[nabs-l] Comments on Saturday Night Live Segment

Serena serenacucco at verizon.net
Thu Dec 18 22:28:41 UTC 2008


Hi Joe

I honestly didn't watch the skit, but I think the reason we cry fowl when 
blind people get made fun of is that blind people who make fun of others do 
it, knowing they're joking around and knowing what might be going too far. 
Some sighted people might not.  In college, a blind friend of mine (not on 
this list) didn't have great blindness skills.  My friend Anthony (who some 
of you may remember is a wheelchair user) and I certainly vented to each 
other about things we felt our friend could do better, but we always kept 
our mouths shut and never mentioned any of our feelings to ignorant sighted 
students.  One of my sighted acquaintances badmouthed my blind friend to me 
and I didn't tolerate it!  Although I'll admit she was right about one or 
two things she claimed, she was wrong about most of them and had no basis 
for them.

Serena


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Joe Orozco" <jsorozco at gmail.com>
To: "'National Association of Blind Students mailing list'" 
<nabs-l at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 9:30 PM
Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Comments on Saturday Night Live Segment


> Carrie,
>
> Reality is what a person creates for himself.  Blind people who are told
> they could be doing more to reach their potential shun such encouragement,
> chalking it up to one more militaristic ploy of the NFB.  A vast number of
> blind people may not have been exposed to adequate levels of socialization
> growing up, but eventually the blind person matures, recognizes the
> achievements of his sighted peers and then makes a choice as to whether or
> not they want to receive certain training in alternative techniques to
> behave like those peers.  If the average blind person, or real blind 
> person
> as you say, were trained in alternative techniques, the David Patersons of
> the world would be far and few between, and our work in the NFB would be
> more about socializing than it would be about advocating.
>
> I think people were offended by the segment because television mocked
> reality.  We are too defensive to confess that the fumbling blind man is
> sadly the rule, not the exception.  After all, would you not agree that 
> the
> more difficult aspect of our work is working on blind people themselves?
>
> I don't know that SNL has made fun of Obama for being black.  I'll bet 
> South
> Park beats them to it, and yes, there may very well be an outrage.  Yet
> other peoples' sensitivities should not be our ticket to moan every time 
> the
> blind are the punch line to a joke.  People of all shapes and colors have
> something to be made fun of, and there is no reason why we, in our attempt
> to be treated equally, should laugh at SNL's skit about Sarah Palin's
> inability to think or speak but cry fowl when the blind are shown to be 
> less
> than perfect.
>
> Unfortunately there are hierarchies among the blind according to visual
> acuity.  Either because this hierarchy exists, or because we are just 
> human,
> we poke fun at each other for tripping over this or spilling that. 
> Somehow
> I gather from this thread that it is okay for blind people to laugh at 
> other
> blind people.  Some blind people go around calling each other blindies,
> blindos, blinks and whatever other lables are out there, and yet somehow 
> the
> sighted public is not qualified to join in the amusement?
>
> I just don't get it...
>
> 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 Carrie Gilmer
> Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 5:14 PM
> To: 'National Association of Blind Students mailing list'
> Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Comments on Saturday Night Live Segment
>
> 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=todays
>>>p 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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