Sunday, October 5, 2008

let's pounce on what we haven't seen, shal we?

As a blind person, I can't help but cringe at the stupidity of these organisations of the blind who presume they represent my point of view. They're up in arms over this Blindness movie. Surely, there are more constructive ways of dealing with it than telling people not to even see it! You'd think they'd have learned something after what happened when people protested The Exorcist among other things. Protesting a film with objectionable portrayals of us only serves to give the movy and these portrayals yet more publicity. In addition, it increases the fear many sighted people have about offending us by accidentally saying or asking the wrong thing. That fear of accidental offence is often more a cause of isolation and disengagement with the world than the actual disability. There are days when I'd pay real money for people to just relax around me and not be afraid to bring up whatever it is that they're curious about, makes them uncomfortable, etc. Thanks to folks like the NFB, those shields are going to go up more. It'll be harder to get people to see me as a whole person worthy of friendship rather than just a charity case or ticking timebomb ready to explode at the slightest provocation. These organisations would have done so much better if they had quickly organised an informational campaign addressing said negative portrayals. Art should never be stifle but should be engaged with reasonably. They did the same thing when Mr. Ma goo came out. All they really acomplish is demonstrate what a narrow-minded bunch of idiots they are. Would they recognise a metaphor if it kicked them where it counted? In my experience, movies such as these are very helpful in the long run as they at least get sighted people to start thinking about us and usually lead to their being more apt to ask questions rather than assume their preconceptions are correct. Yes, I went through some uncomfortable moments after Scent of a Woman came out. People figured I could recognise them via their perfume or were interested in what their faces felt like. Sadly, nobody arranged for me to drive their sports car. I'm very thankful that people didn't take Daredevil as anything but the fantasy it was. I'm just not capable of dodging bullets, knives, and other deadly flying objects or besting hardened criminals in combat particularly in unfamiliar environments. In general, my experience is that people's innate common sense tends to prevail when it comes to what they take away from a work of art. While I'm tired of hearing that poem about the blind men and the elephant, I recognise it for the metaphor that it is and am not offended by it. Nore do I flip out whenever people sing Amazing Grace. I'm more concerned with CNIB pamphlets which inform people that they should avoid seating us at round tables.[Good grief, King Arthur! Look what you've done!] The same pamphlet exhorts people to strap us in themselves as if we wouldn't have the intellect to know how to belt up.

I expect I'll see Blindness so to speak when it's available on DVD. I can then play it in my talking computer as it has speech output and most DVD players are harder to use with the same degree of control. The extras will doubtless be more interesting than the main feature. I've just begun reading the book which is available in mp3 format from the CNIB library. Thank goodness they get core services like that right. So far, I've encountered nothing all that unreasonable. Suddenly going blind is far more devastating than living that way one's whole life. The author has done justice to that as far as I can tell. I've heard that people are depicted as incapable of dressing themselves once they've gone blind in the movie. That certainly annoys me. However, so does hearing endlessly about Helen Keller, Louis Braille, and that sightless bane to all of us self-respecting couch potato's who decided to go and climb Mount Everest for a lark. Go figure. Most people are going to realise that they aren't suddenly going to forget how to physically dress themselves, eat, and so-forth just because they can no longer see. I'd much rather deal with that misconception when necessary than have people afraid to get rid of it by asking me. The whole objection about blind people portrayed as monsters is so outright stupid as to barely even be worth addressing. You're dealing with a whole city of freshly blinded folks. There are definitely going to be some bad apples. Also, you've got the complete breakdown of society to contend with in addition to a lot of human tragedy which would result if people just began suddenly and inexplicably losing their sight in the middle of normal activity. I tend to be pretty optimistic about people's motives. However, even I recognise that when times get desperate, people will take advantage of others and do terrible things when the general consequences of criminal actions have been removed.

This past week hasn't been a terrific one for writing. I seem to be going through another stretch of poor sleeping. I go to sleep quickly enough but then tend to awaken extremely early in the morning before I've had more than four or five hours at best. I finally caved in and had a sleeping pill last night and feel very well rested today. Hope that lasts into this week. I'm taking up orientation and mobility lessons after around five weeks and am also going to begin training a woman wanting to know more about how to use her computer. Thanks to having written my guide, I'll actually get to meet one of the people who it has helpped. That's quite a nice change from all the emails I've received although I certainly enjoy those. A new version of that Klango Player is going to be released this week as well. I look forward to examining the changes made. It's a good initiative with a lot of long-term potential. Yesterday's episode of DNTO on CBC Radio1 was very nifty. Their subject was night time and all of its surrounding psychological ramifications. Very interesting indeed. On the Discovery Channel, I also took in a show about exterminating vermin. Somewhat disgusting but nonetheless of interest. I wouldn't mind feeling what one of the T-Rex traps they talked about felt like, safely held open and preferably sans rat.

Tonight, I'll be having dinner out with Janene. We'll do our usual thing at Symposium. Hard to beet two deserttes for the price of one plus overall excelent food and friendly staff. It makes for a very nice end to a quiet weekend.

1 comment:

Heather said...

I haven't seen the film yet, but the book really is quite extraordinary. Saramago just published a new one: 'Death With Interruptions.' I'm looking forward to reading it - it's about a world where people suddenly stop dying.