[nabs-l] Comments on Saturday Night Live Segment

Rania raniaismail04 at gmail.com
Fri Dec 19 12:23:55 UTC 2008


Joe I aggree with your second idea of boot camp for the sited. I think they 
will gain a better understanding of how as a blind person we get things 
done. I think this will help a lot.
Rania,
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Joe Orozco" <jsorozco at gmail.com>
To: "'National Association of Blind Students mailing list'" 
<nabs-l at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Friday, December 19, 2008 12:07 AM
Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Comments on Saturday Night Live Segment


Marc,

That's interesting.  I did not catch your post until Antonio responded to
it.  I've never known GMail to drop list messages, but regardless, you
clearly put thought into your message.  I'll briefly respond in kind:

First, religion, economy and politics do influence our upbring and play a
significant role in our choices as adults.  Nevertheless, Americans live in
an open society where our development is just as influenced by the diversity
of our peers as it was by our own childhood.  We do not live in a vacuum
devoid of exposure to a plethora of cultures, ethnicities and socioeconomic
classes.  In short, there is always something by which to compare yourself
to something or someone else.  The same media that tilts the depiction of
blind people is the very same media that blind people access to stay abreast
of technological advances, educational opportunities and role models.  The
point has nothing to do with any brand of conservatism.  It has to do with
access to information and training.  I do not believe that the high
percentage of blind people who are unemployed choose to be unemployed, but
the one quarter of the blind population that is employed is a scenario that
begs the question: How was this employment achieved?  Are we to believe that
only 26 percent of the population has successfully changed attitudes long
enough to get themselves hired?  I will venture to make a guess that the 74
percent unemployment rate is an outdated statistic that will actually drop
with the expansion of the aforementioned technological advances.  Perhaps I
am naïve indeed, but I am optimistic about our generation's place in the
workforce.

Second, blind people should not have to fight to be the odds.  Well, the
truth is that no one should have to fight to be the odds.  On a separate
point I believe challenges build character, but speaking directly to your
contention, you are suggesting blind people have an additional burden than
the sighted in their quest for success.  Now we have a philosophical
conundrum.  On the one hand there is the belief that blindness is nothing
more than a nuisance, that blindness is no more characteristic than the
color of your eyes and that with proper training you too can excel at
whatever you desire.  On the other hand it is being suggested that blindness
presents a unique set of challenges that significantly impair a person's
ability to compete on equal footing.  People can't have it both ways.  I am
not so strict as to believe there are not logistical challenges to a blind
person's journey to success.  My point, however, is that these challenges
have been met and overcome by scores of blind people under greater adversity
than is the case in today's world.  I believe our generation has been
spoiled by the achievements of our leaders, and when we are incapable of
obtaining a goal we would rather blame it on our environment, on
discrimination, on life, anything other than ourselves.  Life has never been
fair, and if people woke up feeling as though no amount of work could ever
pay off, there would be no point in getting up at all.  There are people who
fall through the cracks.  The rest of us should reach out, but do you
genuinely believe there are enough people out there willing to teach others
how to read, how to cross streets, how to advocate for themselves, how to be
generally independent?  If there is general disagreement that even high
levels of determination cannot guarantee success, I suggest there be a plan
of action to change this dismal fact.

Third, I'll grant you the history of the treatment of the blind is less than
pleasant.  If your point here was to suggest that Carrie's analogy of
blindness to slavery was in fact a valid one, I'll concede the argument.
History is replete with atrocities against humankind, and although I am well
aware you are not suggesting this notion, I would offer the reminder that we
not allow history to govern our future potential.

Fourth, my reference to the clucking chicken has to do with Ben Underwood's
use of clicking to familiarize himself with his surroundings.  Whether or
not the method is effective is a separate matter, but effective or not, it
is not socially acceptable.  I know that referencing social norms begs the
question, "what is normal?"  Yet the reality stands that such behavior lends
credence that blind people are special, and not in a good way.  Somehow
these are the examples that the media picks up and distributes, and I have
to wonder why this is the case?  Surely in our midst of 50,000 members there
are enough people who can go out as ambassadors to change these slanted
perceptions.  Or, is it that we only find ourselves highlighting the
negative publicity?  In either case, stereotypes exist of all social groups.
If a sighted person sees a blind person rocking, that sighted person will
assume that all blind people rock.  Is it fair?  Of course it's not fair,
but it's human nature that clouds the judgment of the blind as much as it
does of the sighted.  SNL picked up on stereotypical depictions of the
blind, but on the whole I do not see how their comedy will impair my quality
of life.  I recognize my actions in daily life among sighted peers will have
more of a profound impact than a show segment that would have been forgotten
had there not been an official statement that legitimized the show's humor.

Finally, the issue of the press release itself is a debatable matter.  I do
not think I am as concerned with the distribution of the press release as
much as I am about the impetus for its distribution.  My reasons, I think,
have already been sufficiently outlined.

Again, a very well-organized, very thought-provoking contribution to the
discussion.  I'm glad you came out of lurk mode and hope to see more of your
feedback.  We may not agree here.  I think I'll let it rest after this post,
but one thing I have learned from this thread is that while critics of the
NFB may accuse it of being too militaristic, I am wondering if it is not
militaristic enough...

In an additional response to Carrie's question of what I think we should do
with our influence, I will add two specific ideas:

1. We should design a mentoring program between blind people and sighted
ones.  The program should be used as a tool to eliminate the mentality of us
versus them, but on a more practical level I think I would learn more from a
sighted counterpart than I might from a fellow blind member.  No offense to
my blind peeps, but unless I am interested in a career in blindness, my
network needs to be out there, in the sighted world, where I hope to make a
name for myself.  Blind mentorship should not have to be an arrangement.  It
should be a natural occurrence, though there are multiple benefits to such
arrangements, so don't nobody go claiming I am anti-mentoring among the
blind.

2. Boot camp!  Are you surprised?  My conservatism is never far, but
seriously, two week sessions during the summer where adults travel to
Baltimore to get dipped in all levels of alternative techniques to get a
sense of what they could accomplish with the right attitude.  Are we going
to shake the status quo?  No, but I think it would be a damn fine start.

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 Antonio M. Guimaraes
Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2008 5:37 PM
To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list
Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Comments on Saturday Night Live Segment

Dear Marc,

Although I would generally disagree with you about the direct effect of the
Saturday Night Live skit on my life as a blind person, you have verry good
points.

First, the time and effort that went into writing the press release is right
on. Many of us have spent much more time debating it that it took Chris
Danielson to write and distribute it.

Then there is the question that blind people can so definitively decide to
get up in the morning and be successful, no matter the outside influences
governing society, and life. If such a thing were true, then we could, based
on often quoted unemployment rates among the blind,  say that blind people
are highly unmotivated, lazy, and disintrested in their own affairs. if this
describes any of our readers, and I am sure it does, she or he should learn
about the world, and the wonderful experiences to be had in it. To be sure,
there are lazy, and disinterested blind people in our midst, but this is not
the only factor in the 70 percent unemployment figures we so often cite. To
be sure, employers have ideas about blind people. One employer recently
hired someone else, even when it was clear the blind person performed better
than the sighted in the job interview. Whether this was a lack of knowledge,
or too much knowledge that current technologies were inaccessible to the
blind candidate, the blind person lost out. That blind person was me, some
time ago.

The writing of a press release by the national office will spark discussion
any time it is controvercial. National writes, leads, and speaks for the
membership, and when some members have issue with it, they will have at it
on our lists. The national office can't always speak for all members, of
course, but it tries to capture the general feeling set fourth by
resolutions, current thinking, or leadership actually leading. I wonder what
our discussions would have been for the past few days if national were
quietly ignoring this one.

Sincerely,

Antonio Guimaraes

----- Original Message -----
From: <mworkman at ualberta.ca>
To: "National Association of Blind Students mailing list"
<nabs-l at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 5:48 PM
Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Comments on Saturday Night Live Segment


Hello,

I haven't posted on this list yet, but this thread is compelling enough to
draw me out of lurker mode and into the conversation.

By way of introduction, my name is Marc Workman, and I'll be starting a Ph.D
in Philosophy at the University of Alberta in September.  For you americans,
that's in Canada where we spend all of our free time assuming that you know
nothing about us and pretending that we don't care even though we
desperately do.  That little bit of self-depricating, but not very funny,
poking fun at canadians was to show that I can take a joke, even if I can't
make one.

I find so much wrong with what you say Joe that this is likely to turn into
an essay.  I don't expect to change your mind (I saw the presidential
election discussions, and I witnessed your impressive ability to deflect
reasoned arguments without a second thought, and sometimes, it seemed,
without a first as well).  So this is really written for myself and whoever
else is interested.

First off, I always find it amusing when people assume that, once we reach
adulthood, we are these completely free, autonomous, rational beings that
independently choose whatever path we want.  This assumption is usually made
without the slightest awareness of how profoundly this conception of
ourselves has been shaped by religious, economic, and political changes over
the last 500 years.  Not so long ago, the kind of person you describe who is
capable of choosing his reality wasn't even conceivable.  Now it's taken as
a simple fact of nature, especially by americans and particularly a certain
brand of conservative american (though many others as well of course), that
we all freely and independently choose our reality.  But I'll just leave
that hopelessly internally contradictory position aside for now.

Second, to the question: is it impossible for blind people to make something
of themselves? The answer is obviously no.  But it's the wrong question to
ask.  We should be working to make it so that blind people don't have to
beat the odds, don't have to muster up anymore determination in order to
succeed than do the sighted.  The comment about the high level of
determination required of blind people suggests that this is not currently
the situation in which blind people find themselves, and for me, that cries
out for rectification, but you imply that it is an acceptable state of
affairs simply because it is always technically possible for blind people to
succeed, provided of course that they muster up a high enough level of
determination.

Third, There seems to be some ignorance about the history of the blind.
Blind people were, in fact, institutionalized in asylums, workshops,
prisons, and privately in the home.  Blind people were sterilized, in some
cases voluntarily (whatever that means) and, in other cases,
non-voluntarily.  An of course there is the Holocaust where disabled people,
including blind people, were actually killed.  Suddenly, the apple and the
orange don't seem so different, though I've never thought that apples and
oranges were so difficult to compare; it would be much harder to compare
apples with, say, submarines.  Anyway, I view the history of the blind as
adding up to more than mere discrimination borne of pity, but you may
disagree.

Fourth, I warned you it would be long, I don't recall ever hearing a blind
person cluck like a chicken, unless he was trying to goad someone into a
fight.  And this is one of the problems with the SNL skit: it was so far
from resembling anything close to an accurate depiction that it could only
be funny to those who know almost nothing about blindness and hold very low
expectations of the blind.  I hardly think SNL was shedding light on the
status quo.  You can't tell me you think any blind person would actually
wander back and forth in front of a camera like that.  Nor do I think a
blind person would show a graph upside down anymore that a sighted person;
in fact, I suspect it would happen less because we know that when we make
mistakes like that, it automatically gets assumed that it is a result of our
blindness rather than, say, just being in a rush, whereas a sighted person
can get away with making  the same mistake and shrugging it off.  The jokes
the writers made were not based on observing blind people in any meaningful
way.  They simply imagined how hard it would be to be blind, recalled the
bumbling blind man in past media portrayals, and came up with something
pethetically unfunny.  I grant, however, that 90% of SNL is crap, and so
this was par for the course, but I genuinely believe these portrayals have a
negative impact on me and the way I live my life.  Exaggerating Sara Palin's
mannerisms does little to perpetuate discrimination against any marginalized
group.  I don't think the same can be said of this particular skit, and this
is why it is worse than just making fun of a politician.

Finally, I don't understand why there is so much concern about writing press
releases.  It might make sense if there was a lot of time and effort going
into this issue, but it's only a press release.  It takes an hour to write
and no time to send off to a set of media contacts.  If the story gets
picked up, then, who knows, you might end up actually educating someone or
informing someone about the NFB.  If the story doesn't get picked up, oh
well, no real loss.  I really find it odd that people would take more time
condemning the writing of a press release than was actually spent writing it
in the first place.

Well, I'm sure I've alienated at least one of you, and probably more than
that, so I'll sign off for now.

Marc

-----Original Message-----
From: nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org]On
Behalf Of Joe Orozco
Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 12:14 PM
To: 'National Association of Blind Students mailing list'
Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Comments on Saturday Night Live Segment


Carrie,

Yes, I suppose people with mental disabilities do in fact create their own
version of reality according to their limited capacities.  Yet, unless you
are equating blindness to mental illness, I do not see how this extreme
example fits into the context of my position or the discussion in general.
People, blind and sighted, are born into a sphere of societal expectation.
The sphere is made up of the family's ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic
status, political affiliation, and in the specific case of blind people, the
individual's disability.  The individual could grow up choosing to follow
his generation's traditional path in life, or they could grow up looking for
the means to engineer their success in an area far removed from that which
society may have projected.  You either fail, or you succeed.  There are
only two choices in life, and the choice you make is the reality you choose
to live in.  Would you find it more acceptable if I used "environment"
rather than "reality?"

Breaking out of the trap of low expectations is not an easy task, but then,
that was the point of my prior post.  One need not work in rehab to
understand that blind people have to muster up a high level of determination
to make something of themselves.  But is it impossible?  Scores of people
who built profitable careers long before the advent of technology and
protective laws would probably respond with a resounding no.

Your excursion into the comparisons between blindness and slavery are
likewise beyond me.  African-Americans, as you point out, were not allowed
to become independent, productive or self-sufficient.  Blind people may be
discouraged from aiming for those three ambitions, but they have never been
prohibited from trying.  African-Americans were treated as commodities.
They were treated like animals.  Blind people may have faced their own set
of discrimination, but the discrimination was born of pity, not from
distaste, so please do not attempt to force a comparison between the apple
and the orange.

No, it would not be funny to mock the plight of African-American slaves.
But making fun of a black person does not mean the joke is meant to recall
memories of those terrible days where black people were treated like
commodities.  Minority jokes are more often based on culture.  People know
you do not invite a Hispanic to a birthday party unless you want their whole
family to come along.  Then again, you would not want to invite a Hispanic
unless you plan on them not bringing a gift, and if you drive by the party
and see more adults than children, it's probably a Hispanic hosting the
party in the first place.

As a Hispanic, am I offended by these funny jokes based on stereotypes?  Not
at all.  The stereotypes are probably true, and even if they're generally
not, we should remember that where there's smoke, there's fire.  Enough
people have engaged in a certain behavior to lend truth to the jokes
minorities swap amongst each other.  In other words, maybe there are enough
blind people out there stumbling about, clucking like chickens and looking
generally ridiculous that the general public has no choice but to lend
comedy to the population's appearance.  If you are a member of a targeted
population in someone's punch line, it is your choice to surpass that
stereotype, proving that the joke is just that, a joke.

Yes, I know there are times when slavery is used to poke fun at black
people, just as jokes are made of Hispanics' illegal immigration status.
This is raw humor, but even raw humor is preferable to becoming depressed
about a status that cannot be changed overnight.  You may as well laugh as
you go about the business of changing perceptions.  Your generation may be
appalled at the audacity of my generation's easy ability to be so
politically incorrect, but our generation is a lot more diverse and
accepting of this diversity.  Humor, raw or otherwise, is one of the ways we
get along, and I am glad blind people have their place in this sarcastic
existence.

If blind people do not want to be made fun of, maybe, just maybe, there
should be less rocking, less eye poking, less groping, less refusal to learn
Braille, less refusal to use a cane, less desire to talk about JAWS...I
mean, these are fundamental matters that have nothing to do with career
aspirations.

We want to criticize SNL for shedding light on the status quo?  One has to
wonder if people are mad because SNL is right or because we have not yet
done enough to fix the issue.  I vote for a combination of both.  Never mind
the press releases that prolong what would have been easily forgotten had it
been left alone.  In the NFB there is an unfortunate perception that all
blind people are tough, go getters, and with the right amount of training,
the world is yours.  I mean, you're preaching to the choir.  The NFB is a
small beacon of hope amid a much larger and growing population of blind
people.  In many ways the general public is no more mature than we were in
high school.  The ridiculousness of today will be forgotten in a few days,
so in the meantime, rather than complain about all the terrible things being
done to mislead the portrayal of blind people, let's use the strength of the
largest blindness organization to do something about it.  The world will not
be brought to its knees with the official proclamation of a press release.
Protests are as forgettable as the movie that necessitated them.

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: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 8:30 AM
To: 'National Association of Blind Students mailing list'
Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Comments on Saturday Night Live Segment

Dear Joe,
Reality is not what one creates for themselves-creating your own personal
reality is one of the definitions of mental illness. I don't think that is
exactly what you meant.

For a blind person raised in dependency and low expectations, yes once they
reach adulthood, life choices are theirs to make, however it is not anywhere
as simple and cut and dry and you say in reality.

Try working in Rehab for a few years.

I observed that more often than not it was easier for a person who grew up
with 20/20 who suddenly went blind to adjust than for someone who grew up
blind and was enabled into dependency--who never was allowed to travel
alone, or make their own decisions, or received enough Braille (or any) to
become a good reader.

Many of the stereotypes of black people have a basis in old reality. Black
people were not allowed to learn to read and write. Black people often cut
back on their work, slowed down, broke items, or faked illness in order to
slow production...because if they produced at peak capacity then that was
expected everyday--it was a form of resistance to slavery but whites came to
say blacks were dumb, lazy, irresponsible...

Is it funny to parody those behaviors that were a result of surviving
temporarily such an evil and inhuman system of treatment of blacks? Is it
funny to perpetuate the idea those behaviors are a true genetic basis in
blacks?

Blind people have been sent to the attic to live in secrecy, to asylums, to
the sidelines, to the rocking chairs, to the sheltered workshops, and today
when raised without skills often appear to exhibit the stereotypes due to
blindness--that is the portrayal--the results of this treatment, but the
reality is that eyesight has nothing to do with level of function or
competence--it is training and experience and opportunity. Lives are
devastated in reality. That is funny?

As a society we choose what is funny overall and what is acceptable--granted
some are always on the fringe, but they are a minority. The word f**k is
just a word--where is freedom of speech--why do we regulate it, call it
profane? We do place limits.

For those blacks who call each other nigger, they do so out of a deep sense
of inferiority and a warped attempt to reclaim calling themselves by a name
they choose and is respectable. Most blacks do not call each other nigger.

Blind people who put each other down by calling each other the names you say
are reaching for respectability in the same most pathetic way.

It can be funny when anyone trips or slips, sighted or blind. When the
tripping is due to lack of attention. When the tripping is due to denial of
opportunity and is always put out as the standard joke--well c'mon that joke
is monotonous and likely a thousand years old. Can't they come up with
something new, and is based in reality?

The fact remains that such jokes are perceived by the public as stretching
the truth and that the bumbling and fumbling are based on eyesight--when
that is totally false. If you think the perpetuation of that joke does not
perpetuate real discrimination I would say you are naïve at the least.

And as for blind justice being a positive--wasn't the guy able to like see
through walls practically? This is the other age old stereotype--if you are
not bumbling fools then you are mystical and amazing...that one doesn't do
justice either in my opinion.



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 Joe Orozco
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 8:31 PM
To: 'National Association of Blind Students mailing list'
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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>>>>> oose%40gmail.com
>>>>>
>>>>
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