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Book review

A book review of The WisCon Chronicles vol. 7, Shattering Ableist Narratives.

Access and Fandom: Disability Studies From a Feminist Science Fiction Perspective

Review by Katie Wagner and Alexis Lothian.
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accessibility issues in movie fandoms

A rant about movie fandoms and spoilers at my journal. I thought some people might commiserate. Or tell me to get over myself. Whichever. :)

1 link 31 March 2014: Frozen

The Third Glance: Disney's Frozen and Autism

I’m not saying that Elsa is an autistic character. I’m not saying that autism is a superpower like the magic in the animated film (obviously it is totally different!) All I’m saying is that Elsa’s childhood and coming of age experience that is portrayed in the film has a number of parallels to my own life, especially based around my being autistic. And I wanted to recognize that, because it made me really really happy. I almost never relate to movie characters that way, but I did, and it made me smile.
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Ableism in RPG gameplay

Jonathan Lavallee at Geek Feminism: Ableism in RPG gameplay

Thanks to [personal profile] j00j for this link.

1 link 27 Feb 2014

Derek Handley writing at Jim Hines' Blog:
Representation Without Understanding

At a very basic level, wheelchair users are not an under-represented group in fiction. We’re just very misunderstood.

Evil Albino Trope

Nalini Haynes writing at Jim Hines' blog:
Evil Albino Trope is Evil

The evil albino trope is lazy writing, creating a sense of ‘other’ by victimising a small minority group. The evil albino trope alienates albinos, punishing us for looking different and suffering bad eyesight. Reinforcing perceptions of incompetence and evil-ness in this people group is discrimination and victimisation.

1 Link 14 Feb 2014

Ada Hoffmann writing at Jim Hines' blog: Autism, Representation, and Success

Maybe we, as autistic people, need to be shown warts and all sometimes. Maybe what we need most desperately to see is that we can be visibly disabled, and unsuccessful, and fail to meet NT expectations in all kinds of ways, and be treated with all sorts of horrible ableism, and still be human. And still be lovable and worth something, even if no one else sees it.

Why that braille printer isn't worth a penny

It IS exciting to see kids interested in engineering, and I know [personal profile] selkiechick posted with the best intention.

However, that announcement pushed a whole row of my Assistive Technology Geek buttons, and I gotta rant. I'll can use the "BRAIGO" to illustrate why I get so hot under the collar. (My cred: I've hung out with people who use assistive technology since 1982; I designed and sold braille translation software and embossers in the late eighties; and I've personally depended on assistive technology since 1991.) Based on thirty year's close attention to the development/PR/funding/purchasing/abandonment cycle for assistive technology, here's my take on the BRAIGO announcement.

DESIGNERS GET COOKIES FOR PROTOTYPES, NOT AFFORDABLE PRODUCTS )

DEVELOPMENT WITHOUT EXPERT ENDUSERS IS POINTLESS  ) That's why the BRAIGO can't create useful braille.

PR BECOMES DISINFORMATION ) A $350 embosser would be an amazing thing. Hundreds of well-intentioned editors and readers are willing to take the inventor's word for it. But this device is not a embosser.

EXPERTS ARE AVAILABLE on REQUEST! ) We live in a press release culture: what the company wants to say is what we hear. Or in this case, what a 12 year old (who mentions absolutely no contact with braille users) says gets broadcast.


FAST FACTS RE EMBOSSERS & BRAILLE )

Start from the first dot at the RNIB's Learning Braille site or pick an excellent start for adults at the Achayra firm in India. Teach more at the National Federation of the Blind's Braille is Beautiful resource for kids.

tl;dr Just because assistive technologies are tools for people with disabilities doesn't mean we must accept only good intentions. We want the best engineers working on our designs, the best marketers making them affordable, and the best politicians making them subsidized.

Help me compose a rant.... I mean rebuttal.

I am on a committee of a conventions and we are talking policy. We are talking about medical documentation requirements for accommodations, and I am having a hard time finding the right words to tell them why this is a /terrible/ idea, and as a newb of sorts, I'd love to have some authority to stand on. Is there a good blog post or website out there already outlining the reasons why that is a bad requirement, and why?

Thank you.

(I promise, my next post will have content)

1 link: panel notes from Arisia

[personal profile] kate_nepveu: Arisia Panel: Blindness: More than Metaphor

Description:

Blindness has been used as a metaphor in fiction for centuries, a way to talk about knowledge, enlightenment, ignorance and agency. But for some people it is a simple fact of everyday life. We have moved away from using gender and appearance strictly as metaphor in stories (pretty = good, ugly = bad). Are we ready to look at disabilities as part of who people are, and start including them in more kinds of stories and in more diverse roles?

Gann Monroe, Sarah Smith, Rachel Tanenhaus, W. A. (Bill) Thomasson, Tanya Washburn (m)

1 link: Alt text and text descriptions

[personal profile] lightgetsin: Alt text

The point I'm getting to is if it's a question of utilitarian vs. evocative, I go evocative every time. Descriptions are opinions, yes. So have an opinion! Have fun with it. Embrace the personal nature of describing someone's art or photo. Become a participant in a pretty cool transmedia project.
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1 link 9 January 2014

Susan Nussbaum, HuffPo Chicago:
Disabled Characters in Fiction

Disabled characters are written into stories for one reason: the disability. Do most people actually believe real disabled people spend our days obsessing about being cured? Or rhapsodizing about killing ourselves? Here is the truth: Disabled people barely ever even think about our disabilities. When we do think about them, it's usually because we are dealing with an oppressive, systemic problem, such as employment discrimination. Can't there ever be a disabled character in a book or film just because?

From 11/19/2013

Eloquent Reflection on Sherlock (S3E2 Spoilers Abound)

Tor.com is hosting threads on the three episodes comprising Season 3 of the BBC's Sherlock. They're timed to the UK broadcast times, and enthusiasts like me who take advantage of TunnelBear and iPlayer to stream them before their U.S. premiere.

major SPOILERS for SHERLOCK season 3, episode 2 really SPOILERS )
sqbr: (genius!)
[personal profile] sqbr2013-12-02 13:55

Accessibility check on Twine Game

Hi! I decided to try making a Twine (text based html) version of my most recent visual novel since visual novels aren't very accessible, and want to make sure it actually is more accessible.

So! I would love feedback from people with screenreaders/colour issues/other visual issues that make using visual novels difficult on this game, "SOON". ("SOON" is the name of the game, you don't actually have to be super fast)

I'm still bug fixing, so you may or may not be able to actually finish the game, but just looking at a page or two is enough, and no download is required. Letting me know about bugs would also be great but I'll track them down myself eventually :)

I didn't mess with the default fonts/colours etc, on the assumption that anyone with specific needs will probably have custom css. Is that a reasonable assumption?

By the way, the game's protagonist is disabled themselves, and there's a little snark about accessibility in there amongst all the time travel :) Also, making a Twine version of a Renpy game turned out to be a pain and a half so I don't know if I'll do it again.

2 links: Welcome to Night Vale

[personal profile] sqbr: Why I don't want to live in Night Vale

As the most recent episode (34 - A Beautiful Dream) made explicitely clear, this is a town where ableism is rampant for exactly the same reasons it is in the real world (albeit with a surreal Night Vale spin), where disabled children are held up as tragic, pitiable figures doomed to misery as their calls for accessibility are either ignored or have to be destroyed for the greater good.

Tumblr: Welcome to Disabled Vale

A repository for Welcome To Night Vale headcanons and fanwork featuring disabled characters.

Unfortunately, many of the images at this Tumblr lack image descriptions.

1 link: Barriers at Long Island NY Dr Who convention

That Crazy Crippled Chick [twitter.com profile] spazgirl11 encountered frustration upon frustration at the Long Island Dr Who con held 8-10 November 2013. Wheelchair access promised but not delivered on the shuttle, leaving a paid-up member in the street; narrow corridors; heavy doors preventing travel; jam-packed panel rooms; and total indifference from con staff.

She wrote an outstanding complaint letter, posted in full here:

http://thatcrazycrippledchick.blogspot.com/2013/11/an-open-letter-to-staff-of-long-island.html

quoting from the rousing finish:
begin quote The Doctor says that he’s never met anyone who wasn’t important. But your convention and apathy towards accessibility made me feel like my fellow disabled Whovians and I were not important enough to be worth considering. I am saddened and disgusted that a convention representing such a diverse fandom failed to include people with disabilities. quote ends


I loved this letter because it was specific, forceful, yet not furious. From personal experience, I know how being furious makes me incoherent. When I can turn off the snark and fire, I can organize my complaint as thoroughly and clearly as [twitter.com profile] spazgirl11 has. Non-disabled people generally need all the detail we can stand to give to make their cons accessible.

(I'm trying not to make the "tone argument", but may have failed.)

1 link 19 November 2013

Inside Higher Ed: Disabilities Studies Meeting Wasn't Accessible to Those with Disabilities

“Access is a problem. No thought is really put into cultivating professors with a disability or students with a disability. And what happens is disability becomes a spectacle and it becomes a problem that has to be managed and solved," Peace said. "What took place at Hobart and William Smith Colleges was a microcosm of what could happen at any place.”

Entry tags:

Disability Advocacy messages

So my local con, Arisia, is having a Ribbon Game this year, a contest to see who can collect the most ribbons on their badges.

To this end, they are encouraging staff members to make their own ribbons to hand out. So I thought that perhaps I could come up with a good disability advocacy message to offer fans who want to be advocates. Last year my little pins with the icon for sign language, handed out to anyone who could sign, and wanted one, went over pretty well.

But I cannot, for the life of me think of a good message.

I thought about "Not all disabilities are visible" but that is well over the 28 character limit.

Suggestions, ideas? Is this a terrible idea?