[nabs-l] Comments on Saturday Night Live Segment

Carrie Gilmer carrie.gilmer at gmail.com
Tue Dec 16 22:13:58 UTC 2008


I've been reading your posts with interest. I have not had time to look at
the skit yet, or to think too deeply about it, but plan to over the next few
days.
The things I am considering are...
It is a fairly known thing that Governor Patterson does not use a cane or a
dog, yet he is well within the definition of blindness. To a sighted person
he looks visibly blind--meaning you can tell his eyes don't work. It is my
understanding he also never learned Braille. I have heard that this was in
large part due to his family's feelings that he not be raised "looking
blind" in order to give him the most opportunities. It seems a bit ironic
that he now is portrayed "looking blind" in the most stereotypical way as he
has risen to a point of political success that few ever attain. It also
seems ironic that he has been observed as being a bit bumbling and
stereotypical as he does not have good skills in non-visual techniques.

So...the thing is if he looked like a real blind person skilled in
non-visual techniques he would not be "bumbling" or needing to have
everything read to him by readers...

I also know that SNL has done no parody of Obama as a stereotypical black
man. Might there be a skit in the works of a simple, watermelon eating scene
from the oval office yet to come? Indeed I think not, and the public outcry
would be deafening. A funny parody parodies something based in reality--
The reality of blind people is not that blindness means fumbling and
bumbling--lack of proper training does.

It is also harmful because of our minority status, it is just one more on
the side of perpetuating the myths, lies and legends. Every portrayal means
so much more to us, in hurtfulness or joy (in the case of a good portrayal)
and in its impact in the public's mind--for good or for harm... 

 
 
Carrie Gilmer, President
National Organization of Parents of Blind Children
A Division of the National Federation of the Blind
NFB National Center: 410-659-9314
Home Phone: 763-784-8590
carrie.gilmer at gmail.com
www.nfb.org/nopbc
-----Original Message-----
From: nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf
Of J.J. Meddaugh
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 1:37 PM
To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list
Subject: Re: [nabs-l] National Federation of the BlindComments onSaturday
Night Live Segment

That's far from the truth. There's been several instances of blind 
characters on television portrayed in the way you're hoping for.
Personally, I found the skit funny.

J.J. Meddaugh - ATGuys.com
A premier licensed Code Factory distributor

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Sarah Jevnikar" <sarah.jevnikar at utoronto.ca>
To: "'National Association of Blind Students mailing list'" 
<nabs-l at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 3:21 AM
Subject: Re: [nabs-l] National Federation of the Blind Comments onSaturday 
Night Live Segment


>I agree with you Joe but at the same time this whole thing is hurtful too.
> Why is it that every time a blind person is on TV they're acting stupid or
> are incompetent. I'm glad they did this but did they have to make it look
> like he was bumbling around, squinting, and in the way of the camera for
> other skits? Surely they can poke fun at him without all of that.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org] On 
> Behalf
> Of Joe Orozco
> Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 11:36 PM
> To: 'National Association of Blind Students mailing list'
> Subject: Re: [nabs-l] National Federation of the Blind Comments onSaturday
> Night Live Segment
>
> Wait, are we talking about the video clip or the press release?  ...
> Kidding, Santa will surely drop coal in my stocking for taking it there, 
> but
> it seems to me that just as the New York governor has a certain amount of
> political capital, the NFB has an equal amount of publicity quota.  I have
> never known the organization to feel so sensitive about every little thing
> that is thrown around about blindness.  We should not make official
> statements for comical nonsense that will be forgotten in a few days and
> reserve those for when statements are required to drive real impacts about
> real issues.  I, for one, found it gratifying that SNL informed millions 
> of
> people out there that a blind person is capable of becoming a governor. 
> As
> for the humor, I found it gratifying that the producers thought blind 
> people
> important enough to be swept up in jokes just like any other member of
> society.  Next time I hope Dr. Maurer is invited on the show.
>
> Best,
>
> Joe Orozco
>
> "Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity."--James 
> M.
> Barrie
> -----Original Message-----
> From: nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org] On 
> Behalf
> Of T. Joseph Carter
> Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 6:39 PM
> To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list
> Subject: Re: [nabs-l] National Federation of the Blind Comments onSaturday
> Night Live Segment
>
> Well that was five minutes of my life I'll never get back.
>
> That was supposed to be funny?  It was just stupid.
>
> Joseph
>
> On Mon, Dec 15, 2008 at 04:43:37PM -0500, pyyhkala at gmail.com wrote:
>>Hi,
>>
>>Here are some more articles, and a link to the skit.  I also have an
>>article I liked on Facebook, see below.
>>
>>NY Times:
>>http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/15/nyregion/15skit.html?_r=1&ref=todaysp
>>aper (the article has more detail on the controversy)
>>
>>You can also watch the skit in question at this link:
>>http://www.nbc.com/Saturday_Night_Live/video/clips/update-gov-paterson/
>>881501/
>>
>>You can read what the public is saying on Twitter at the link below
>>that does a real time search:
>>http://search.twitter.com/search?q=snl+blind
>>If using Jaws on the above Twitter page, if you press the number 2 (for
>>heading level 2) it will take you directly to the comments that people
>>post.  Twitter is a micro blogging service.
>>
>>Best,
>>Mika
>>Twitter Micro blog:
>>http://twitter.com/pyyhkala
>>Facebook:
>>http://profile.to/mika
>>
>>On 12/15/08, Linda Stover <liamskitten at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Hello,
>>>
>>> Could someone provide more info or links to more info concerning this
>>> particular situation?  I think it would be extremely helpful to
>>> understand if this is a spoof directed specifically at blindness, or
>>> if the spoof is more directed to certain "blindisms" that the
>>> governor frequently exhibits.  I know that when I was watching
>>> segments of this nature concerning the election on the show, certain
>>> quirks/phrases/mannerisms were used to excess to perhaps heighten
>>> humor/absurdity.  Keeping this in mind, I'm wondering as I said what
>>> exactly the comics were paridying.
>>> Courtney
>>>
>>> On 12/15/08, Beth <thebluesisloose at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> 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 Americans-blind 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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>>>>
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