Saturday, August 23, 2014

Arguments Not Worth Having

Watching the “Ice Bucket Challenge” phenomenon become the hit social media trend of this summer, I have decided to start a new series on this blog: Arguments Not Worth Having.

Here are three right off the bat:

1. Goofy disability awareness or fundraising campaigns.

2. The unbeatable popularity of fundraising for cures.

3. Language that likens disability to war or a fistfight.

I haven’t fully worked out the criteria for determining which arguments I believe are not worth having, but they involve some combination of the following factors:

- The thing is something disability-related that non-disabled people really like.

- A non-trivial number of disabled people seem to like it, too.

- The thing is something I don’t like, or I think it’s silly, or I feel uncomfortable with it, but it doesn’t really offend me.

- I could make a logical, consistent argument against the thing, but I would really have to work at it, and the argument would have at least two or three distinct layers to get through.

- The likelihood that anyone will be convinced or even understand my thinking on the thing is below 20%.

- There is a 90% possibility that at the end of the argument, I will sound like an over-educated, unemotional robot with no human feelings or sense of humor.

- The thing is stupid, but not harmful. The consequences of leaving the thing alone are low.

Podcast Notes & Previews

Four episodes in, and I am fairly pleased with how the new podcast is shaping up. At the same time, I am much more aware of where I need to improve. For instance:

• When I'm recording just my own voice, I'm better reading an exact script. I'm not good speaking extemporaneously. I can't seem to find the "flow". I would be a terrible rapper. The problem is that this makes the actual content sound less interesting. It’s also a lot of work writing out everything I’m going to say, and that leaves less time and attention on thinking about what I actually think about the shows I am reviewing.

• On the other hand, I am really looking forward to doing reviews with guest hosts, the first of which is with Maddy Ruvolo, of the Disabled Girls Talk Podcast, to discuss "Friday Night Lights”. I hope that a conversation will sound more natural than a monologue, and lead to smarter insights and personal reactions.

• I think that in my first full review, I tried to answer too many questions, and make too many observations. I need to come up with a format where each TV show or character review deals at most 3 or 4 main points, or themes, or measures of quality. Expect experimentation with format in the next few episodes.

• Over the next few months of shows, I hope to explore some basic questions about disability on television … like why “representation” of disability matters, whether “offensive” depictions can do good, and whether it is possible for a show to address real life disability issues directly without being preachy.

If you haven’t listened to any of the podcast episodes yet, give them a try. You can listen in several different ways:

1. Listen here at the Disability Thinking blog, using the embedded players, like these:

2. Visit the Disability.TV page

This is a separate page just for the podcast. There’s a tab link for it at the top of the Disability Thinking blog. The Disability.TV page looks like a blog, but you won't find anything on it except for each episode, dated and organized, with an embedded player. It’s a convenient place to see all of the podcast episodes listed in order.

3. Subscribe, with iTunes or Stitcher
Subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher
These two services operate a bit differently, but they both automate things so you always have new episodes ready to listen as soon as I produce them. And, you can save them, delete them, or reorganize them on your computer or mobile device however you like.

Upcoming Episodes of Disability.TV:

August 29
Ironside (New Series)

September 5
Friday Night Lights
Guest Co-Host Maddy Ruvolo

September 19
Game Of Thrones, Part I
Guest Co-Host Alice Wong

October 3
Game Of Thrones, Part II
Guest Co-Host Alice Wong

October 17
Guest Co-Host Cheryl Green

Full reviews are every two weeks. In between, I'll continue to do Mini-Casts, shorter episodes with a variety of bits like listener feedback, surveys and quiz questions, and special topics related to disability and popular culture.

Please do leave comments and suggestions for making this podcast better!