013

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