nenena: (Default)
nenena ([personal profile] nenena) wrote2010-06-10 11:37 pm

Golly, you think there might be a theme here?

Moar linkspam!

SF and ablism (or: a not-as-such brief thought)

It seems as though when science fiction envisions a better, or at least more advanced, version of humanity it is one without disability, and thus one without disabled people. When you imagine a future without disability, it is a future in which you imagine that there are no disabled people.

so fucking special: mental illness panel ftw.

We never see a 'functional' person with mental illness. This is possibly because producers feel mental illnesses must be shown explicitly. There are people who are functional in their societies but not in a normative way.

Including Samuel

Samuel has cerebral palsy. Samuel is going to be an astronaut. Fuck anybody who says otherwise. Plus: Bonus awesome from Keith Jones, including videos and pictures from his wedding ceremony, which was made of pure awesome.

If only, oh if only

I have never mourned the existence of someone the first time I met them. (Or after that for that matter.) I have never grieved that someone was not the normal person I expected and hoped for. Not even for a little bit. Not ever. I have never “had to come to terms with” the fact that someone I knew was born different. I have never had any urge to commiserate with anyone else over these sorts of things. I do not look at a person and divide them artificially into the “normal” parts of them that I find tolerable and the “abnormal” parts that I find unbearable and tragic. I do not look at my friends, compare them to other people their own age, and think how horrible it is that I don’t have the good fortune of experiencing my friends hitting all the ‘typical’ milestones for their age group, there is no sense of loss here. These ways of thinking are just utterly and beautifully absent. It’s right that they’re absent. It’s wrong when they’re present. I keep hearing we have to allow for the fact that it’s only natural for people (you know, real people, which I’m not) to grieve this part of our existence. How it’s just wrong, downright insensitive, to want more from people.

Towards an Accessible Future: SF Story Contest

What does a world, or space station, or whatever look like when it has been designed to be accessible to everyone and how would people live together there?

ETA after the fact: Disability and the curing thereof

Because, I'm realising, what I want to see is ambivalence, mixed feelings. If you're going to go there, if you're going to cure a character, I want to see them have to struggle with what that means for them afterwards. Because disability isn't objectively always bad, and lack of disability isn't objectively always good, especially when we're talking about a character who has been disabled for a long time suddenly losing that. There are two things I really want to see a formerly-disabled character wrestle with: change and, related to that, identity.

(Anonymous) 2010-06-11 03:07 pm (UTC)(link)
As a person with Asperger's and heavily involved in the "special-needs" community, I can see the underlying message here. But there seems to be a general bias here against the future and it's progress.

We have an abnormal condition, you can try to sugarcoat, but it's still abnormal. It stikes me that people are against making "cures", especially in that first link, because it'll hurt people's feeling. No, it's not to say let's tell these people that they're abnormal or make them feel abnormal because they're trying to "erase" their condition, but there has to be some sort of equilibrium here.

And not all science fiction tries to "erase it". The perfect balance I found was in a game called Mass Effect where most genetic disorders can be corrected before birth, but not all. One of the major characters has Brittle-Bone disease, which basically makes him unable to walk. Even though they couldn't fix him before birth, society has evolved in a manner which allows him to be able to become one of the best spaceship pilots out there in the military (which is impossible in the world of today.)

Disability is something that is difficult for a lot of people (both themselves and family members). I have a bachelor's, married and my job, but I still have memories of times when it wasn't really easy (back then the diagnosis didn't even exist). As such most first world countries are more or less kind to their special needs people, could it be improved? Yes. If a person wants to create a world where disability doesn't exist, is he ignorant? Does disability absolutely have to be there? Has political correctness gone that bad?

Input from an Asperger's person, peace out.

(Anonymous) 2010-06-11 03:14 pm (UTC)(link)
Basically, yes society shouldn't forge the improvements and accommodations it has for the disabled. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't look to the future.

[identity profile] furikku.livejournal.com 2010-06-11 05:21 pm (UTC)(link)
If a person wants to create a world where disability doesn't exist, is he ignorant?

Yup.

Does disability absolutely have to be there?

Why shouldn't it be? Surely The Future can't have cured all everything, ever! And surely there will still be disabled people who don't have access to the cure for monetary or medical reasons, or who don't WANT the cure for whatever personal reasons.

Has political correctness gone that bad?

Oh God. *facepalm*

(Anonymous) 2010-06-12 04:38 pm (UTC)(link)
I don't see anything to face-palm about, jackass.

[identity profile] furikku.livejournal.com 2010-06-12 04:45 pm (UTC)(link)
"Political correctness gone bad" usually translates to, "OH GOD WHY ARE OTHER PEOPLE ALLOWED TO BE OBVIOUSLY UNHAPPY WHEN I MARGINALISE THEM?!" (Not to mention the implication that there's some Secret Cabal somewhere making RULES about what you MUST write, rather than the reality where several people are saying, "Y'know what would be AWESOME?"

I mean, shit, what's wrong with writing in disability? Why is it SO FUKKEN AWFUL!!!! to have to include people who aren't 100% able-bodied?

OH NO I MIGHT HAVE TO WRITE ABOUT SOME PEOPLE WHO AREN'T NORMALLY WRITTEN ABOUT! MY PRECIOUS STORY! THE PRESENCE OF MINORITIES IS RUINING IT FOREVER!!!!!

(Anonymous) 2010-06-13 02:49 pm (UTC)(link)
You do realize you're rambling like an idiot right?
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[identity profile] nenena.livejournal.com 2010-06-13 03:45 pm (UTC)(link)
She's not.

If you don't have anything else useful to contribute to the discussion, I'd suggest that you just bow out instead of attempting to answer Sooz's point with a non-responsive insult.

(And look, I don't want to be one to share my friends' personal information here, but [livejournal.com profile] furikku has a disability too, and she has every right to be calling you out on your dismissal of the marginalization of people with disabilities, even if you have a disability too.)

[identity profile] furikku.livejournal.com 2010-06-13 05:13 pm (UTC)(link)
Thanks. &hearts

(Anonymous) 2010-06-14 01:46 am (UTC)(link)
That's fine, but first off I am not the one writing in caps lock to attempt to prove my point. And the way she responded wasn't like you , she went out there with extreme lolspeak and a rude manner, so I answered in such.

This is a really complicated issue, and though she may get a high emotional response from fictional stories in a hyper advanced future where genetics has allowed the cure of most disabilities you know...she didn't have to so rude about it.





(Anonymous) 2010-06-14 01:49 am (UTC)(link)
And we're just going to have to agree to disagree on this.

"If a person wants to create a world where disability doesn't exist, is he ignorant?

Yes."
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[identity profile] nenena.livejournal.com 2010-06-14 01:59 am (UTC)(link)
No no no no no. You do not get to play the "but she was rude!" card here.

You called her a "jackass" first.

You may not have used capslock or exclamation points, but that doesn't make the things that you SAID any less shitty, dismissive, or - yes - rude. In your very first comment you were making snide complaints about "political correctness" instead of actually engaging with the argument made in the posts that I linked. That was rude. You called [livejournal.com profile] furikku a "jackass" instead of actually responding to the points that she made in her first comment to you. That was also rude. And your second response to [livejournal.com profile] furikku? Also rude, but at least you admitted that.

[livejournal.com profile] furikku was NOT "writing in caps lock to attempt to prove [her] point." She was using actual logic and examples to attempt to prove her point. The capslock was there for humor and emphasis, and was never ever ever an attack on you. It wasn't rude at all.

It's important to understand the difference. If you automatically think that everybody who uses capslock on the internet is being rude to you, then you aren't going to last long in any sort of online discussion. Also? Calling somebody a "jackass" is pretty rude, you know.
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[identity profile] nenena.livejournal.com 2010-06-11 05:35 pm (UTC)(link)
First off, thank you for taking the time to comment here and share your perspective. :) Although, if you have thinky-thoughts like these to share, perhaps it might be a better idea for you to comment on the posts that I've linked, rather than here. I'm just the linkspammer.

Second, I hear you. I have a disability, it hugely interferes with my life, and if somebody told me that there was a way for me to cure my OCD, I would jump at that chance in an instant. But that's my choice, and mine alone. Not everybody who has a disability wants to be "fixed" to make it more convenient for the rest of the world to deal with them. And that's the key: Nobody is advocating that there shouldn't be every effort made to improve medical treatments for disabilities. But at the same time, disability isn't like the common cold - disabilities are often defined in terms of social dimensions, not black-and-white medical diagnosis - so there has to be room made to respect the autonomy, dignity, basic human rights, and decision-making capabilities of the people with disabilities that these medical interventions are designed to help.

Would examples help? Let's say that Mary has a disability, but she has been fortunate enough to find a rewarding career and develop a healthy lifestyle that she wants to continue without the interference of XYZ Medical Intervention. That's her choice. Now let's say that Ron has the same disability that Mary has, but wants to pursue an entirely different career, one that he cannot accomplish without XYZ Medical Intervention. That's his choice, and the medical treatment should be made available to him. Now let's say that Stacy has the same disability that Mary and Ron have, but she can't get help from XYZ Medical Intervention because it has side effects that are devastating on her health. Maybe someday, medicine will advance to the point where Stacy can choose to treat her disability with something that won't destroy her health. But maybe that will never happen. Either way, Stacy and people like Stacy are always going to exist, even in the future. People like Ron and Mary are going to exist in the future, too. SF cannot and must not erase the fact that disabilities are always going to exist. Rather, in the future, it's far more likely that all aspects of society will become more accessible to people with disabilities, so you might see more people like Mary in the future than not!

If there was a magical pill that could make my disability go away, you better believe I would take it. Other people would choose not do. Those other people have every right to exist in the future, the same that I do. In a truly advanced society, we wouldn't be medicating differences out of existence. Rather, we would respect the choices that people with disabilities make to take control of their own destinies and make their own decisions.

It stikes me that people are against making "cures", especially in that first link, because it'll hurt people's feeling.

I'm sorry, but you have really misunderstood the post I linked. That is not what it said at all.

(...) Mass Effect (...)

Of course there examples of SF that portrays disability well! Notable exceptions to the rule, however, do not invalidate criticism of the general trend in SF to continually portray a future without disabilities.

Meg, the author of the first post that I linked, asked for recommendations of good SF that portrays disability in a realistic way. This is why I think that at least this part of your comment probably should have been left over there, not here.

If a person wants to create a world where disability doesn't exist, is he ignorant?

Yes.

Does disability absolutely have to be there?

It is never NOT going to be there. That's the point.
Edited 2010-06-11 18:04 (UTC)

[identity profile] furikku.livejournal.com 2010-06-11 05:22 pm (UTC)(link)
Good shit. I'm gradually getting my brain wrapped around the social model of disability, and those links are def. helping. Thanks! :D
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[identity profile] nenena.livejournal.com 2010-06-13 01:03 am (UTC)(link)
I just edited to add this one:

http://ballastexistenz.autistics.org/?p=625

I can't believe I missed it yesterday.

[identity profile] furikku.livejournal.com 2010-06-13 04:54 am (UTC)(link)
That's a good one. I have some niggling reactions to it, but I think they're not entirely germane to the point of the post, so I should probably keep my currently-able-bodied trap shut. XD

[identity profile] zakuro-jane.livejournal.com 2010-06-11 09:05 pm (UTC)(link)
Since I can't post on the first website, I'm just going to have to post it here instead, in the hopes that people who read that post might read this comment as well. Sorry. Hope you don't mind.

I have to disagree with everything that was said. Why? Because the fact that people with disabilities no longer exist, and everyone is made to be 'normal' is kind of THE POINT. These societies are often seen as Utopian and 'perfect', however, it also erases anything that makes a person an individual, cranking out a population in which every person looks, thinks, and acts like everyone else around them. Throughout the course of the book/novel/short story/ect, the reader is left with a sort of hollow feeling, and is glad to be living in the now, when we still have our individualism. In fact, in most stories, there is a sort of revolution that takes place in which some of the people wake up and then try to make everyone else realize what is going on as well, trying to become individuals. Usually, these revolutions are easily stamped out (as in 1984 and Brave New World) with the underlying message that once we get on the road to 'perfection' we can never go back.
In short, the purpose of Sci Fi is to show you a world in which differences no longer exist... and make you glad to live in this 'imperfect' one instead.

So, yeah, that's just my two cents.

[identity profile] zakuro-jane.livejournal.com 2010-06-11 09:08 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, I forgot to add that Sci fi is mostly social commentary anyway. In essence, every society mirrors our own, just in the future. So it's not like it's saying 'look at what you can't have', it's more of a 'this is what's going to happen if you don't change now'.
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[identity profile] nenena.livejournal.com 2010-06-11 10:00 pm (UTC)(link)
Hope you don't mind.

I do mind. Your comment was meant for [livejournal.com profile] megwrites, not for me, so why are you putting your comment in my journal? If you can't post on Meg's journal then you could always get a dreamwidth account, send her a private email, or just not post your comment, especially not on some other person's journal.

Because the fact that people with disabilities no longer exist, and everyone is made to be 'normal' is kind of THE POINT... In short, the purpose of Sci Fi is to show you a world in which differences no longer exist... and make you glad to live in this 'imperfect' one instead.

You just described ONE particular genre of sci-fi. One. The whole "false utopia" thing is kind of obviously going to be all about how erasing differences is wrong. Blah blah blah, Brave New World and Gattaca, okay okay okay. "False utopia" stories exist. They are only a TEENY-TINY part of the entire range of science fiction, however. You can't say that "the purpose of Sci Fi is to blah blah blah" when you're really only describing the purpose of a very narrow, tiny part of science fiction as a whole.

Brave New World is not Star Trek. Star Trek, for example, has always presented a vision of the future in which all disabilities are curable, and presents this as a good thing. The vast majority of science fiction novels that I read insist that in the future there will be no disabilities, which is supposed to be "wonderful"!

A lot of science fiction - the vast majority of science fiction - is built upon the premise that erasing disabilities is a good thing. It is extraordinarily RARE for a science fiction story to show that erasing disabilities is actually a bad thing, such as in the "false utopia" stories that you described. It is ridiculous for you to insist that all science fiction stories are "false utopias" and therefore Meg's criticism doesn't apply to them.

(Anonymous) 2010-06-11 10:29 pm (UTC)(link)
Ah, I apologize. If you wish me to delete the comment, I will.

And, okay, I guess my post was a little ignorant as well. I never really thought that people would say that erasing disabilities was a good thing, since every one will always have issues no matter what (Whether they take form in physical, mental, or anything else).
Crap, I guess I am ignorant too. o_O *runs off to better educate self*
I hate it when that happens.
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[identity profile] nenena.livejournal.com 2010-06-11 10:54 pm (UTC)(link)
That's okay. You don't need to delete your comment. Also, I'm sorry for snapping at you.

I never really thought that people would say that erasing disabilities was a good thing.

Honestly, consider yourself lucky if you've never heard anybody say that before. It means that you probably read better science fiction than I can usually find. ^^;; I guess it's fortunate that there IS sci-fi out there that makes it a point to show how wrong-headed it is so try to erase disabilities. But the vast majority of sci-fic still takes it for granted that erasing disabilities = good, which is sad.

[identity profile] redbrunja.livejournal.com 2010-06-14 07:26 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you so much! I've reposted some of these links in my journal.