I was away for a week and came home to find this thread full of ignorance, arrogance, and patronization from people with whom I have enjoyed several years of online camaraderie and mutual earned respect. To call it disheartening is to understate it.
As Mike Gebert pointed out, the case itself was not decided. Only the plaintiff’s right to bring it to court was decided. And it was decided on extremely solid precedents, not to mention the Department of Justice’s forcefully stated and long-standing policies, regulations, and interpretations.
So I am not going to argue the merits of the case. Instead, I am expressing my deep disappointment at the responses posted by people here. People of whom I thought better, and expected better.
Some of you declared the plaintiff, being deaf and blind, couldn’t possibly “appreciate” the film “for physical reasons”. What are your qualifications for making this announcement? Are you deaf and blind yourself? Why not also declare unequivocally that amputees cannot “appreciate” watching Ursain Bolt run the 100 metres “for physical reasons”?
I am deaf and I am having surgery this week to save the vision in one eye. You think I can’t enjoy films “for physical reasons”? Then maybe you have some other explanation for the thousands of videos in my house and the two film books I’ve written? or for my presence on NitrateVille itself?
Several of you appear to think it is “good enough” to give the plaintiff a Braille version of the screenplay, assuming such exists. Who are you to make that decision? How about I sit you down and give you an ASL rendition of the movie, without the benefit of either video or audio to assist you – will you consider that “good enough” for yourself? Will you be pleased that I had the arrogance to decide it was “good enough” for you, without bothering to consult you first?
Will you also have the balls to stand up and declare flatly that women should be satisfied to get paid 87 cents for every dollar men get paid? It’s “good enough” for them, isn’t it, since they have “physical reasons” that prevent them from appreciating a full dollar’s payment.
Your postings are appallingly characteristic of the presumption that able-bodied people “know what is best” for people with disabilities. Newsflash: You don’t.
Look at the paragraph at the top of page 5 of the decision:
McGann has experienced movies in theaters for many years. He enjoys attending movies in person for a number of reasons; among others, it affords him the opportunity to participate in discussions about the movies with his friends and family. Before his wife passed away in 2001, she would provide him with tactile interpretation during movies in the theater. Since then, McGann has attended movies at a local Carmike Cinema.
Does that sound like someone who is unable to “appreciate” films “for physical reasons”? To the contrary, it establishes that he has been enjoying them for more than 17 years plus however many years he was married before his wife’s death.
A large proportion of the Deaf community has Usher’s syndrome, the same thing the plaintiff has. I’ve worked with countless examples of these folks, including my deaf-blind adoptive grandmother who kept up her enjoyment of watching television AND ASL-SINGING ALONG WITH HYMNS ON TELEVISED RELIGIOUS PROGRAMS until her recent death at age 96. I run an extremely complicated project in reaching out to immigrants and refugees from coast to coast to coast across Canada (we have three coasts, you know) and I am about to hire as director of this project a young woman who is deaf and blind. She is fluent in multiple languages, has a master’s degree, has worked extensively in Chile, Nepal, Nigeria, USA and Canada, was named the Rotary Club’s Woman of the Year, and she isn’t even 35 years old yet. But you’re going to assume she can’t really have “appreciated” those experiences “for physical reasons”.
Enough with the ugly assumptions about people with disabilities.