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Christopher Shinn at the Atlantic: Disability is not just a metaphor

The late, disabled playwright John Belluso had a theory about why actors who play disabled characters often win Oscars: It is reassuring for the audience to see an actor like Daniel Day Lewis, after so convincingly portraying disability in My Left Foot, get up from his seat in the auditorium and walk to the stage to accept his award. There is a collective "Phew" as people see it was all an illusion. Society’s fear and loathing around disability, it seems, can be magically transcended.
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Just caught up with some of my Blogging Against Disablism Day/May 1 blog posts. (I own my slowness). One particularly apt post talked about educating kids about what "disability" means using the Incredible Hulk and modeling clay.

From Never That Easy, 1 May 2014
begin quote  "And I guess it isn't exactly super-normal that you change into a big green monster when you're angry either" suggested her brother, ALMOST apologetically. "Well, I'm not sure disabled and normal are exact opposites there, bud" I corrected him gently (because you try and correct a 14 year-old any other way), "but yeah, I think maybe Hulking out could stretch into the disability category if we really tried, because it's something in his body that he's not always got control over and a lot of disabilities -" I gestured to myself "are kind of like that. Cousin Sara once called her seizures Hulking out." (Our cousin has epilepsy.)
 quote ends
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A review from 2013 about the show "Legit" (which I recently watched the first season of on Netflix!)

Think Progress: With 'Legit', FX Tackles Disability, Independent Living, and Sex, and makes it all very Funny

----

GabbySilang at Tumblr:

And now, too many words about mental illness in s4 of Rookie Blue

This post discusses the portrayal of a character with bipolar disorder.
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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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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

Tue, Feb. 25th, 2014 02:49 pm
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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.
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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.
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[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)
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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
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[personal profile] jesse_the_k
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 )
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[personal profile] sasha_feather
[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.
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[personal profile] jesse_the_k
I've now spent more than fifteen minutes on Facebook, and I'm still overwhelmed. Perhaps this group will be of interest to us?

Beneath the SURFACE: Disability and Popular Culture
is a digital repository that will provide scholars, practitioners, editors, and its own readership with the opportunity to engage in a broad array of reflective discussions about the representations of disability that exist “beneath the surface” and explicitly within mainstream cultures both nationally and internationally. Genres and subgenres that do not typically receive sustained attention in mainstream scholarly literature will be showcased.

Tragically, they first chose an offensive name, which lives on in its URL
https://www.facebook.com/groups/TwihardsGleeksAndAvatards

(no subject)

Sun, Oct. 13th, 2013 06:04 pm
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Liz Henry: Taking up Too Much Space

I am not an emergency or an obstacle! Get used to it! My public presence will just have to be YOUR mild inconvenience!

Liz Henry: The Superfest Dissie Awards

It was lovely to feel the audience reaction all around me as we cheered and booed how bad all the performances were as they played off stereotypes and made disabled people the butt of humor. It was often a hard call which movie to boo the loudest for as the judges watched and listened to the crowd, because the spectrum of Hollywood badness was so vast!

Links 12 Oct 2013

Sat, Oct. 12th, 2013 01:41 pm
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[personal profile] sasha_feather
EJ Dickson at the Medium: Ricky Gervais is Being Offensive, but Not in his Usual Way. A review of the new Netflix show "Derek." (Sept 25)

David Perry: Ricky Gervais and the Angel/R*tard Dialectic. A response to the above article.
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They're Mad I Tell You: the Portrayal of Mental Illness in Video Games by Sarah Nixon.

This post discusses horror games that feature asylums; it has one disturbing image.

The noticeable lack of realistic, appropriate, and approved characters with mental illness as well as the frequency in which the crazed enemy trope is used points to the severity and widespread control this malicious representation has in gaming.
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TBQ Tumbles: CarolCon: The Enemy Within and Chronic Illness

Chronic illness isn’t very glamorous. It’s more of a daily grind that’s frustrating for you and boring for everyone else. People tend to want to tune it out in real life, so why show it in a story?

But if you’re someone like me it means another way to see yourself in a story. Even more when it’s seeing someone like Carol have the same frustrations you do over the things you can’t do, over the setbacks, or even over one more freaking doctor’s appointment.

1 link: Teen Wolf

Wed, Jun. 26th, 2013 10:23 pm
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[personal profile] sasha_feather
Dogunderwater at Tumblr: Untitled (via metanews)

This is about the character Erica; since I don't watch the show I don't know if it's spoilery or not. The post is about a magical cure for her epilepsy.
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[personal profile] sasha_feather
This blog post is from 2011 but I hadn't seen it before and thought it might be of interest:

N.K. Jeminsin: Why is Oree Shoth Blind?

It is about the main character in The Broken Kingdoms and addresses an issue with "magical disability".

1 Link: Community

Mon, Jun. 17th, 2013 03:54 pm
sasha_feather: Amelie, white woman with dark hair, smiling cheerfully (Amelie)
[personal profile] sasha_feather
Someone Who Moves Like You

And Julia, who had endless words for a great many small and unimportant things, couldn’t say anything more about Abed beyond he moves like me.

Abed Nadir, you see, is an autistic character.

July 2014

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