Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Dipsticks of the Month Award goes to ...

The folks at the National Federation of the Blind apparently have a lot - a lot - of time on their hands. They just issued a major news release condemning the new movie "Blindness" and announcing their plans to protest "across the nation" when the film opens Friday. In a nutshell, the movie's about a sudden epidemic of blindness that strikes a city. Hence, the name of the film. The newly blind people are quarantined because it's believed the affliction is contagious. Mayhem ensues. A character played by Julianne Moore, however, does not go blind, and the Federation says she is portrayed as "physically, mentally and morally superior to the others because she still has her sight." None of us has seen the film yet, so it's hard for us to argue about the "mentally and morally" part, but if she can see and everyone around her is blind, well, yes, she IS physically superior to them. Sorry about that. Dr. Marc Maurer, president of the Blind Federation, chastises the filmmakers for depicting the blind characters as being "unable to do even the simplest things like dressing, bathing and finding the bathroom." For gawd's sake, Dr. Maurer, the movie isn't portraying people who have been blind for quite some time. These characters are NEWLY blind, and they're understandably hysterical. Of course they're having some problems handling the basics of life. If I were suddenly stricken blind in the middle of a big city, I'd be panicked and lucky to find my a$$ with both hands, but I would adapt, just as your constituents have. In his statement, Maurer rambles on and on about how blind people can do the same things as sighted people, such as work, raise a family, go camping, etc. Yeah, we know that. He also claims that "portraying the blind on movie screens across America as little better than animals will reinforce the unfounded fears, misconceptions and stereotypes in the general public about blindness." No it won't, you dolt. The general public doesn't believe blind people are shambling idiots who should be locked up somewhere. The movie can't exacerbate feelings that don't exist. Perhaps Maurer's most ridiculous claim is that this movie will cause the unemployment rate of blind people to rise. Yeah, I can just hear the personnel directors now: "Hey, don't hire that blind feller. Didn't you see those crazy sightless people in that movie?" Oh, yeah, it's a movie. It's not real. You need to get a grip, Dr. Maurer. My suggestion to you and any other of your people who are worried about the effects of this movie is to have a couple of glasses of red wine. It takes the edge off for me. And, yes, I'm well aware that you can get the cork out yourself.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I gave up my dream of becoming a cowboy after watching Brokeback Mountain because they are all gay.

I always check out the personal plumbing of my dates after watching The Crying Game because they are all crossdressers.

I am sure all clowns are serial killers after watching The John Wayne Gacy Story.

I believe dead people can be brought to life with a little bit of lightning and a lot of fake knobs and flashing buttons in a laboratory after watching Frankenstein.

And I believe anyone can be president after watching The George Bush Story.

OK, the last one was for laughs.

October 1, 2008 at 12:41 PM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

I'd love to know exactly what "unfounded fears" people have about blind people. Do they spontaneously combust? Do they spew vomit on unsuspecting sighted people? Are they secretly undermining democracy?

Now, I'm sure there are misconceptions, but what blind stereotypes is this guy referring to? Mr. Magoo? That's the only one I can think of. And he's a cartoon anyway.

This Maurer guy is off his rocker, just another member of the United States of the Offended.

October 1, 2008 at 12:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, at least the blind don't have to watch the movie.

October 1, 2008 at 1:31 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

I can't, for the life of me... think of a negative stereotype for blind people... Even Mr. Magoo... things always worked out for him...

And I think the main thing to remember is that these people in the movie are struck blind... it's like waking up and not being able to see anymore... Of course they are going to act a fool.

I don't understand some people.


October 1, 2008 at 1:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of my best friends is blind and he is the biggest purveyor of blind jokes I have ever known. Of course, that's OK ... just like it's OK for blacks to use the N word and Christians to make fun of their religion.

My friend often corrects peole whom, in an attenmpt not to offend him, talk about "the non-sighted." "Don't be afraid to say 'Blind,' my friend says. Often, after we're done talking, he'll say, "Nice to hear ya!"

Another fine example of overly touchy folks.

October 1, 2008 at 1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This might actually be a plus for the movie's makers and distributors -- so far, the reviews haven't been good, and it's the kind of prestige product (Oscar-nominated director, based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel), that usually needs good reviews to bring in adult audiences. With few gushing quotes to pull from reviews, they might have to make do with some huffing and puffing on local news about this "controversy."

--Brad Hundt

October 1, 2008 at 1:38 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

When the director has "The Constant Gardener" and "City of God" on his resume, you kinda expect the movie to be good. But, you're right, the reviews have not been good, and the previews I saw made it look a lot like a George Romero movie (which I enjoy, but ...)

October 1, 2008 at 2:11 PM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

I remember an episode of "Barney Miller" in which a deaf criminal was arrested. No one could communicate with the guy until Officer Levitt stepped in and began signing with the perp. When Levitt was met with a curious look from Captain Miller, Levitt offered, "My sister is deaf." Miller said, "Oh. I'm sorry to hear that." Levitt replied, "I'll tell her that. I'm sure she'll appreciate your pity!"

I really have to wonder just how many blind people are actually offended by this movie. My guess is that Maurer isn't going to have a groundswell of support because this whole thing is so damn stupid, and most of them likely wish he'd just shut up.

October 1, 2008 at 2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Though it's on a much smaller scale, this reminds me of how the Bible-thumpers got all upset about Martin Scorsese's "The Last Temptation of Christ" 20 years ago, even though the novel it was adapted from had been gathering dust on library shelves for years. Same with this movie...

--Brad Hundt

October 1, 2008 at 5:15 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

And without that hue and cry from the religious right, "Last Temptation" would have done next to no business. The opponents actually put money in Scorsese's pocket.

October 2, 2008 at 10:13 AM  

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