Documentary on Ashley Treatment

22 May 2012 Disability Rights Washington and Video Galaxy  have great new video  on the Ashley Treatment on their website. There is also a poll on this page asking whether you believe more safeguards are needed to protect the civil rights of people with disabilities from civil rights violations and medical discrimination of the Ashley Treatment and related procedures. Continue reading

A Prequel to Gattaca?

The 1997 film Gattaca, written and directed by Andrew Niccol, portrays a futuristic society where babies are genetically engineered according to parental references.  The film features a society that consists almost exclusively of such artificially built individuals, with those who are born in the archaic, natural manner occupying the fringes of this society.  In order to protect the rights of what are referred to as the “valids” and thereby keep out the inferior “invalids,” each individual’s genetic material is constantly sampled and monitored.  Every person’s DNA is stored in a database, making multiple scans and random genetic sweeps in the workplace very efficient.  The story follows an “invalid” who has a dream of becoming an astronaut, a job open only to the genetically enhanced elite.

But my intention here is not to provide a synopsis of the film, which is very good and is certainly well worth the time it takes to watch.  Rather, I wanted to Continue reading

Erotica For Everybody?

It would seem that erotic images really do sell and that they infiltrate our society from all directions.  Aside from the obvious venues for erotic images and films, pictures of handsome individuals in provocative poses are plastered all over our cities and flashed, it would seem, at every conceivable opportunity both on the internet and on television.  However, images are for those who can see, which means that a substantial population is “spared” this constant barrage of depictions.  Questions of morality aside, pornography sells!  In fact, Lisa J. Murphy’s Tactile Mind is one example of how erotic imagery continues to fill newer and more numerous social niches.  Murphy’s Tactile Mind is “a handmade thermoform book consisting of 17, 3-D tactile photographs on white thermoform plastic pages with the visual image and descriptive Braille accompaniment” (see website).  The book is sold for an extravagant $225, but single pages can also be purchased for $25 a page.  Another example of such “niche-filling” is “Porn for the Blind,” which is

a website which purports to offer sexual stimuli for blind people over the internet.  The website is composed of a white background with a list of links to mp3 sound clips of pornographic content contributed by volunteers.  A ‘translator’ will watch preview clips of videos and give a play-by-play of the events.  Contributors are not allowed to use sexual words when describing existing videos and must give purely clinical descriptions of the events. (see citation)

Although, on the one hand, it might be argued that erotic images are inappropriate even in socially sanctioned contexts, it does seem a bit paternalistic to do those who can only read braille a moral favour by denying them access to erotic material.  From my understanding, the two examples I provided above are quite censored as it is.  The images in Murphy’s book lack faces and are featured only in single poses while the mp3 descriptive recordings do not use sexual words in their descriptions.

There is certainly a debate over the appropriateness of pornography (see Natalie Purcell’s “Feminism and Pornography: Building Sensitive Research and Analytic Approaches”), but at least now it’s everybody’s discussion!

A Couple of Edmonton Fringe Plays Worth Checking Out

At this year’s Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival, there are a couple of plays with ties to the Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada project.

Below is some information on how you can catch these plays.

Continue reading

Marwencol

 

I went to see the film Marwencol last night at the Metro Cinema; if you’re in Edmonton, you can catch it Sunday and Monday nights at either 7 or 9pm.  And if you are in St. Elsewhere, check it out when it does the rounds.  It is breath-takingly good.

 

The one sentence reason why?  Marwencol avoids freakification, sensationalism, and victimization in telling a powerful story that invites all three.

 

Taking the Australian election seriously: Every Candidate is …

Well, perhaps only taking the Australian election as seriously as it deserves to be taken, but also, for my North American friends (both of them), taking the distinctiveness of Aussie culture seriously.  What other countries have a population that could, on the whole, not only head-nod but actively sing along to the chorus of the following segment from The Chasers most recent broadcast?

h/t Pamela Lyon

What its like … to be

h/t to Graham Oddie, who tips in turn to Mason Cash, completing the Alberta-NZ-Alberta circle of truth and well-being:

This is John Weldon’s To Be, and you can also get it on Youtube directly here.  We’ve actually submitted a large-scale grant to get one of these machines, but with the economic downturn, I’m not optimistic about our chances.