Blog Topics Update

Word cloud around the words blog and topics
I’m feeling poorly today … to quote Dr. Seuss, I’ve got “crummies in my tummy,” so I’m just going to run down a few of the blog posts I’m working on for the next few days:

Sex and Disability: Is It Really A Taboo?

I’ve seen quite a few blog posts and news stories lately with this theme, and while I certainly agree most peoples’ nations about disability and sex are either screwed up or naive, I’ve never quite agreed with calling it a “taboo.”  I’ll explore this and try to figure out more precisely what we’re dealing with.

Logical Fallacies

One of my favorite podcasts focused recently on logical and rhetorical fallacies, and from there I found a really cool website with a listing of the main ways we weaken our arguments and suffer failures in critical thinking. I hope to identify some of the fallacies that crop up most frequently in discussions about disability.

DIY Disability Policy

If you could design a three-point national disability policy agenda, from the ground up, what would you include? Think practical, but think big, too!

Defining Inspiration Porn

I hope to finish this thing by the end of next week. It’s worth doing, but exhausting and, truth be told, a bit depressing.

Also, look for another Disability Blogger Link-Up this Friday, October 23.



Silhouette icons of three figures doing various kinds of housekeeping

It’s time for some updates on the website and podcast ...

Looking Ahead

Friday, May 15 - Sunday, May 17

Monday, May 18
Downton Abbey, with guests Kelly Anneken and Tom Schneider of the Up Yours, Downstairs Podcast.

Friday, May 29 - Sunday, May 31
Disability Blogger Link-Up.

Monday, June 1
Disability.TV Podcast
Red Band Society, with guest Christina Stephens, YouTube vlogger AmputeeOT.

Friday, June 12 - Sunday, June 14
Disability Blogger Link-Up.

Monday, June 15
Beedie & Jessa, examining a short storyline in Girls.


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Blogging To-Do List

Illustration of a blank To Do List
It has been a little over a year and a half since I started the Disability Thinking blog, and I have accomplished many of the things I set out to do.

I have made 964 posts, this one included, with at least one post pretty much every day.

I have build some sort of regular audience. The blog has over 63,800 total “hits”. That's not a spectacular number, but I am happy with the current rate of around 200 hits per day. Aslo, Disability Thinking has been visited by people from 76 countries, including the United States, with really substantial traffic from Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

I finally started the Disability.TV Podcast, and it is coming along slowly but surely.

It seems like a good time to brainstorm a To-Do List of blog topics I feel I have neglected. For instance:

Faith / Religion and Disability

Assistive Technology

Practical Ideas for Independent Living

Relationships / Sex

I have one more topic in mind that's hard to describe in one line. Basically, it is self-critique … both of my own approach and thinking about disability, and how the disability community as a whole deals with disability. For good reason, disability blogs spend a lot of time explaining and promoting disability-centered approaches to the subject to the wider world. That is important because most people have an entry-level understanding of disability issues, at best. Yet, there are aspects of my own thinking that could use some revision. And there are habits and modes of thinking that are popular in disability culture that I don’t entirely buy into. I hope to deal with this in some way over the coming months. The trick is to do it without undermining support for the disability community, or simply repeating ableist stereotypes.

As always, I welcome comments and suggestions!

Coming Soon ... "Disability.TV"

Photo of old tv set with four disability symbols on the screen - Disability.TV - disability
I have been toying with the idea of starting a podcast on TV depictions of disability for quite some time, but I think I’ve finally reached the point where a vague idea is ready to turn into reality. If all goes well, I’ll have an introductory episode of “Disability.TV” out on August 1st. I will probably post it initially on, but eventually it should be added to iTunes as well, so people can download episodes to their computers and mobile devices.

Each episode will focus on a single TV show and its disabled characters. My main goal throughout will be to answer the question, “What do we want in TV depictions of disability?” In the process, I hope listers will enjoy a tour of past, present, and even future TV shows featuring disabled characters and themes. To get a good head start, here is a tentative list of episode topics: 

Ironside - Original Series - Chief Robert Ironside

Ironside - New Series - Detective Robert Ironside

The Michael J. Fox Show / Growing Up Fisher - Mike Henry / Mel Fisher

Friday Night Lights - Jason Street

Game Of Thrones - Tyrion Lannister

Game Of Thrones - Jaimie Lannister, Bran Stark, and Hodor

Glee - Artie Abrams, Becky Jackson

Big Bang Theory - Sheldon Cooper

Parenthood - Max Braverman

Red Band Society - (New Fall Show)

Breaking Bad - Walter Jr. “Flynn” White

Star Trek - The Menagerie 1 & 2 - Captain Christopher Pike

Star Trek: The Next Heneration - Ethics - Lt. Worf

Star Trek: Deep Space 9 - Melora - Ensign Melora Pazlar

American Horror Story - “Freak Show”

ER - Dr. Kerry Weaver

ER - Mental Illness

Downton Abbey - Mr. Bates, Thomas Barrow, Matthew Crawley

The West Wing - President Josiah Bartlett

The West Wing - Joey Lucas

Life Goes On - Corky Sherwood

I think I have everything I need to get started … except for one thing. I need ideas, insights, and most of all, some co-hosts! If you are tuned in to disability issues and popular culture, have a look at this list, and if you see something that interests you, let me know. Hopefully, we can work out the technical side of long-distance podcasting and make these episodes real discussions rather than monologues. Two viewpoints are almost always better than one!

Stay tuned for the first, introductory podcast!

NBC Looks At "Sheltered Workshops"

Disabled workers paid just pennies an hour – and it's legal
Anna Schecter, Producer, NBC News - June 21, 2013

Last Friday, the NBC primetime news program Rock Center did a story about sheltered workshops, and the labor law provision that allows them and similar organizations to pay certain workers with disabilities less than minimum wage. I didn't see the show, but I have read the accompanying article on the NBC website, and I'll watch the segment online shortly.

The disability organization I worked for never had sheltered workshops, and in fact Centers for Independent Living uniformly opposes them. However, there are a few sheltered workshops in my area, and we often assisted people who worked at them. My take on the issue has always been that they are at best a relic of an earlier time, and at worst genuine exploitation. Unfortunately, I think that most of the criticisms against sheltered workshops and paying sub-minimum wage leave out some important aspects that both help explain why such a seemingly unfair system ever got approved, and how the system could be changed without unintended negative consequences for the workers.

I'll have more to say on this later today, or maybe tomorrow after I do some more thinking and reading about it.