I know a few people with some experience dealing with people on the autism spectrum (I know, I know: “Gee Rob, doesn’t everyone who knows you have experience dealing with at least one guy on the autism spectrum?” Yer a real fucking comedian, you are), and I’ve heard enough descriptions of missed social cues and inappropriate responses to interpersonal stimuli and the need for rigid routine to think that maybe writer Robert Kirkman intends for Negan to be rocking that kind of diagnosis… although everything I know about autism comes from secondhand anecdotes, Rainman and when people question my motivations.
But at the same time, I know a rotten, cowardly fucking bully when I see one, an I certainly see one in Negan. A big kid in arrested development who realized somewhere along the way that, since there’s no one to put the arm on him for telling racist jokes and flushing drunks heads down the toilet, why the hell not escalate to baseball bats and hot irons? Maybe Negan’s just the kid who wedgied you in junior high who’s stuck in a state of arrested development, taking advantage of the fact that he maybe pinkbellied his first couple of “followers” into line, and the rest followed the pack.
Or maybe Kirkman has some combination of the two in mind; a character who never had the capacity to understand that just because a littler kid didn’t hit you back didn’t mean he was your friend, who thrives in a black-and-white set of simple rules that he suddenly found himself in a position to create on his own (no matter how much sense those rules might make), and whose pre-apocalypse personal obsession was zombie movies which made him better prepared to handle the rise of the walkers while we other social outcasts who were obsessed with, say, comic books, contributed to the rise of the new world order by becoming lunch.
Or maybe I’m completely full of shit, utterly off base, and have no idea what I’m talking about. And even if I am, who gives a damn? I don’t need the DSM-5 to know batshit crazy when I see it, and Negan is crazy. Regardless of his motivations (although clearly, this is the kind of thing that’s on my mind these days), this issue serves to show that, back at the ranch, Negan is at least as dangerous as the Governor, if not more so due to his obvious lack of real care for his people. He needs to die, already… and he has Carl.
This will not end well… and frankly, after six or seven months with this prick, I’m not sure it will end at all.