So the trailer for the Wonder movie came out. What to say?
Yay craniofacial conditions in the mainstream movies. Boo to the continued history of faking disabilities in the media. I get it – the pool of actors who actually have craniofacial conditions who they could have used is minuscule… but what kind of message does that send?
To the young people with disabilities, does it invalidate them being actually part of the story? Is it yet another message that they aren’t good enough? Is it yet another marginalization?
I’m hoping the media blitz associated with this movie is inclusive of the craniofacial community at least, but I’m worried about tokenism and overly-saccharine emo pieces.
The tag line of the book and movie is #ChooseKind. Is taking actual disabled people out of the story kind to them, and to us as a community? Will it actually promote kindness, or will it further the othering of that-which-cannot-be-shown-onscreen? We shall see.
I was set to post holiday photos today. Parties, elf hats, skating rinks… you name it, I’ve photographed it in the last few weeks.
But then last night, curled up in bed after a long workday with, being the librarian that I am, the NYT Book Review… I saw the above quote.
And it frustrated me.
WHY does this smart, educated man (and his family) cloak a childhood speech impairment as a joke? Was it because of the disconnect between his speech and his chosen activities? Was it because speech impairments are automatically associated with other difficulties?
Unlike Steve Johnson, I did not “grow out of” my speech impairment, and I live my life as an accomplished, professional member of society with that speech impairment.
I know the consequences. Just this week, a patron at work refused to let me help him. Because of my speech. I am underestimated in casual encounters. An amazing amount of people think speech and intellect are related.
And as long as intellectual elite like Steve Johnson and the New York Times reinforce these ideas? It will not change.