[nabs-l] National Federation of the Blind Comments on SaturdayNight Live Segment

Arielle Silverman arielle71 at gmail.com
Tue Dec 16 07:10:23 UTC 2008


Hi all,

I do think there is a fundamental difference between  the SNL sketch
and the Blindness movie. In the Blindness movie, blindness is  used as
a means of depicting "the end of the world" or "the collapse of
humanity". The intent of the film is to shock, frighten, and disgust
viewers and so whether or not viewers actually believe that the
depiction of the blind is realistic, they will tend to experience
negative emotions while watching the blind characters. The SNL sketch,
on the other hand, is designed to make people laugh. Not only is humor
at the expense of minorities commonly accepted in our culture, so
people probably won't interpret these portrayals as being realistic,
but also when people watch the sketch they are in a happy mood and so
won't associate blindness with fear and disgust.

That said, I'm not thrilled about the way Gov. Paterson was portrayed
and I'm glad the NFB made a statement, but I don't think we should be
expending as much energy on this as we did with the Blindness film. I
also agree with the view that by using blindness as a characteristic
to spoof, we are being regarded as part of the mainstream. After all
many of us say we'd rather be teased like everyone else than treated
with extra kindness and compliments. Perhaps this is really a gesture
of inclusion.

Arielle

On 12/16/08, Linda Stover <liamskitten at gmail.com> wrote:
> Jo,
>
> I couldn't agree more with your remarks.  We are constantly demanding
> to be treated as equal citizens; in this instance, our demand has been
> met.  We are considered equal enough to be paridyed, taking it in the
> spirit of gest and humor, not a serious attack on the blind
> population.
>
> I also agree with you about the NFB's publicity quota; I think we all
> know the fairytale of the little boy who cried wolf.  I'm afraid that
> if we as an organization continue to be this sensitive about very
> minor things, no one will give our words due consideration when a
> serious matter of discrimination does arise.
> Courtney
>
> On 12/15/08, Jessica Kostiw <jessicac.kostiw at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I first heard of this a few minutes ago when my Mom saw it was coming up
>> on
>> CNN.  It was clearly making fun of blindness and I am very happy that the
>> NFB has taken a stand, and so quickly.  Disgusting!
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Beth" <thebluesisloose at gmail.com>
>> To: "National Association of Blind Students mailing list"
>> <nabs-l at nfbnet.org>
>> Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 2:20 PM
>> Subject: Re: [nabs-l] National Federation of the Blind Comments on
>> SaturdayNight Live Segment
>>
>>
>> Ijust watched CNN and they said something about this segment of SNL.
>> I don't watch SLNL, but I support Paterson, and someday I want to be
>> Governor, so there's no excuse for attacking Gov. Paerson for any
>> reason.
>> Beth
>>
>> On 12/15/08, Freeh, Jessica <JFreeh at nfb.org> wrote:
>>> FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> CONTACT:
>>>
>>> Chris Danielsen
>>>
>>> Public Relations Specialist
>>>
>>> National Federation of the Blind
>>>
>>> (410) 659-9314, extension 2330
>>>
>>> (410) 262-1281 (Cell)
>>>
>>> <mailto:cdanielsen at nfb.org>cdanielsen at nfb.org
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> National Federation of the Blind
>>> Comments on Saturday Night Live Segment
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Largest Organization of the Blind Criticizes Attack on Blind Americans
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Baltimore, Maryland (December 15, 2008): Chris
>>> Danielsen, spokesman for the National Federation
>>> of the Blind, said: "The biggest problem faced by
>>> blind people is not blindness itself, but the
>>> stereotypes held by the general public about
>>> blindness and blind people.  The idea that blind
>>> people are incapable of the simplest tasks and
>>> are perpetually disoriented and befuddled is
>>> absolutely wrong.  This misconception contributes
>>> to an unemployment rate among blind people that
>>> stubbornly remains at 70 percent.  That is why
>>> the National Federation of the Blind is
>>> disappointed that Saturday Night Live chose to
>>> portray Governor Paterson in a comedy routine
>>> that focused almost exclusively on his
>>> blindness.  Attacking the Governor because he is
>>> blind is an attack on all blind Americans­blind
>>> children, blind adults, blind seniors, and newly
>>> blinded veterans returning from Iraq and
>>> Afghanistan.  The National Federation of the
>>> Blind urges the producers of Saturday Night Live
>>> to consider the serious negative impact that
>>> misinformation and stereotypes have on blind
>>> people before continuing in this unfortunate vein of humor."
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> ###
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
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