Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Art and language

From the L.A. Times: A new film about a troupe of disabled performers delivers a message of empowerment.

As I read the first paragraphs of the story, I dreaded that the director, Liu Xiao Cheng, was using disadvantaged people for his personal gain. But, as I read further, it seems he genuinely wants to change how people think about abilities.

"It wasn't enough for this troupe to arouse people's mercies," he said. "We wanted their respect."
As I reread the article, it is the columnist's use of language that triggers feelings of bias, "blind dancers," "deaf dancers," "blind singers." By saying, "blind dancer" he focuses on the disability, rather than the person. By removing "hearing-impaired" from "host" in the following paragraph, the theme can sing:
At each performance, a host uses sign language to express the troupe's theme -- that it does not take sight or hearing or full physical faculties to produce gorgeous art.
Beautiful.

1 comment:

geezer said...

I'm only on one Working Group any more: EOWG and we are still conundrumized by the problem of talking about whatever we intend changing via the use of such labels as "disabled".

"Labels are suitable for bottles, not for people" is a notion to which we claim to subscribe, but it's hard to avoid because after all there ARE PWD, aren't there?

Actually not. The fundamental issue is that we are all in this together, members of one another, and endowed with certain inalienable rights - right?

As the connections explode (already at 3X10^9) towards "ten to the ten" it becomes evident that we are each others' human shields and hostages.

Topeka's Bro. Phelps rails mightily http://www.godhatesfags.com/ and is an almost comic figure so that it's hard to tell if he's satire or simply madness. But the site seems to be professionally crafted.

As you said (personal communication) it might be best to behave as if there were no need for a "business case" and to deal with Universal Design without recourse to the separate (but equal) issue of "accessibility" since of course it's as inherent a requirement as validation of the techno kind.

Love.