[nabs-l] Saturday Night Live skit

Robert Spangler spangler.robert at gmail.com
Sat Dec 20 18:00:26 UTC 2008

It is true that we are seen this way by the general public but the only 
thing that we can do, individually, is be as independent as we can be 
and show those around us that we are not how they see us.  that is truly 
all we can do.  We can't go whining over issues like this skit and 
trying to tell people that they can't perform such acts because then we 
come off as whiney and bitchy about everything.  People will dislike us 
even more.  So just let it go and move on, people.

Jedi wrote:
> Hey all.
> It's been interesting reading the back and forth regarding the recent SNL skit.
> Personally, I'm glad the National Center staff spoke up.
> When I first saw the SNL skit, I had a hard time understanding what
> was so frustrating about it. Then, I read a comment made by a sighted
> person who saw the skit and said that the fake Paterson was constantly
> groping for things, disoriented, shifty in body movements as the
> classical stereotype of blindness suggests, and he was squinting an
> awful lot. Add these subtle signs to the upside down graph, the
> comment made about blind/disabled people being off and therefore
> appropriate for government, and the fact that, at the end of the skit,
> blindness was clearly named as one reason why Paterson is (but
> shouldn't be appropriate for the Senate seat, and you have something
> not only frustrating, but downright damning. Can you imagine what
> riots would insue if they'd made fun of Paterson's racial make-up?
> It's one thing to make fun of a politician for whatever she or he
> might have done in the past (which I find rude anyway), but the whole
> way blindness was portrayed was a cheap shot and totally unnecessary
> to the political commentary about the various shananigans politicians
> get up to from time to time (I.E. sex scandals and drug abuse).
> I think National's response to "Blindness" can be similarly explained.
> The fact that blindness was used as a metaphor for ignorance was the
> least of National's issues with the film. It's a tired metaphor in my
> opinion; More than that, "Blindness" showed the blind as disgusting
> and helpless, and it paired sight with civility and dignity. That's a
> lot more problematic than just a stupid metaphor, don't you think?
> I think the real issue here is that both cases, the SNL skit and
> "Blindness," show hidden attitudes about the blind held by the general
> public. Here's what I gather from both presentations (which I have
> viewed): the blind are not only unfit for government, but we're
> disgusting people who lay waste to everything we touch; we are
> incapable of guiding ourselves let alone caring for our personal
> needs; we are just a little off along with the rest of the disabled
> community. If you think about it, the only thing that makes
> "blindness" work as a modern parable and the sNL skit work as comedy
> is the fact that folks view some truth in the images portrayed. If the
> SNL skit and the "Blindness" film don't get you frustrated, that
> should.
> I just want to point out one more thing before I go. Blindness has
> captured the imagination of the public for a long time, and it's been
> used in plays and popular literature (including film and music) since
> classical antiquity. Remember Dr. Jernigan's analysis of blindness in
> literture? I saw a lot of similarities between these modern depictions
> of blindness and those done in the middle ages. And while i'm sure no
> direct harm toward blind people was ever meant on the part of the
> artistic public, it still frustrates me all the same.

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