Chatterday! Open Thread.

This is our weekly Chatterday! open thread. Use this open thread to talk amongst yourselves: feel free to share a link, have a vent, or spread some joy.

What have you been reading or watching lately (remembering spoiler warnings)? What are you proud of this week? What’s made your teeth itch? What’s going on in your part of the world? Feel free to add your own images. (Anna insists that these should only be of ponies, but I insist that very small primates, camelids, critters from the weasel family, smooching giraffes, and cupcakes are also acceptable.) Just whack in a bare link to a webpage, please – admin needs to deal with the HTML code side of things.

Today’s chatterday backcloth comes via Tjflex2 on flickr, who took the photo in a cemetery in Prague.

red squirrel

31 thoughts on “Chatterday! Open Thread.

  1. The comedian Lewis Black seriously made me go “FOR CEREAL?!” with his latest rant on The Daily Show. (Apologies for the fact that the link isn’t viewable outside the US; blame Viacom for that. It’s the “Back in Black” rant from the February 8 episode, if you want to find it on the website of your own local channel.)

    Basically– I’m not even going to attempt to transcribe it, because it’ll get me into a “flames on the side of my face” mood if I watch it again– after laughing at how people refer to “the r-word”, as if the actual word were something only people with disabilities could say amongst themselves (news flash: you’re actually pretty close to the truth there, Lewis), he then goes on to serve up an extra bit of fail by claiming that the word ‘retarded’ is no longer actually used to refer to people with intellectual disabilities. Aside from the fact that that just isn’t true (I mean, Tropic Thunder, people? The whole controversy over that movie was because the word was used in its literal sense!), he disproved his own point with another gag in the same rant (a screenshot parodying The L-Word, but titled The R-Word, featuring the title characters of I Am Sam and Forrest Gump). Oh, and add a general “the PC police won’t let me say what I want to!” sort of vibe to the whole thing.

    And meanwhile, throughout all of this, my brain is doing the “if it weren’t for my horse” thing so brilliantly described in one of Lewis Black’s older (and actually funny) rants.

    The worst part of all this is that there was actually a really good point about Sarah Palin’s utter hypocrisy as regards Rahm Emanuel, Rush Limbaugh and Dave Letterman buried in Black’s rant. And it started off quite hilariously (and promisingly!) with a bit in which he was forced to find other words to describe the ridiculousness of this whole situation, before it descended into the Utter Ableism Fail that irritated me so.

  2. I saw that segment and hated it. Lewis Black has always been iffy to me. This was just gross. “It’s about when people do “retarded” things, but it’s not about actually mentally disabled people!” It was so privileged and I was waiting to see it here truthfully.

    In one of my school’s many buildings, the elevator is dead. It is the only elevator in that building. There is elevator access to the 2nd floor through the building next door and a “causeway” or whatever, but nothing to the 3rd floor. It may take 3 to 6 months to fix.

    My new hero wrote in to the school paper, saying some great things – the “solution” is time and energy consuming (if you have one class on one floor and your next is on the other), that the elevator is not just for those in wheelchairs, and questioned the legality of the situation. (Plus, we’re building a new UC and dorm, but we can’t fix one elevator?)

  3. I’ve been referred for an assessment of my dyspraxia (it has only been informally assessed before, and that was as a child). Combination of excited and terrified.

    I’ve managed to take a couple of evenings off from my horrendous workload of doom, which I should do more often, but not too often. And looking forward to the dragon parade tomorrow (dragons are awesome creatures of awesome!).
    .-= anthea´s last blog ..In Review =-.

  4. Also, in the world of movies, there are 3 movies coming out or out that deal with mental illness.

    My Name Is Khan opened today, and the title character has Aspergers. I am interested in seeing how this is treated, because the director is Karan Johar, and while I love his films, they’re not perfect. (The fat “jokes” wear thin quickly – but they were more realistic in his most recent film, Wake Up Sid.) I have avoided reviews, I’m seeing it tomorrow, and OMG, I get to see Shahrukh on the big screen and Kajol! And and and! *fangirl nonsense*

    Next week is Shutter Island. When I saw the trailer this summer before Public Enemy, I jumped up and down. (Bollywood producers were in a strike, so I was excited about seeing a movie in a theater and not on DVD.) Now I read the book a few years ago, people were pushing it at me, raving about the twist. Well, the twist got me. Even the second time I read the book, it’s still a “whoa, slow down.” There will be problematic elements, because it takes place at an asylum for the criminally insane in the 1950s. But a dialogue after would be useful – talk to asylum patients, ask them how it’s changed for the better or worse. It could be that all “crazy” people are violent killers is what we walk away with, but mostly I’m still squeeing and I liked Leo in Catch Me If You Can, so I’m pretty excited.

    The one movie I’m not excited about and have no intentions of seeing is called “The Crazies.” The commercials make it look like a horror film – there’s something wrong in Ogden Marsh. One thing I remember – it looks like a corpse is in a cell, “Is he dead?” *man lunges at them* I just hate the title, and a few other moments from commercials have also talked about mental health and it just bugs me.

    MNIK will open lots of dialogues if it’s seen by people who aren’t Bollywood fans. We already know all Muslims aren’t terrorists! The trailer gave me goosebumps and made me cry – the title character is not just his religion or his diagnosis, he is a man (and a cute one at that). I’ve avoided reviews and spoilers, but I do know that the extremist Hindu group Shiv Sena has been making a racket, as is their wont. (For “Wake Up Sid,” they forced KJo to put a disclaimer up about how people saying “Bombay” wasn’t intended to hurt anyone’s feelings. The characters worked at a magazine called Mumbai Beats. I’ve seen plenty recent films set in Mumbai where characters call it Bombay, so it’s not like they go after everyone.) They’re mad at SRK because he doesn’t hate Pakistani cricket players, and what do you know? SRK has his first big film in over a year coming out! Time for some outrage.

    Shutter Island – love the book, hope the movie isn’t too terrible and I’m interested to see how it shows the mind.

  5. @codeman38 Thanks! The title text should be fixed now.

    if the actual word were something only people with disabilities could say amongst themselves (news flash: you’re actually pretty close to the truth there, Lewis)

    Why would this be a bad thing? It continually amazes me why people feel so diminished by being asked to have a little respect. No, people who are not black, we may not use that word that begins with an N even though some black people do. (You may not be cute and use words that sound similar in the same context–as an online knitting community did. We all know what you are doing stop it. Criminy. This has to be explained?) We are also not invited to participate in the conversation taking place within the black community about the use of that word. It is not about us. If people with intellectual disabilities choose to use that word what begins with an R to refer to themselves that’s theirs to do and not anything of mine or anyone else’s to approve or disapprove of. But I’ll get snarly if someone who doesn’t have an intellectual disability uses the word. If someone calls a person that word (some of) the harm is immediate and fairly obvious. Using it in the same way “gay” gets used to mean bad in a much more global sense is harmful in less obvious ways. There could be someone present who has an intellectual disability the speaker doesn’t know about because people do not carry signs and folk are not exactly always brilliant diagnosticians. And because that there is nothing but reinforcing ableist social structures. I am all about structural change.

    Some words eventually get reclaimed enough that they can go back into wider circulation. Queer might be on its way back there. Some might argue that it is already but I’d disagree, not least because I don’t want to see the history of groups like Queer Nation get erased. (Which it is and with the complicity of more mainstream-friendly organizations like the HRC and GLAAD.)

    Some words may never be reclaimable. I think this ugly one referring to people with intellectual disabilities is one. Not because of the current hypocritical posturing but because of the way it’s used so casually by so many people.

  6. What a week. I am hating 2k10 so far. Deaths in the family, global crises, snowmageddon (I’m on shovel duty over & over…) menstrual cramps, jury duty… (Couldn’t help but notice that the courthouse was very poorly accessible – the elevator was broken & the metal detector on the handicapped ramp side of the building was broken.) Got called a “bitch” on the blogosphere for the first time (I suppose it was bound to happen eventually.)

    Been doing pretty good pain-wise in the last few weeks though. I gotta help my mom around the house a lot cuz she’s doing bad pain wise at the same time.

    Still reading books I’d rather not read but whatever at least I’m learning something…
    I’m nitpicking some of the book language though. The author is using some common colloquialisms but now I’m like, wait, isn’t that a disablist term?

    I meant to send my boyfriend a Valentines Day card & got too snowed in to pick one up :/ he won’t mind getting it late but…
    He got me a Coach wallet! Holy shit!
    Oohhhh… I feel like a heel now :/ it’s really nice! WTF I thought we agreed to a $40 maximum gift ceiling this year!
    Haha it’s fine though. I’ve surprised him in the past too.

  7. In an interesting development, I realized that I literally could not do school without a laptop.

    Maybe my freshman year, but not now. Not because the workload is heavier, but because the pain is worse. I do not want to go to a computer lab every time I want to use the computer. I don’t think I could – I’m so tired and sore after classes and walking, I just want to lay down and relax, reading comics and other things online.

    How did this discovery come about? Monday morning, my computer died. To be more accurate, the battery died, and because the computer wouldn’t recognize the charger, it also died. This has happened before – get a new charger. Nope, didn’t work this time.

    Unfortunately, the local computer place was closed because of the weather. And it was stressful – waiting for a cab, walking in the snow and ice and rain – all for nothing. What did I want to do when I got back? Why, flop on my bed and kill time online. I read instead. (Six Suspects by Vikas Swarup – he wrote Q&A, inspiration for Slumdog Millionaire. Both books are great!)

    After spending 90 bucks to discover my motherboard was borked, I bought a new laptop. (A third of that total went to an external hard drive – the computer folks saved all the nonsense from my old one, so I didn’t have to start from scratch! Big relief.) It has Windows 7, which seems pretty cool so far. The only learning curve is the keyboard – it’s set up like one for a desktop, so keys aren’t where they “should” be.

    And I used it for school work! Tuesday, I had a short paper due. Typed. I wrote it by hand 40 minutes before class, but it was okay. Thursday, I had a presentation to give. (Same class.) I made a powerpoint! For the first time since 10th grade, and that was on school computers. Now I want to go back to other classes and make powerpoints, they’re so fun!

    My old laptop is under my bed – I can get a new motherboard for a couple/few hundred bucks (it’s a sony I got in August ’07) or just keep buying new batteries. It’s been through a lot, and it shows. 3 keys are messed up because Mikey jumped on it (one fell off, but it was a key with a duplicate on the other side), there are horizontal lines on the screen, most likely because I kept dropping it, and there’s the whole “barfing on it” in early 2008.

    Also – I know why this happened. I got stickers for Christmas, and stickers along with a DVD order from an Indian company. No more room on my laptop, what to do? Why, get a new one of course! Plus, I got to see cops eating donuts at a donut place on Monday.

  8. @codeman38 — Stephen Colbert also used the R Word when discussing the Palin/Limbaugh/Emanuel business. Over at I was commenting on the news story about Colbert’s usage of the R Word, and people actually defended him saying the word! I was so frustrated, most people said that the R Word is okay because “the R Word means slow and that’s what mentally disabled people are”. Ughhh it made me cringe.

  9. @sarahj: At least Colbert almost got it right– I loved the whole point of “hey, Mrs. Palin, if you’re OK with it being used in satire, then let’s satirically use it towards you” point, but the joke really could’ve been done with any insult. I love what one commenter on Kate Harding’s blog said– it was like Maxwell Smart’s “missed it by that much!”

    But even then, it was still miles ahead of Lewis Black’s rant.

  10. Colbert using it wasn’t great – any usage outside of medical circles is wrong – but I forgot about it until reading this because Lewis Black’s angry yelling seared his hateful rant into my head, and I really didn’t need more reasons to loathe Limbaugh. (Blech) Black seemed so angry, which is his thing, and Stephen did not.

    The Bald Soprano – that does not sound like fun. I’m sorry and hope it comes back negative. Good vibes or whatever you choose sent your way!

  11. I watched the opening ceremonies tonight and it made me so happy to see Rick Hansen be the one to wheel in the torch! I can’t describe how happy I still am 🙂

  12. I just watched the first episode of Dancing On Wheels–and it looks good so far! There does seem to be the requisite BS of “Oh, it was so good I didn’t notice your wheelchair” and “This has taught me to really enjoy life while I have it!” but the dancing was excellent, they have a parolympian on the judging panel who gave the other judges whatfor on wheelchair technique, and basically… yeah, enjoyed a ton. The other issue I had was that the celebrity partners tended to do more of the talking, though I’m not sure if that dynamic is replicated in other Dancing brand shows. I would really love to see a review done by someone with less Tons Of Ableist Privilege, and if anyone is interested I am sure someone–I am not naming any names–could be a hookup for source.

  13. @ Anthea: I’m wishing you good luck ont he assessment. I can see how it can be both exciting and scary. I hope it will help you access the services you need thoughgh.

    @ The Bald Soprano: that sucks. My sympathies go out to you. I hope you won’t have to wait much longer and the results are good.

  14. Thanks for the good vibes and hopes, folks.

    Kaitlyn, I’d love to hear what you think of “I Am Khan” –I just read about it this week, and I’m wondering if I want to plan to go see it when it opens here.

  15. The Bald Soprano – I’m seeing My Name is Khan today at 4, come hell, high water, late friends, snow, etc etc.

    I may be a bit loopy after seeing it – after I saw “3 Idiots” in December, I hugged my sister and begged her to see Avatar for a 3rd time so I could see it again.

    But if it’s bad (Johar = Cheez!!!!!!!! sometimes) I can tell, even when loopy from seeing my favorite stars on big screen.

  16. Anyone watching The Deep End? This week’s episode dealt with a client who turned out to be intersexed and lost her college scholarship because she was no longer female, but they ended up winning the case because she was infertile, which meant she was disabled, which meant they would be seen as discriminating against someone with a disability, and they didn’t want the bad press for that. I … was a little stunned by many of the assumptions going on there.

  17. The Bald Soprano – just got back from My Name Is Khan.

    It was amazing, and for once we saw “fly over country” in a Bollywood film. (Come to Memphis, pleeeeeeeeeeeez!) Parts weren’t subtle, but those were the peace and tolerance messages and they made for some powerful scenes and images.

    Onto the Asperger’s Syndrome. Rizvan Khan (SRK) takes the time in the first half to introduce himself to the people at Mandira’s (Kajol) job – this is what he has, this is who it’s named after, he is not “pagal”, he is smart. At one point, Mandira tells him to stop with this “loop” and the “encyclopedia.”

    He takes things literally, which is why he’s doing what he’s doing – he can’t go home until he does what Mandira tells him to do. (which comes after a heart wrenching scene – so quiet in the theater) He hates the color yellow and loud sounds. He also repeats what people say when he can’t come up with something himself (especially related to emotions) or he reverts back to the encyclopedia.

    He can repair almost anything, so his “genius” overshadows his brother, resentment, etc, but his mother loves him and gets him a private tutor because the other students at school are jerks.

    We see two tools he uses so the world isn’t too much – ear plugs, of course, but a video camera, because as his SIL tells him (she teaches psychology and gets him an official diagnosis), it’s like the world is on TV, so it won’t be so scary. (This is soon after he moves to America, San Francisco, noise people noise!)

    What was really touching was the disclaimer at the beginning – something like this is not the definitive behavior for AS, this is a fictional story about one man.

    He is not cured, he does not “overcome” his disability, and he is the main character, he does not teach those around him to “live life to the fullest.” He does help people, but not because he’s autistic, but because he helps them. By doing things. Like… *drumroll* anybody else!

    So there were some iffy moments (so much jammed in the last 30 minutes) but overall, a great movie and I think a great representation of somebody with Asperger’s.

  18. Codeman – there are subs, but not when people speak English.

    And there is noise – we get to hear the commotion too. So if you’re like Rizvan, watch it on a tv with the sound down!

  19. Hello Everyone. My name is Meera. I’m starting to follow this blog and I must it’s wonderful.

  20. Wow, Kaitlyn. That definitely goes on the ‘to see in the theater’ list! At least, if I can find a non-dubbed-into-German showing. I’m especially impressed by the disclaimer at the beginning.

    Thanks for the review!

  21. Thanks, The Bald Soprano!

    I haven’t read any professional reviews – American or Indian – but I have read reviews at a Bollywood message board. Some people really hated it, but not because of the AS and how it was portrayed. In fact, some people have said it would have been better just to have their romance, and forget the political angle. So their complaints are with typical OTTness, but no one has said that SRK’s portrayal made them cringe.

    So you might like the 1st hour or so… I can’t guarantee the events of the last 30 minutes or so. I loved the film, but at one point, I was like really? We’re throwing this in? Can’t say what and spoil it…

    A dubbed version would be bad but also hilarious because of the constant Hinglish, and switching between Hindi and English – would everything be dubbed, or just the English words?

  22. I slept most of yesterday. Friday I was dead tired, ready to literally collapse, after various stuff I’d been doing to get enough money for the web project I work for to continue. (I hate begging because every time I do it I get people telling us we’d have less trouble if we did things that the two of us are massively incapable of as two severely physically disabled autistic people. But none of the people who complain ever volunteer to help. It’s aggravating. But then we get money so it’s worth it in the end.)

    Anyway I was near collapse after all that and in a moment of difficulty holding my eyelids up I drove my powerchair into an oven door and the entire thing shattered on my bare feet. So I had to go to the ER to get glass picked out (my actual injuries are tiny but the nuisance value is enormous). The admitting nurse barely brushed her hand on my foot and felt glass all over it. I had a totally incompetent doctor who barely glanced at my feet and said there was no glass (and implied I was just imagining the glass because broken glass is scary). He then sent in a nurse who cleaned my feet up and found all the bits of “imaginary” glass I had told the doctor about. So now I have literally heard everything. Imaginary glass. If that same emergency department hadn’t given me a potentially lethal (if it hadn’t been caught and now treated twice daily) form of COPD by dismissing repeated lung infections and then the early stages of the resultant COPD (which is progressive until you treat it) in the same manner, it’d be almost funny.

    So I got home totally trashed and have mostly slept until tonight, with a few random waking periods. My brain was even starting to malfunction in weird ways (it does that when tired ever since I was delirious a couple years ago), so I have had bizarre dreams like watching bulletin board type things spin around while a voice sang in a high warbly voice, “The archive tables, the archive tables, please collect me, the archive tables.” And the things going on for the hour before I fell asleep were almost as strange. Which is all a sign that I need to probably keep resting for awhile until my brain stops feeling like the world is dancing to unheard but disturbingly distorted music. (Which is also more nuisance-level than anything, but that only happens when I’m sick or beyond physically exhausted.)

    So it seems like Murphy’s law is in effect, because the month I spend a lot of money for the first time in forever is the month I kill an oven and probably will need to pay the repairs or replacement. (Which means I know where my money is going the next few months.)

    But I am not really unhappy emotionally, just worn out but okay otherwise. Seems like what’s happened has already happened so why freak out if I can’t change it. Freaking out also takes energy.

  23. Oh and also (check commentluv thing) listening to autistic people flip out about the new DSM combining Asperger, PDDNOS, and autism into one thing, because they now have to share a label with (gasp) people who wear diapers or have trouble with academics or self-injure (as if neither of those was already true of some people dxed with Asperger’s) is made of fail and prompted a rant before sleeping again.

  24. Amanda – imaginary glass?!

    That… just WHAT?!

    I’d expect PWD or a person with a chronic illness to get “Oh, you don’t have the flu/cold.” but lordy there was GLASS in your foot!

    Imaginary scenario – broke my arm, bones poking out, they rush to help me but then they see they my medical records. “You shouldn’t be taking that.” (was told that when all I wanted was some tamiflu) and “we’re not gonna give you anything” (told that after a surgery because just 2 days ago he prescribed pain meds, what a whiner!)

    Amanda, I am so sorry, but more importantly, how will you cook things in the oven?!

    Of course, last night was hell on wheels for me – pain pain pain PAIN, and rain and cold, so I didn’t eat dinner*. And with all the rain and cold and actual snow, you’d think we’d get a snow day. But no, because it’s been just above freezing for a few days, so it stuck to cars and grass, but not roads.

    *Well, the dinner I wanted. Because the only place open on campus closes at 6 or 7, and I don’t want pizza or chinese. I don’t live in some magical place where everyone delivers. (I saw an episode of L&O where they delivered fried chicken! What a weird place.)

  25. Good thing the oven situation is under control!

    Seriously, I’m latching onto “Oh no, poor oven!” to ignore the “imaginary glass”. I’m still WTFing hours later, and then there’s the creepy guy at the grocery store in Meloukhia’s post… what is wrong with people?

    Plus it’s Monday and I am lacking in cute puppies and/or kitties to play with, so talking about the oven is a good substitute.

    I hope that made sense.

    And I’m not discounting what happened, if it was me, I’d be all, “I’m so sorry about your oven, I guess my house will have to smell like cookies and cakes for a while.”

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