Random Thoughts and Musings by moi

Musings by a feisty, opinionated Deaf gal who wants nothing but the best for her community and her people

samedi 19 juin 2010

More on Support Issues

This is a follow-up to two separate posts, the one I posted last night and the one about Eben Kostbar playing Matt Hamill in a movie. First, two years makes a difference. The movie, Hamill, is now in post-production and it stars a Deaf actor, Russell Harvard. I do not know what happened in the intervening period to make Hamill and Kostbar truly hear the community. But we were heard. Kostbar gave up a plum role and let it go where it rightly belongs - to a Deaf person. Major handwaves and kudos go to them for being willing to reverse a stance that previously appeared as immovable as the Rock of Gibraltar.

In my post written two years ago, I talked about not vilifying Hamill for his decision to allow Kostbar, a hearing person, to portray him and how we needed to support him as a Deaf person while letting him know his decision was wrong. This is one of my most cherished principles - supporting our people while collectively steering them in a positive direction. (not groupthink!) I'm hoping that's what happened and that's what led to a positive outcome in this situation. Again, kudos to Hamill and Kostbar!

Speaking of support and Matt Hamill, I respect his right to choose his profession. But I naturally reserve the right to find UFC/MMA nauseating and a symptom of what is wrong with our society. It glorifies no-holds-barred violence and desensitizes us to brutality. I cannot, in good conscience, approve of the whole schmeer. I get upset when I hear of schools inviting Hamill to speak to students and when they show an interview with Hamill on DVD/online. Doing so gives a stamp of approval upon a tawdry spectacle of blood and cruelty. What impact does this have on young schoolchildren? I shudder.

I've expressed this opinion before and gotten many variations upon the idea that "But he's Deaf! We gotta support him!" Even people who don't like UFC are forcing themselves to watch it all in the name of supporting a Deaf person. I can't help but ask why they feel the need to do that.

I had an interesting conversation with someone recently where someone expressed disgust with UFC and I chimed in, agreeing. The response from a third person? The gist was that if not for UFC, Russell Harvard and Shoshannah Stern wouldn't have such plum roles in a feature film. I could not believe my eyes. Does one wrong plus a prime opportunity make a right? I don't think so. After all, if Il Duce were Deaf, would that have excused the rise of fascism in Italy in the 1920s through part of World War II? Do opportunities for Deaf people excuse all ills? If not, where is the line?

My personal answer to where the line is is guided by my principles. In this situation, the principles involved are as follows: I abhor unnecesary violence, therefore, I'm not going to overtly support Hamill by watching his fights. I'm going to speak up if I find that the educational institution in my area invites him to speak or show his interview. Yet I respect his right to choose his profession and I will honor that. I will not single him out if and when I criticize UFC/MMA.

I personally strongly believe in supporting my fellow Deaf people and have attended functions, taken actions, and become involved with things that I would not have if not for my belief that we need to support each other. So that is not an issue here. But I will not betray my principles. Period.

I become frustrated with this sheep-like attitude of "Deaf equals must support, no matter what." Critical thinking is our friend, not our enemy. Let's actively support our Deaf brethren and sistren, while keeping our principles in mind.