Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tammet was on Aussie radio today

I missed the radio interview broadcast this morning with Daniel Tammet on Life Matters, on the promotional trail for his latest book. Just a few months ago I would have been tuned in, but as a part of my early spring-clean, I've reset the tuning of my old radio to Triple J from Radio National. It hasn't been much of a talk radio station in the mornings since Ramona Koval left, and when they put the deplorable Wendy Harmer on that was just the last straw. They've dumbed-down at the ABC, and I'm not joining 'em.

P.S. I've played the interview through a few times, but have been unable to focus all the way through it. I don't think Mr Tammet says anything much about maths that isn't simple or obvious, and I couldn't detect a shred of skepticism on the part of the interviewer, Natasha Mitchell. This dribble is chewing gum for the intellect. Tammet's constant mispronounciation comes across more as sloppiness than a genuine speech impediment. Does anyone think this is how autistic people typically speak? Replacing "L" sounds with "W" sounds? Mixing up consonants? In print and on the radio, I find Mr Tammet highly therapeutic, as a cure for insomnia.


Anonymous said...

Tammet's speech doesn't sound so unusual to my English ear. R's and L's that sound like W's are fairly common here.

Laura said...

Well I did mispronounce my L's and R's as W's when I was a young child, but this was corrected by speech therapy at age 6. I don't recall Tammet ever faking a speech impediment in the past. Wonder why he'd choose to start doing that now if he wants people to keep buying his savant story.

Lili Marlene said...

Many genuine savants can't even speak at all, but Tammet communicates with skill in speech and in print, and there's nothing in his personal behaviour or manner in media interviews that looks very different or autistic, so I imagine faking a faux-childish speech impediment might be a thing that he'd try to present a flaw in his presentation. He has always presented as softly-spoken, in interviews, but it would be interesting to look at old interviews to see if the speech impediment is consistent in time.

Contrast his soft speaking with a more credible case of autism such as Temple Grandin, the human fog-horn. If Tammet had a characteristically too-loud voice and typically and involuntarily spoke in rambling rants I would find him much more believeable as an autist, but if he spoke like that the whole world would come to hate him in a moment, and no one would want to buy his books, except perhaps the type of person who likes red-neck talk-back radio.