Oh quick…

March 22, 2007 at 9:51 PM (disabled vets)

Go here, and read some great stuff about rehabilitation health care….and why the disability community could have informed those handling health care for the army that “supporting the troops” means standing up and paying for some serious rehab…

Permalink Leave a Comment


March 22, 2007 at 9:39 PM (Uncategorized) (, )

We all know that there are false stereotypes associated with people with disability that are particularly pronounced in mainstream media.

I’m wondering why some bother me and some, I cheer for….

For example:

An episode of the legal drama “The Practice.”

Christopher Reeve played a calculating, charming, evil guy…I believe he and his PCA/Love interest plotted to off the characters wife so they could be together, all the while counting on the sympathy generated by the character’s impairments to allow them to get away with murder.

I loved it.  [I was able to separate Reeve’s “real life” obsess-for-the-cure stance,which *did* bother me, from the job he did with the episode.]  He, and the writing made the viewer believe that quite simply  here was a flawed, imperfect, dangerous person who happened to be in a chair.  One got the sense, and Reeve played it that way…that this villain would have been a scary amoral dude whether he was in the chair or not.  So, I was cackling with glee watching him.

Then there was the Hallmark Channel’s watered down legal drama…a series of episodes too long for a miniseries and too short to be called a “series.”

This past weekend, it was all about a  a person in a chair due to an accident…the poor woman had to attend the trial of a cookie cutter cute blond who was widely believed to have offed a mutual aquaintance. [and, it burns me up that I’ve loved the little known actress, Joanna Going, since she starred in the short-lived “Dark Shadows” revival in 1991.]

Aside from the crappy writing, and the tired phoned in performance by a sober and bland John Larroquette…

You guessed it.  She was a *fake* gimp….the character faked the severity of her injuries in order to insulate herself from prosecution….the persistent prosecutor and a witness tricked the murderer into running madly out of her home after a missing and possibly injured pet.

(I *told* you the writing stank.)

The second used an able bodied actress (cheat number 1), to play a character who was able bodied but playing the jury as though she was actually impaired. (Cheat number 2)  [Do you need a drink yet…?  To throw at the television?]

This reinforced all the negative stereotyping around how much we are supposed to be able to do, according to an able bodied person… “Look! They’re faking!”

Or, a professor with braces and crutches  in the DaVinci Code.

This villain bothered me where Reeve’s did not because of all the religious baggage the film carried…the moralizing was subtext but it was there….”Look at him, the crutches, the awkward gait…you think he’s lovable, a kind of grown up intellectual Tiny Tim, but his differences are only further proof that he’s one of the Bad Guys.”

And, evertime a writer takes the easy way out, and makes impairment a symbol for bad behavior, [or saintly martyrdom] it makes it more difficult for us when we prove our humanity.

Permalink 2 Comments