Technically bromantic: The autistic as a "Noble savant" in a homoerotic, post-modern pairing
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Inspired by the work of Leslie Fiedler - specifically his controversial essay "Come Back to the Raft Ag'in Huck, Honey!" (1948) - this analysis is intended as an examination of the archetype of homoerotic or "bromantic" love as represented by the cinematic coupling of an alpha male protagonist and an autistic savant in a post-modern, technological age. The analysis will situate Fiedler's essay as a theoretical foundation for a discussion of contemporary literary and cinematic couplings in American popular culture of a neurotypical protagonist with what is essentially an undiagnosed "Aspie" or autistic savant. Thematically, Fiedler's observations about the unsubtle but often overlooked archetype of interracial male pairings as articulated in "Come Back to the Raft..." run in nearly perfect parallel with an observed dynamic between autistic savants and neurotypicals (NT), with "neurotypical" defined for purposes of this examination as a socially adept individual who does not present characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or of any other major diagnosable emotional, psychological, or neurological condition. Interestingly but perhaps not unexpectedly, the elements of male homoerotic love, female exclusion, and interraciality that Fiedler unpacks in the American 19th century literary canon appear to have a modern manifestation in popular representations of ASD. The elements of masculinity, male bonding, misogyny, and the love-hate nature of miscegenation that Fiedler explores in the unions of Jim and Huck from Huckleberry Finn, Ishmael and Queequeg from Moby Dick, and Natty Bummpo and Chingachgook from the Leatherstocking Tales are present in the three pairings of "Kirk" and "Spock" (Star Trek), "Troy Barnes" and "Abed Nadir" (Community), and "Leonard Hofstadter" and "Sheldon Cooper" (Big Bang Theory). These modern manifestations will serve as illustrative examples in an examination of the way that the role of the Noble Savage has transformed in a technological age into what I have dubbed a "Noble Savant," an autistic, super-powered human-computer hybrid who completes a post-modern bromantic pairing or, what Fiedler refers to as "the last believed-in stronghold of love without passion."