Monday, August 28, 2006

335: monday morning rant news and coffee

I seem to have been added to the blogroll of DHH-commUNITY, a new website which takes stands by apparently refusing to take stands. I agree with their general point that you shouldn't backstab people like Ridor (Although I think it's naive: have these people watched television and politics at all in the last several years?) but we're old enough to move beyond fighting cafeteria-level fights, aren't we? So at first I thought, really great website. Maybe these will be intellectuals who will move past the shit of the past few years and write serious stuff, based on facts, like real reporters. So I started reading.

But I was disappointed. The one thing they have not yet done is mandate a factual analysis for their discussions, or indeed any textual connection. CB wrote a Deafhood article which had NOT ONE REFERENCE to the book. And everything he said was really damaging, without having any facts to back it up or any interviews, comparisons... "Oh, this is nothing new, this is the same as several years ago," etc., etc. Without any quotes, references, or anything (the writer even claims "some people" think the book is audistic, without referencing who.) This is not academic, this is libelious. I am NOT a member of the "Deafhood camp" that CB names, but I have lambasted them as well for not doing their research.

This grieves me because I have worked with Paddy Ladd. I know his understanding of his work comes from a cross-referential understanding of women's, gender, and black studies; from a deep love of literature, and from a love of Deaf people. He works with facts and numbers, he hates straw men, and he makes his points clearly. The book was meant to be used as a tool by the Deaf community to fight oppression. Clearly CB gets this, because he tries to explain colonialism, though he cleverly avoids talking about WHY the book is focused on colonialism.

Why? Because colonialists - white people, doctors, men, what have you - are responsible, in the book, for a lot of in-fighting. It's part of how they oppress people. Why are we fighting over implants? Because they gave us this language of morality around implants, language which doesn't come from ourselves. We fight based on their language. And if we took the time to think about that, we'd have to shut up for five minutes to THINK and stop flapping at each other for attention.

Ladd's certainly not advocating the behavior, moral values, or decisions of any one group of Deaf people. BUT - because one certain group of Deaf people saw the book first and started promoting it, now the ENTIRE community associates the book with them. Suppose hearing-aid using hard-of-hearing DOH individuals had got it first and said "Hey, this book shows it's cool to be who we are and we can tell you guys to shut up," it would be the same stupid fight in the same stupid other direction. And still nobody is actually reading it... What a waste.

I HAVE read the book (unlike most people, on either side of the debate.) It's a big fat JUICY academic text. It's tough to read. (Shit happens.) My copy is currently in the hands of the eponymous Demon Queen, but when I get it back (which she keeps promising me is soon) I will start writing FROM THE TEXT using quotes to explain what the fuck I'm talking about. And CB is correct that the concepts of perspectives on deafness, etc. are the BASIS for this work. People BUILD ON former concepts. It's like biology. You start with observing plant behavior and end up sequencing DNA. What the FNORD is wrong with that? Not to mention the book is INTENDED to be a textbook of sorts, and therefore SHOULD if it were any good mention all the advances we've made in theory and practice since Deaf President Now - a much stronger argument would be if those things WEREN'T present!

I hope somebody takes a cue from this. I understand CB's frustration, but this level of discussion is not acceptable. Rumor is not acceptable. We need to be investigators. Go watch the X-Files; that's how to do it. (And if all the Deaf men in America started TRYING to look like David Duchovny, I'd also be pleased.) I don't care how mad the people you don't like make you: when you just pass on disinformation you're hurting someone else, in another country, whose book you haven't read. You're also doing a disservice to the truth by not analyzing things in a calm, thoughtful fashion and yes, making references. When you don't do that, it's called BACKSTABBING - exactly what you're trying to avoid.

UPDATE: Deafhoodfan on the website also calls out the writer on this. I still think that DHH-commUNITY has violated their own practices. Worse, it seems they have banned Ridor and now a cute little graphic comes up saying he's a cyber-bully. No offense, but if these guys had some facts in their articles, they wouldn't need to worry about Ridor. Come on, let's RAISE THE BAR here a little bit. And does anyone think it's funny I talked about moving beyond fighting cafeteria-level fights then go back and find Ridor's been branded a cyber-bully?

SECOND UPDATE: Just want to point out that Paddy kicked my butt once when I showed up without references. "You can't make an argument based on a straw man," again and again, and it took me a long time to understand what a straw man was.

The Quiet is released: This is a movie about a deaf girl. Basically people whisper nasty secrets in her ear. Nobody in her family learns sign language. She grows up. Evil happens. It sounds boring.

American Army helps Deaf girl: US Army rescues Deaf girl, possible Meningitis victim. Not sure what will happen to her now she's been rescued - possibly implanted? If so, I hope someone commits to giving her the support and money she needs to be an implantee, unlike kids in some third world countries. If they don't, then she's just doomed to be an experiment.

Ugh. I am happy to say I have always had the most professional, well-behaved interpreters... or if they misbehaved and pooped on the carpet, they certainly never did anything like this!

Cafe Bustelo.


Mr. Transnational said...

After realizing that I missed the grand debut of the Blog Age, I was yet apt to read, participate, and address my inputs as much as possible. The civil b/vlog war within the deaf community has gone almost climactic, armed with loose ammunition of weak arguments and flying accusations. But, I'm blessed to finally trip over a blogsite that is very articulate, well-written, and apperceptive. You're one promising blogstar, if you aren't already. We've had enough bitchslappings à la mid-east mode [although you're allowed to intermittently mention your sincere rages and human-ly goofs], it's time to recall how Gandhi saved India, distinguishing between physically harmful words and the terms of mature diplomacy.

Jean said...

I second Mr. Transnational's deduction. You're one of several Deaf bloggers I truly enjoy reading.

Ha, FNORD, ha. Presumably, Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson fan? :)

moi said...

I loved this post. My public blog was added to their blogroll, much to my surprise, and I had the same issues you did with that Deafhood post, so I can certainly empathize.

Also, I loved what you said in here ( regarding the access model, and it inspired a blog post about reframing the issue. I'm wondering if I have your permission to quote you? I'd include a link to where you posted your comment and to this site, naturally, giving you full credit. Lemme know. :) Thanks!

Joey Baer said...

Well written and assessment on dhh-community!!

DE said...

Finally got around to reading this much-raved (people are telling me to read this) entry of yours, and I was blown away. You made very important points about referencing, etc. Good job!

moi said...

I went ahead and wrote a post about reframing the access model. I hope you don't mind my quoting you... just fyi. Again, I loved this post! :)

Joseph Rainmound said...

Just back from vacation. No fear; anyone is free to quote me under the usual fair use rules... but I really appreciate being asked, it's sweet.

Thanks for your comment DE.