Disability Studies Quarterly is available free online at dsq-sds.org. The Summer 2017 issue of Disability Studies Quarterly is full of interesting reading that's accessible to folks without a graduate degree.
Acknowledging pain and limitation is a welcome turn in Disability Studies theorizing: a long-term consequence of the intersection of feminism with DS. Women's disability is so often driven by illness, that we've brought willingness to profess that pain.
UW-Madison Prof. Ellen Samuels writes so well, so deeply, so clearly about living as disabled people in time:( Three meanings of 'crip time' )
Three more viewpoints on "crip time" in the complete article at
While it doesn't avoid all time travel theme clichés, this mashup of Varley's Millennium and Quantum Leap provides some unique thrills. The team traveling back from a terrible future sends their souls into bodies seconds away from their recorded death. Unusually, the team members still have to cope with the lives they've overtaken.( Five members in the team )
The see-saw between the terrifying events they seek to short-circuit through super-hero methods and the mundanities of baby-sitting and football practice deflates the pomposity attendant on most SF tv.
As the filmmaker, Regan Brashear, puts it:
begin quote What's the film about? What does “disabled” mean when a man with no legs can run faster than many Olympic sprinters? With prenatal screening able to predict hundreds of probable conditions, who should determine what kind of people get to be born? If you could augment your body’s abilities in any way imaginable, what would you do and why? From pre-implantation genetic diagnosis to neural implants and bionic limbs, researchers around the world are hard at work developing a myriad of technologies to fix or enhance the human body, but what does it mean to design “better humans” and do we want to? FIXED follows three remarkable people: Gregor Wolbring, John Hockenberry, and Patty Berne – a scientist, a journalist and a community organizer – each of whom has a personal story of disability and a passionate engagement in the debates around emerging human enhancement technologies. quote ends
She's got lots more details and testimonials on her Kickstarter page
I could tell she's One of Us by the donor categories, which include THE BORG SPECIAL; THE BIONIC WOMAN; and THE PROFESSOR XAVIER NEURAL ENHANCEMENT.
People with disabilities interact more with government. We are more likely to be poor, and therefore more likely to need the welfare system (living expenses, housing, food discounts, medical care).
Only comprehensive, government-wide action can undo the decades of systematic oppression documented in the prelude to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The Disability Advocates Wisconsin Network provides a detailed yet understandable accounting of how people with disabilities are going to be affected in so many ways by the budget just passed.
I bring up this list because it neatly reminds us all that "disability issues," like "women's issues," are pretty darn broad.
Are you wondering "Who's ALEC?" The American Legislative Exchange Council was founded in 1973 by Henry Hyde, Lou Barnett, and Paul Weyrich. In brief, they're a group of policy wonks who develop model laws based on the values they hold dear: absolute free market capitalism, elimination of governmental regulation, deployment of public-private partnerships wherever possible. Wm Cronon, a UW-Madison history professor explores in greater detail on his web site.
I bring up ALEC because the misery we're experiencing may be coming to a state like you -- and it may be letter-for-letter what we've been protesting against. Informed is always a good look on a radical.
Lovely fan-fam dinner last night with mrcreek
wintercreek, sasha_feather, commodorified, were_duck,sassbandit, laceblade.
We were talking about the minimal critical specifications for teen movies -- as you do -- and the differences between boys' and girls' school experiences were contemplated.
Which made me think of Ju Gosling, who's a disabled performance artist who, more recently, has undertaken a study of British (female) fans of girls' boarding school stories.
You can stream or download the 20 minute piece at this link: Finding Emilie
begin quote We planned a weekend where we could simply dive into the show and enjoy being entertained. And, we were. Because of the nature of the character we were a little worried that, in proof of his 'coolness', he would let slip with the 'r' word. But, no, episode after episode passed and we thought we could relax.
Then in an episode written by Mr. Boxen, the character created and played by Mr. Hawco, tosses the word, of course as a pejorative, at another cast member. We actually paused the episode to calm ourselves. It was clear that the word was carefully chosen and purposefully used. Unlike with epithets used against other minorities, which are employed to demonstrate the negative nature of a character, this is a word (which is widely and openly reviled by the disability community) that is actually used to increase the 'coolness' factor of a character. The use of the word, in the manner it was used, shows a knowing willingness to hurt one group of people to curry favour and impress another. This kind of purposeful bigotry ought to be loudly condemned, however, it is this - my complaint - that will be attacked. Every legitimate call for the concept of respectful language to include disability concerns are ignored by the powers the be and attacked by supporters of the status quo. Those who wish the freedom to hate mask themselves as fighters for the freedom to speak. quote ends
Then Dave details how Charles Dickens entertained complaints about his anti-Semitic framing of Fagin in Oliver Twist. Since his works were published in serials, he was able to make some changes mid-novel — and did so. I'm not holding Dickens up as a perfect exemplar — I don't think there are perfect humans — but he's certainly outside the "cruncy granola circle" I hear invoked when folks like us get mad about bigotry in literature and performance.
Followed by quite tasty Thai Noodles, from a shop called Thai Noodles on McKee Road. Squash/yam/coconut curry nom nom nom.
Today I read about three online dating services for people with disabilities. I guess I should be happy the Times didn't say, gee whiz, these people have sex! I hope the sites don't drown in the bandwidth, particularly from griefers.
begin quote Disability Dharma: What Including & Learning From Disability Can Teach (Everyone) About Sex
by Heather Corinna
Sometimes we also need to accept what our body does totally out of our control, whether we like it or not. That might be ejaculating before we'd like, farting during sex, making certain noises or things like muscle spasms, urinating during some kinds of sex or having certain body parts just stop working when we're not done using them yet. Some people with some kinds of disabilities need to accept that it might take them longer to connect with their own bodies sexually or with someone else's in some ways, or take longer to learn to be sexual with others: this is a flexibility a lot of people, especially young people, could benefit from nurturing with sex and sexuality.
Know what else inclusion helps with? Acceptance of everyone's sexual variation, including your own. Like understanding that we or anyone else can't "make" ourselves like things or people we don't like sexually, can't willfully change our sexual orientation or gender identity, or that something one person finds to be very sensitive on their bodies is not on our own or on a partners' body. Sometimes a given variation can be far outside of our experience or awareness, but rather than viewing that as cause to freak out or run away, we can view it as an adventure, as a whole new avenue for us to learn and experience things about ourselves or others we might not have had the opportunity to otherwise.
So: the ADA and what it enabled today. In my zippity, comfortable power chair I zoomed to a "regular" bus stop and thence to my accessible health club where I swam for 40 minutes. I used half of the seated showers (what the staff insist on calling the "handicapped stalls.") Most of the people I encountered treated me respectfully and without patronizing me. I saw at least 10 other people whose impairments were readily evident to me. Another bus to the next stop. I had no worries about crossing a six-lane 45mph road because my chair goes fast enough (but not, alas 45mph). There were curb ramps which almost met ADA specs almost all the places there should have been -- the speedy chair simplifies crossing the street via driveways when necessary. I stopped in three stores during these errands. At one store the counterperson dramatically jumped back and performed the Vanna White maneuver to demonstrate that there was room to move in the shop. (Oh really?) The other stores gave me exactly the same attention as the evidently enabled* people who entered at the same time.
OK, that's all about assistive technology, and there's more AT-related items I could enumerate (built-in enlarging features in apps and OS simplify computer use; cordless phones; I'm stopping now).
The biggest change has not been in my body but in my perspective. In the late 80s, I'd been educating myself on social-model, disability-rights reading, but my impairments were not yet evident to others. That disabled people's rights had been enshrined in law was hugely important to me. That the ADA used "mental illness" as an example finally tipped me into considering therapy.
So, thanks for my life, ADA: many mundane things, and a few great big ones.
The law is not enough; as Cal Montgomery taught me:
So thanks to these RL advocates, who taught me advocacy:
- Caryn Navy, who was infinitely patient with my AB privilege, remade a corner of the world at Raised Dot Computing, and demonstrated dignity through snark
- Chris Kingslow, who taught me that mental illness isn’t the end of the world
- Catherine Odette, who published Dykes Disabilities & Stuff, founded Able Lives Theater, and gave me permission to take as long as it takes
- Cal Montgomery, who decoded the disability studies stuff I couldn’t follow, made me laugh, and taught me that there is dignity in “behavior management,” as well as potential for abuse
- Mike O’Connor, who held my hand while I took my first steps into the public square
- Fayth Kail, who cranked open many minds as she served as an Assembly page in the state legislature while also campaigning for abortion rights, reminding me that advocacy has a life cycle
Asked and answered, no angst, no regret, no hasty explanation of all the things I did do that made me worthwhile once.
That only took 20 years!
Life without father becomes more familiar.
Watch the Olympic Opening Ceremony on TiVo (what a fabbo invention). I love the First Nations art and dance but it feels completely appropriative and wrong.
Excellent Chinese New Year party with old friend who has re-entered my life.
Big fun with were_duck, including a lunch so attractive it belongs on an Olympic flag. (Too hungry for pix, again.)
Loud & rowdy book group re The Sparrow.
Conjoined twins, only one of whom wishes to be a country singer?
Meet George & Lori Chapelle
(In other words: no performance art from able-bodied poseurs, Ms Palmer, real life is strange enough.)
See also Twin Falls, Idaho.
Worked with sasha_feather today on our disability-themed presentations for the MBLGTACC conference this weekend. We're feeling confident. If any dwirclets have experience with a Bisexual, Lesbian, Gay, Trans & Allies College Conference, please share on what to expect.
Canadian insurance company cancels her disability benefits, claiming her happy Facebook photos demonstrate fraud by payee with depression
More reasoning errors thanks to over-broad metaphor. Major depression is not simply "sadness." It's emptiness, it's exhaustion, it's pain, it's worthlessness, and most perniciously, it's isolation. On my own, it's even harder to believe that I have things to give, a will to act, access to succor, or valuable qualities.
That's why I treasure the regular activities which drag me out into a social universe.
Also, I adore that a trip to somewhere warm or light is economically termed a "sun vacation" from the cold & dark Canadian perspective.
What assistive technology do we use as we move through our lives?
"Assistive technology" has traditionally meant "special devices," crafted by engineers and prescribed by doctors, priced to be purchased by agencies and serviced by nobody. This discussion demonstrates that women are tool users, and there's plenty of great utility to be found in simple, everyday, general-purpose stuff.
As with tech, so with our persons: we are not "special," we do not need to be the segregated subjects of purpose-schooled shrinks and doctors and schools and workplaces.
Yes it's long, but for analogy-loving me, it's a gold-mine. Commenter Leora, in particular, explores the "disability is a natural part of life" issue by comparing "mental retardation" to math skills; using public transit vs driving; differential muscle strength between men and women; black and white; and most memorably, the "loss" of disability to the death of one's parent:
begin quote For example, my mother died [... snip ...] and I grieved that loss, not unlike the times I have grieved for the loss of my sight. But people’s parents die. It happens to all of us. And others might say, how sad that your mother died. But after the initial grieving period, people don’t think about it much in regards to you. They do not define you by what they perceive as what they think your loss feels like. Different people are going to react to losing a parent differently. Some might find relief if their parent was abusive, some might be devastated for years, some might be sad about it and then move on. Other people allow you to do that. They don’t define every conversation, every thought, every perception and judgment about you by how they think THEY would handle your loss. Would you like it if five or ten years after your mother died, every single person you talked to said, “Gosh! I’m so sorry about the loss of your mother. It must be so hard to get through the day. Oh? You’ve moved on and now you want to talk about the job opportunity? Well, I just don’t know if we can do that! If I had lost my mother, it would be such a loss. I don’t know how I would even work and enjoy life if my mother had died. I mean, having a mother alive is so much better than having a dead one. There is no way you can say that you’ve learned and grown from the experience and you are a better person for it. I think you are wrong about being okay with the loss of your mother.” And on and on and on infinity with every single person you ever talk to for the rest of your life. quote ends
Foolish me didn't research in the blogosphere before the "Disabling Metaphor" panel, and it turns out there's tons o' post on this topic. And that's probably why so many of the folks at the panel were so primed to discuss it!
The Feminist Philosophers' take on the topic includes some close reading of the language that I'm too medicated to decode. Commenters to Tekanji's post at the Official Shrub Blog unlike the folks at Alas, are not too painful to read.
begin quote It’s not okay to call a coward a pussy, or a bad thing gay, they argue, because there’s nothing bad about having a vagina or being homosexual. But there IS something bad about not being mobile! In fact, it’s no fun at all, just totally miserable. All other things held equal, isn’t it better to be not-lame than lame?
[... snip ...]
But even accepting that impairment to mobility is itself a sucky thing, MAYBE DISABLED PEOPLE DO NOT APPRECIATE BEING THE CULTURAL GO-TO FOR THINGS THAT SUCK. quote ends
Yes yes yes yes yes! This post (as supplemented by commenter Lexie) succinctly explains why epithets-based-on-impairment* are not just rude, but actively disabling—they create the social conditions that make living with bodily difference difficult.
* E.G., "Iranian ruling classes are deaf to the chants of demonstrators."
ETA Hah! Mandolin's insight was nourished at WisCon!