This amazing post and its follow-up by Anna at Trouble in China (she is also a contributor here, as you may have noticed) got me thinking. [In the interest of full disclosure, my Shakesville post is in there as an example of the problematic nature of inclusiveness.]
Whenever I mention my personal blog in, say, a contributor’s or artist’s bio, I nearly always include the qualifier “sporadically updated.” Regular readers will know that this is partially my style–the dash of self-deprecation–but it masks something else. Namely: I very rarely have the energy to write a whole blog post, to respond to comments, or, hell, to comment on other blogs with wit and insight. This does not mean that I do not exist. It only means that I, quite simply, don’t always have the mental or physical energy to contribute to a medium that is, by and large, designed in favor of the non-disabled.
Before the inevitable questions of “why don’t you just quit?” arise, I keep and have kept blogging for a very specific reason: I cannot just give up. Certainly, there are better writers out there than me. There are better blogs. I have blog friends who are more articulate, more stylistically clever; some of these folks who blog more, or have more readers. Yet I know that the blogosphere is a bit wicked in that one is only as good as her or his last post (to use a worn cliche). Some of us can crank out quality posts nearly every day. Many of us cannot.
I often cannot keep up with a ‘sphere in which other voices–more able voices–have the luxury of time and actual emotional/physical energy to blog. The conspiracy theorist in me wants to chalk this up to the blogosphere’s–and to a lesser extent, the internet’s–design as yet another space where able-bodied folks can “fit,” and can be “productive” in terms of number and quality of posts. For all the talk of the internet as a utopia where one is free to not be embodied, the same old shit seems to keep coming up, along with the big ol’ Cthuluphant in the room: that the world is designed for able-bodied (and preferably white, straight, middle-class, and male) individuals. Productivity, fitting in, responding quickly: These are things that non-able-bodied folks may not be able to do, whether because of issues of time, energy, ease of access, or many other factors. What happens when one cannot type because of searing pain in her hands, wrists, arms? What happens when one finds that he is too brain-fogged to write a post, much less comment on an existing post that many other people have already commented upon? When one is confined to bed because of nausea or all-over pain that forces her to lie for hours, staring at the ceiling, doing nothing because it’s all too much? What happens is that much-needed voices are not part of the conversation. They are lost, but not because they are not there.
This is shameful. There is no other word for it.
Do I know where to begin in pursuit of a solution? No.
Does anyone? I am not sure. I would like to hope that someone does, but I remain unsure.
We’re here. You just might not know it, yet.
Originally posted at Ham.Blog