On inspiration
January 29, 2007 11:26 PM   Subscribe

On inspiration, and more from Ragged Edge, the disability rights rag. See also: The Bancroft Disability Rights Collection, ADAPT, and Disabled in Action.
posted by serazin (4 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not disabled. Sometimes, this whole thing about disabled rights seems rediculous--Partly because, sometimes, maybe it is.

However, I had a ring-side seat to watch a beautiful, intelligent young man have his life and expectations crumble to ashes. In his second year at university, he started having weird problems. Falling down, a bit of incontinence, weakness. It took awile to figure out, but eventually he found out he has MS.

Through his eyes I learned how many of the things that seem rediculous to many of us are really little things that make real life far more liveable. Also I got to see how stinking petty some businesses can be about compliance with regulations for the disabled.
posted by Goofyy at 2:05 AM on January 30, 2007

But here enters a rather large problem of hypocrisy. Normals, in fact, want to feel that they matter more than those labeled abnormal. From infancy, Americans are taught to achieve and defend their normality, first by walking, talking, and becoming toilet trained, and then by mercilessly teasing those who lag behind. We are taught that being normal is right and good, and that everyone wants to be normal.

yup--excellent stuff here--thanks!
posted by amberglow at 4:15 PM on January 30, 2007

this too: What the hell are they talking about?.

It seems that disabled people are so outside the bounds of normality that we come to represent a quasi-divine "meaning of it all," the pure core back to which those stuck in boring old normality want to be transported. To serve adequately as this vehicle of meaning, the disabled inspirer must cooperate by being welcoming, and never ever being bitter. There are no bitter inspirers.

Indeed, in order to inspire, Helfgott must embrace the very norms which first oppressed him. Rather than having his difference banished and controlled in a psychiatric hospital, Helfgott now overcomes his own difference, on behalf of the normals. He overcomes his otherness, he triumphs. They need only clap.

Here we see the contradictory essence of this form of inspiration: Helfgott offers "transport" away from everyday social boundaries toward an imaginary brush with true meaning while simultaneously reinforcing those same boundaries by overcoming his difference for those who made him "other" in the first place.

posted by amberglow at 4:17 PM on January 30, 2007

Amazing article, and a great site. Thank you very much!
posted by agregoli at 7:23 AM on February 1, 2007

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