Friday, April 4, 2008


I was reading through Amanda Baggs' "Obligatory Post-CNN entry" and she was speaking of not being a "one-way inspiration machine".

That of course got me to thinking that, although my usual areas of interest are the unusual and the noteworthy, sometimes the "uninitiated masses" deserve some attention at well.

In other words, although the ONE nut screaming at the top of his lungs DAILY that somehow, as Amanda Baggs herself says it, this "semi-friend" of mine with nothing more than a computer and a video camera is somehow doing irreparable harm to his son, some thought needs to be devoted to the 50 or so OTHER posts that come out, particularly after a CNN appearance saying, "This is the most fascinating video I've ever seen in my life."

Now, it looks like Amanda hasn't had a chance to moderate the comments section of In My Language in a while and so I haven't been able to get this conversation started over there where it rightfully belongs, a thought that hit me after the Wired and the latest CNN wave is that I don't think ANYONE has taken a good shot at evaluating the basic artistic merits of the thing.

Now, yes, sometimes, particularly after learning more of her story, the term "inspiration" starts getting thrown around, but, the thought hit me - inspiration to do what?

There are other much clearer "inspirations" in the world. The one that came to mind as this thought began to form in my massively sleep-deprived brain was Jimmy Doohan. There are many, many people - I'm guessing hundreds and maybe thousands, who were inspired by Jimmy Doohan's portrayal of Scotty to take up careers in engineering.

Yes, think about this - sometimes a COMPLETE figment of someone's imagination can be an inspiration to someone.

But I'm wondering what exactly Amanda Baggs might inspire someone to do.

The usual thought would be that someone has a child along the lines of Sue Rubin who has terrible trouble communicating verbally and, after watching some of Amanda's work, someone might think, "Ahah! Maybe a computer of some sort might help here."

But there are other forms of inspiration that occasionally come to mind.

One - disability or no - there are VERY few - at least as a percentage of the total population - who can say they've produced a work of art of any sort that has moved anyone in a significant way. It's certainly and inpsiration in a way that the technology has finally caught up with us enough that just about anyone has the CAPABILITY of producing something of IMPORT if they have "the gift".

The other area that I think some overlook is that, no matter what your speculation is about Amanda's exact situation, we're clearly talking about someone with VERY severe "Activities of Daily Living" issues, and ANYONE with that level of difficulty who has avoided being probated and kept herself out of an institutionalized setting deserves a F*CKING MEDAL no matter how you slice it and dice it.

From my mother's situation I've seen that institutionalizing ANYONE is inherently dehumanizing and quite honestly ought to be banned. Putting someone down would be FAR more humane than the humiliation and belitting I've seen my mother put through.

But that, of course ... is another topic ...

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