Weekly Reading List

Picture of a stack of multicolored books
Life got in the way yesterday, so I’m a little late with my weekly run-down of disability articles I read last week.

Sawyer Rosenstein, Boing Boing - November 23, 2015

Nightmare stories of disabled air travel often read like laundry lists of countless little screws ups that add up to one big fiasco. Somehow, the moral of the story never comes, or amounts to “Acme Airlines sucks” or “do better.” It’s hard to translate what on the surface seems like personal bad luck into prescriptions for systemic change. However, after reading this account, I wonder if there are any airlines or airports who hire full-time troubleshooters specifically for disabled passengers. It just seems like they have all of the systems and equipment needed, but half the time or more the people involved can’t seem to make them work in the right place and right time. Maybe that requires a staff person or two whose only job is to whizz around an airport as needed solving the logistical problems. They would have to have the recognized authority, of course, to compel all the other staff to cooperate. Is anything like this in place? Has anything like this been suggested?

Meriah Nichols, A Little Moxie - November 16, 2015

This blog post by one of the better-known disability bloggers attempts to dissect a rather “inside baseball” issue for the disability blogger community. What do we make of a website that seems to be trying in an admirable way to bridge the gap between people with disabilities and parents of kids with disabilities, aka, special needs parents? Can a disability-centered website do justice both to disability issues and the disability experience, and also provide a forum for parents of disabled people to share their innermost struggles and doubts? I admire “The Mighty” for trying, but like Meriah Nichols, I am often repelled by the results. There are some great articles by disabled writers, and some very good ones by parents. But there is just as much tear-jerking inspiration porn, and worse, disturbing articles where parents bear their souls and tell us … all of us … all of the ugly feelings and thoughts that run through their minds on the bad days. Like Meriah, I think there’s a place for that, but that the people who run “The Mighty” need to think more carefully about what they are doing. Intentionally or not, they have created a “space” where parents and disabled people meet, and it often reveals how big the gap can be between these two experiences. I think they need to do a better job of refereeing and reflecting on this gap, instead of just publishing everything and chalking up the clashes to ordinary differences of personal opinion. The other problem is that “The Mighty” is, in fact, mighty. It has a veneer of credibility and professionalism that gives it an outsized voice, and probably misleads casual readers into thinking it is some kind of authoritative voice on all things disability. In fact it’s something much more complicated and specific.

Marissa Stalvey, Curlability - August 6, 2015

Ingrid Tischer, Tales From The Crip - November 19, 2015

I have mostly given up trying to write a complete examination of “Inspiration Porn,” partly because I lost all of my notes and drafts in a cloud mishap, but also because lots of people are doing a good job of it themselves. These two articles dig into the question quite well, each highlighting different aspects of the phenomenon. On issue I think has still been under-discussed is the personal taste reactions people have to sentimentality. If I do pick up the topic again, that may be my angle.

John Hockenberry, The Takeaway - November 20, 2015

This is a great followup to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s excellent investigative series on disability segregation in Minnesota. Also, if you haven’t heard of or heard much of John Hockenberry, this edition of his radio show, The Takeaway, is a good opportunity to catch up with one of the most interesting and wide-ranging voices of the disability community. Hockenberry’s book, Moving Violations: War Zones, Wheelchairs, and Declarations of Independence, influenced me a great deal back when I was just entering the deep end of disability rights and independent living.

Where’s Your Dog? - November 9, 2015

I had trouble at first figuring out this blogger’s point of view on the #AbleistScript hashtag. Was he or she for it or against it? Obviously, for it, but with an understanding and interest in how others may perceive and misperceive it, especially non-disabled people. I think it’s perfectly fine for disability bloggers to say, essentially, “I don’t care what others think, this is for us, our community.” However, I also think it’s important for us to stay anchored to “mainstream” opinion, even when those opinions are inherently flawed and uninformed. And that’s what this blog post does. I’m going to read more from this blogger for sure.