[nfb-talk] National Federation of the Blind Comments on Saturday Night Live Segment

John G. Heim jheim at math.wisc.edu
Mon Dec 15 21:06:52 UTC 2008

My opinion ion this is about the same as my opinion about the reaction to 
the movie "Blindness". I think it's counter-productive to get huffy. Instead 
of criticizing SNL, the NFB should have seen it as an opportunity to educate 
the public.  Calling the skit an "attack" is not going to do any good.

Can you ever make fun of blindness?  Is that ever funny? Here's a link to a 
description of the skit:

It says the skit started with the actor portraying Gov. Paterson rolling 
around the set in a chair. It says he attempted to shake ands and missed. It 
says he was holding a chart up side down. It says he blocked the camera 
shot. I have to say, I've done the equivalent of all those things. I kind of 
think that is funny.

On the other hand, you shouldn't make fun of people for something they can't 
control. It's embarrassing to find out you're blocking the shot when 
somebody is trying to take a picture. When you make fun of that, you have to 
do it in a way that shows that you get that. If not, it's not funny, it's 
just cruel.

It would have been way funnier if Governor Paterson had been depicted as 
competent  in spite of his disability. Well, better than the guy from 
Illinois anyway. Paterson might not be able to tell which side of a chart is 
up but he's not so stupid as to try to sell a Senate seat when he knows he's 
already being investigated.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Freeh,Jessica (by way of David Andrews <dandrews at visi.com>)" 
<JFreeh at nfb.org>
To: <david.andrews at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 12:45 PM
Subject: [nfb-talk] National Federation of the Blind Comments on Saturday 
Night Live Segment



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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