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Archive for June 11th, 2008

Why I am Boycotting the Summer Olympics. No Not That. Nope Not That Either…Or That…

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by Treadmarkz,

Yes, as the title of this posting hints at, I am boycotting this year’s Summer Games. And not because of China’s attitudes toward the disabled. Communist regimes are always going to have their vision of a perfect world, and their vision of what the people in that perfect world look like. No matter how skewed those visions may be. Boycotting a Summer Games will not send the message that people with that type of attitude need to hear. It is already too much a part of the sociology of the regime.

For much the same reason, I will not be boycotting the Olympics because of the situation between China and Tibet. That is a political drama that goes back a long time and the loss of revenue at a sporting event will not change that. Even if it is the grandest sporting stage in the world, the Olympics.

And let me make it clear that it is not the people that are the problem it is the political regime. However, the regime is run by people, and, though I may be over-simplifying, people need to change themselves.

No, I am not even boycotting because of the recent scandal involving the Chinese gov’t involved in hacking the U.S. gov’t’s computers. Nope, not even that will put such a fire in my belly as to make me boycott the Olympics!

And lastly I am not preparing to boycott if Oscar Pistorius, the amputee who was recently given the OK to attempt to qualify for the Olympics, does not make the South African team.

I am boycotting it for the same reason I do pretty much every four years. I am not interested in track and field events now, and I don’t plan on suddenly becoming interested during the Games. Sure there are other events, like Basketball, but with that, either my country, the U.S. either destroys and humiliates the competition, which is not what the games should be about, or if they don’t people get upset that we didn’t live up to the standard we were supposed to. You can’t win and I am boycotting.

Putting the Roll Back in Rock and Roll, Part II : Cityzen

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by Treadmarkz

In case you are wondering, the Part II in the title refers to this, a story I wrote in January lamenting my sense that there are not many famous musicians with disabilities. I was recently reminded of it when I came across a story on disaboom.com about Tobias Forrest and his band, Cityzen. Forrest is a quadriplegic, but was not when he first started his band. He was paralyzed during a diving accident. It was very refreshing to read that he continued to rock after the accident, especially after reading that immediately after the accident, he was on a ventilator to breathe.

Having four band mates who are committed to the same vision as he is helps a lot too. They carry him up on stage at almost every gig since most of the venues don’t have a ramp up to the stage and the ADA apparently does not apply to access to the stage.

Said Forrest about his accident, “I did a little drowning, I did a little dying, but I said Heaven can wait. I didn’t lose my sense of humor.” Sounds like a song lyric. Sounds like a great way to live. But as far as I can tell, he doesn’t sing about his accident, or his disability. It is the usual sex, alcohol, partying, etc. You know the drill. But I honestly think that he can inspire kids in wheelchairs to think, and to believe that they can rock if they want to.

Cityzen’s music itself is interesting. This link will take you to a sampling of their music, which is not bad with the exception of a goofy song called “White Rapper”. Their guitarists infuse the music with funk and blues. I can’t place who Forrest’s voice sounds like, but it’s not bad.

A Time Machine with Hand Controls, Episode I – The Middle Ages

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by Treadmarkz

Announcing a new segment here at treadmarkz.wordpress.com…”A Time Machine with Hand Controls” in which I explore living conditions for the disabled throughout history.

I have written about my thoughts on what my life may have been like had I grown up on a farm and not in a small town, and exploring that possibility has lead me to want to explore another dimension.

Time.

What kid hasn’t wondered what his/her life would be like if they’d been born in another time? My favorite place and time period is Europe in the Middle Ages (between the years 500 roughly, to about 1300-something, when brains became important again in Europe.

I love to read about the Middle Ages. The wars, the struggles for survival, and even the schmaltzy fictitious legends of knights in shining armor. But living in it? First off, without the use of my legs I would have been useless in the Wars for the Holy Sepulchre (the Crusades) unless I was able to come up with a way to hold fast in the saddle while wielding a sword and fighting off “infidels”.

During the Middle Ages in Europe, the law of the land was feudalism, which means you were “allowed” to work the land in exchange for protection from your lord (usually some fat guy who got someone to do all his fighting for him). Incidentally this is where the modern term “landlord” comes from.

There was no place to buy your food unless you wanted to travel miles to the nearest market place. If not, you were to grow and raise and graze your own food. Traversing the land to get to said market would be a chore in and of itself for someone without use of their legs, as their was no Quickie wheelchairs in the Middle Ages. There is record of wheelchairs being used in China in the sixth century but in Europe not until well after the Middle Ages and even then their use was restricted to the Royals. And anyway, a wheelchair certainly would have done little good for a disabled peasant who worked the fields.

Most European-based surnames are rooted in the trade of those in the Middle Ages who were lucky enough to be self-sufficient and not to be dependent on a lord. Tanner, Smith, Shoemaker, and Miller are all examples that come to mind.

But let’s be honest. Technology did not allow the disabled the freedom we enjoy today. There was no ADA protecting the rights of the disabled in the work force. And there was no social security. Most disabled people scraped a living together however they could, and this was hard, as other folk saw them as witches or bad omens, the blind often seen as some kind of oracle with inner vision that the rest of us did not possess. Again, stereotypes can be used to one’s advantage! Much in the same way that the eight-limbed girl from India has been recently doted on as a reincarnated Vishnu. Can you blame them for running with it? I would!

In closing, it has come to my attention that in the Middle Ages, everyone had the middle name of “the” – Alfred the Great, Harold the Bold, Henry the Unready, Philip the Goofy. Whatever. Well, I would be Forrest the Lame, of course. But I digress.

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