Thursday, March 30, 2006

thursday morning coffee and granola

Sorry no posts yesterday; I ended up doing pornographic drawings. Anyone wanna see?

Sign poetry: Swarthmore College was recently host to Peter Cook's Flying Words, a travelling ASL poet. I've never seen him or his show, but Swarthmore is brother to Haverford College where I got my BA. Seems the show went well, but I'm not sure about this part:
We rarely stop to think about deaf communities, however. According to Napoli, “deaf people are disproportionately impoverished.” Their literacy level is low, she said, and as a society we have not done well for their education. Therefore, she said, it is important for her personally to take social action.

Many members of Napoli’s first-year seminar, Language and Deafness, which deals with social issues relating to the deaf community, were at the performance. Anne-Marie Frassica ’09 thought that “it was an important performance in that it bridged the hearing community with the deaf community.” This was exemplified in the easy dialogue between the deaf Cook and the hearing Jones. In many cases their roles, for the hearers in the audience, were inextricable from each other. Jones’s spoken words needed Cook’s sign and pantomime, and for the hearers, vice versa. “The hearing community is often out of touch with the deaf community. It is hard to see what ASL literature is,” Frassica said.

I guess it's SORT OF TRUE... but the perspective is wrong. How about "Deaf people have not traditionally received equal education but have been campaigning for improvements so therefore it is important to support their efforts?" Like we're real people, not charity cases, and like we've been fighting for it all along.

And no, Frassica. It's EASY to see what an ASL literature is (tongue-in-cheek.) It's a visual language. It's hard to see what it's about, sometimes, depending on the skill and quality of the poet. But then defBef is much better at sign poetry than I. I stick with Shakespeare, until I'm as confident with my hands as I am with Prismacolor.

Not that I do so badly signing these days - I think I'm a lot better than I was when I first arrived at MSSD (peep knows what I'm talking about!) and didn't have any ASL whatsoever, only the detritus of Signed Exact English which I was "taught" by well-meaning Special Education teachers growing up (did anyone ELSE hate the Little Yellow Bus?) Took me four years and a couple of drunken nights in a club in London to "flip over" from SEE's insidious portrayal of signed languages as codes and see ASL for a real language. Of course I had NOT ONE ASL CLASS whatsoever in MSSD, although I was offered speech classes. I'm not even sure ASL classes were available in my time. Woulda been nice. Maybe if I'd seen ASL poetry at 13, I would have caught on a lot quicker.

As it was, it took Rae Johnson taking me outside of class and having a quiet talk with me to even make me give up certain very annoying SEE habits.
And she was an English teacher. But I guess that makes sense if you think in terms of respect for language.

Anyone else have weird How I Learned ASL stories?

Off to work.


Gypsy said...

Yes I want to see the pornographic drawings.

Wildstarryskies said...

Gosh, I remember Rae yelling at you to STOP talking and try to sign because we are all deaf and none of us understood you!! I felt sorry for you, but she had a point. All the yattering was getting on our nerves. LOL. You've came such a long way, baby!! xoxzoxoxo