Recommended Reading for November 18

Should Disabled Characters Only Be Played By Disabled Actors?

I honestly think this is a difficult call. On the one hand the whole point of acting is to take on a personality of someone that isn’t you, hence the point of having straight actors play characters who are gay and vice versa. But there seems to be a catch 22 when it comes to actors who have disabilities. Blind actors are only allowed to play blind characters, which begs the question are they really acting? Obviously they’re not playing themselves, the character likely has personality differences, but why should they be restricted to roles where the audience knows they’re blind? This restriction says to me that directors can’t conceive a blind character playing someone who is sighted and so they don’t allow it, but really they are only restricting the number of roles that blind actors can audition for. So in that case maybe we should be upset that Helen Keller isn’t being played by a young actress who is deaf and/or blind.

The Intel Reader Photographs Text and reads it back to you

Intel’s Reader for the visually impaired isn’t a concept; it goes on sale today. Using an Atom processor, 5-megapixel camera, and Intel’s Linux-based Moblin OS, it turns book pages into digital text and MP3s…then reads aloud in a synthesized voice.

Brand it on the tip of your tongue

no matter how much you are learning, no matter how much power/money/influence you carry, no matter how much you always know the right things to say,

my body is not for you to exam, conquer, or casually observe
as if the strands of my hair were nothing more than pages of a magazine

the creator did not craft these hands, lungs, feet of mine so you can feel good about yourself. my issues are not for you to solve.

who said you could analyze me? i am not a hobby, a project, a case study

Are High Tech Prosthetics Fair?

This past week, another scientific study on running raised the issue of athletes with lower-leg amputations who use high-tech prosthetics having a bionic advantage in contests against ordinary competitors. Increasingly sophisticated innovations — like the carbon-fiber Cheetah Flex-Foot — appear to give amputee sprinters a technological edge in medium-distance races like the 400 meters. Isn’t opening able-bodied competitions to disabled athletes like the double-amputee Oscar Pistorius, fitted out with futuristic J-shaped blade extensions, just political correctness run amok?

ADHD website tells women they’re annoying

Annelise M. sent us a link to a relationships advice slide show at ADDITUDE, a website for people with Attention Deficit Disorder and other learning disabilities. The slide show title is “7 Tips for Better Communication in Your ADHD Relationships.” However, even though men are diagnosed with ADD and ADHD two to four times more often than women, the subtitle makes it clear that the advice is for women only and the text specifies “ADD women” and the “partner” or “spouse” is always a “him” (so also heterosexist). The advice was gender-neutral, but the authors decided to go with gender stereotypes instead.

2 Comments

  1. With regard to the hi-tech prostheses matter, what makes me cynically amused is the way it’s a perfect example of how some people who aren’t marginalised get almost unbelievably terrified when it appears a marginalised person might just be able to compete on an equal footing (as it were) to themselves. The same sort of thing happened in the Caster Semenya case (“oh my god, the Chinese are going to start forcibly selecting intersex people and making them compete as women in athletic events to win more gold medals” – this was an actual worry someone mentioned). Let’s face it, in order for someone to be able to obtain the high-tech prostheses in the first place, they need to be pretty damn privileged – I’m willing to bet my eye teeth those things are far from cheap. They’re also going to be running at the highest possible levels – we’re not likely to be overtaken by someone with a pair of Cheetah prostheses running for the number 9 bus to work each morning.

  2. Also on the prosthetics, this line: The case of Oscar Pistorius is yet another example of a certain kind of modern public debate, immediately hobbled by irrational superstition and crippled by incomprehensible fear.

    ….eesh. *facepalm*