I was reading on Life with Hollywood about how a place of entertainment has audiences complaining, tries to ‘do the right thing’, in the process hurts a person with disability, offends others, … and so it goes on. People are ANGRY and so they should be, but they should be getting angry about the way some others are treated, rather than their own petty inconvenience. I have also been re-reading Grapes of Wrath. 2014 marked the 75th anniversary of its publication. In a 1952 radio interview, Steinbeck said:
When I wrote The Grapes of Wrath, I was filled . . . with certain angers . . . at people who were doing injustices to other people.
Anger is a symbol of thought and evaluation and reaction: without it what have we got? . . . I think anger is the healthiest thing in the world.
Injustice, good intentions, caged thinking, anger.
I have also been angry at the way in which cinemas treat deaf people – my attention drawn because I have a good friend who suffers more and more as her deafness grows. The cinema has claimed they pay attention to her need, they have loop systems fitted and screen one or two showings of the movie with subtitles. But, often, the loop is not switched on, or only works across a particular arc of the seating, can be subject to interference. By the time my deaf friend has worked this out, the film is half over, does she need to make a fuss … again? Ask for a refund? Be the odd person who is, as Hollywood so cogently describes, the one who is not normal? Maybe the loops are technically difficult, but what about the audiences who I am told have complained because they do not like subtitles. They already have a choice of showings something like 20 to 1 of showings “no subtitles” vs “subtitles”. The person who needs the subtitled show has to take the one time it is available be it after lunch or late night or the same day as she has other appointments, or just give up on something that “normal” people can do. Why oh Why is this not the other way round? Why not make all the showings subtitled, so those with hearing difficulty can choose, except for maybe one or two showings for the film buffs who are so distracted or offended by subtitling.
Why is inclusive so difficult? Why is there not more thought, evaluation, and then instead of excuses based on something allegedly normal, we could have responsive action to what is needed by the ones who suffer most: we are all human and that is what is normal.
I also recently watched “Pride” a film that shows how fighting is best when it is done on behalf of the rights of another. Individuals are getting better at this inclusive business. It is time for institutions – whatever kind, wherever they are – to learn too. That means that people have to look, see, stand up and make a fuss, unlike when I was a girl, it is OK to be ANGRY.
[When I get back to Edinburgh I am going to see what the Filmhouse, the Cameo and all the others are doing now about deaf patrons.]