Another "West Wing" note

March 19, 2006 at 7:31 PM (Uncategorized)

I’m glad it’s ending…

If, halfway through tonight’s show, it appears that anyone’s considering, let alone going to *use* the opposing campaign’s private information they um, stumbled upon by accident…

Crap.

If the candidate *uses* it he’ll be a great strategist who is haunted by how he got the White House.

If the candidate doesn’t use it, he’ll lose the White House by the slimmest of margins, and he’ll sleep well at night but neither of his campaign goons will…and we’ll be treated to half an hour of angst by Ron Silver, who I cannot stand the sight of anyway…

I believe such a twist would have been highly unlikely under Sorkin…the staffers were dumb enough to lose their underwear in a public place, but *not* sensitive personal info about the President or a presidential candidate.

And, it makes Santos, and his staff look so mind numbingly stupid for losing the information.

Gargh.

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More from my corner on Cerebral Palsy

March 19, 2006 at 10:09 AM (Uncategorized)

“brain damage,” and a thought or two about, subtext and words.

I was being driven home from college by a family member. This family member and most of the others on both sides are/were good at math, or other jobs or abilities that mean the logical, linear side of the brain is not only working “on all thrusters” but has some extra juice in there somewhere. The family member said well, it’s obvious *where* my brain got damaged…not just in the cerebellum, the coordination stuff that is the outward and obvious manifestation of Cerebral Palsy….that the *math side* of my brain must have taken some kind of a hit as well.

Then, there’s me. And the same group of past aquaintainces that I mentioned in an earlier post.
We write well, we are facile and complex with our use of language, and foreign languages also came easily to us…but then there was math.

Math is the one area that begins as facile for me (I add subtract multiply and divide in my head most times…another one of those things it’s faster to do than write down….)

But then, when you get to the complexity say of Algebra I (what I took in around ninth grade in junior high) and then went on to Geometry, and then Trigonometry which I gave up halfway through) *that* sort of math and what comes after is a murky, pathless place that not only do I not understand, I have no way in or out. Completely and utterly foreign.

The group of past aquaintances had equal difficulty with mathematics as well and some incredibly traumatic experiences with math teachers and parental expectation that surpassed my own.

When I got labled “brain damaged” by my family member though, I took offense that in retrospect I shouldn’t have taken. Because that *is* what Cerebral Palsy entails, factually, leaving the subtext out of it. Cerebral Palsy is various types of *damage to the brain.*

And, I’ve really had to examine my own prejudice over my lifetime about cognitive disabilities.
I have put a huge censor on my public speech, because I realize that nobody is really competent to judge the value of somebody’s life with cognitive disabilities, except themselves, and their loved ones, friends and (in some limited ways) their advocates.

I took the words “brain damage,” with all their loaded subtext and felt injured again…because I was in the middle of that time period where I consoled myself with my intellect.

I may have no boyfriend, but at least I’m *smart*
I may have difficulty walking, running or understanding Trigonomety, but by Gawd I’m in Advanced Placement History classes.
I may not have the future that the rest of them have, but at least I can outthink most of them in social situations with several braincells tied behind my back.

And, importantly, when my parents delivered me out of the wilderness of Chemistry and Trigonomety I brought in a 4.0 GPA for my last semester in high school

(and how sucessful have I been at parlaying the things I’m actually good at into paying employment??? Heh, lousy. but that’s another post)

But, *by* taking those words to injure me, I wasn’t seeing my own value, and also unconsiously I was devaluing anybody with cognitive disabilities. My attitude was part of their problem, instead of using the conversation to educate both myself and my family about what words like, full, productive,useful, and *brain damage* really mean, and how they can go together.

We shouldn’t let the able throw around words to hurt us. But, we also need to look at why they hurt, or even if they should.

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