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“Push Girls” Off To a Good Start

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by Treadmarkz

“Push Girls” debuted last night on Sundance Channel. I thought the show started off good. It’s not your typical study of people in wheelchairs trying to fit into society really. It covers a variety of issues from relationships, and employment that are often struggles for those in chairs. But the chairs become secondary when the series surveys other key issues, such as homosexuality, work stresses, etc. which really drive home the point that these ladies deal with everyday things. There lives are not just “wheelchair, wheelchair, wheelchair, 24/7.

One of the four ladies featured on the show describes how it is talking with clients of her business on the phone, setting up in-person appointments with them, and then the reaction when they see she is in a chair. This is a case-study in and of itself.

Another struggles in her long-term relationship with an able-bodied man who does not think he wants kids, but she knows that she does. I loved how this turned the tables on what one might expect. You know, an able bodied man wanting kids but in a relationship with a woman who may not be able to because of her disability. She is sure of it and wants that experience, and he eventually ends the relationship. But the woman showed herself to be strong in her convictions, ready to end the relationship herself if need be. A poignant moment was her saying (to the camera in a private tell-all moment) that she wasn’t going to be one of those disabled people who stayed in a relationship that wasn’t what she wanted just because she felt like she would never have another chance.

It would be sad for a disabled person to live like that. But I couldn’t help thinking it would also be sad if the perfect person for her happened to be another man in a wheelchair and she just didn’t recognize it.

Another enters a dance competition wherein she is the only contestant who is not standing. It is interesting to see her prepare for this, knowing that all eyes will be on her, knowing that she’s at a distinct disadvantage from the beginning, and knowing that some will see her participation as a novelty. She is not doing it to show off, or stand out. She is doing it because she has always been a dancer, and will always be a dancer, working legs or no working legs. She is not a novelty and she shows it in the competition.
The series speaks volumes about our place in society as disabled people. In every aspect of life, we throw ourselves into it, and participate. My wife and I cannot wait for next week’s episode.

New Reality Series “Push Girls” About Paraplegic Women To Premiere on Sundance Channel

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by Treadmarkz

Just dropping by to note a series on premiering on June 4th on Sundance Channel called “Push Girls”. It is a series which will follow four paraplegic women in the Hollywood area. The series intends to show how these ladies can be ambitious, outspoken, dynamic, and…believe it or not…sexy even! See the link above for more information on the premise of the series.

Nazis Got Their Ideas on Forced Sterilization From The U.S.A.

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by Treadmarkz

It is a very sad thing to see that your country was the inspiration for one aspect of one of the most horrific acts of “ethnic cleansing” in human history. But it is true. As Anderson Cooper reported tonight on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360″, the Nazis took inspiration for their program of forced sterilization of Jews from the United States Government. The U.S. reportedly sterilized many thousands of people who were considered weak or not fit to procreate, including many with various types of what we would today merely call disabilities, but back then they were just defective quasi-humans, apparently. See the full story here.

What is Santorum REALLY Saying About His Feelings Toward Disabled Children?

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by Treadmarkz

Prenatal testing encourages abortions? I don’t know, Rick Santorum, I think you’re a bit off the mark on this one. I think, first and foremost, it gives parents-to-be the opportunity to know what they are up against when their baby comes if he or she does have a disability. It gives them the opportunity to plan financially and prepare themselves emotionally for all that is going to be required of them to give the baby the best life they can provide.

And second, I think that by saying prenatal testing encourages abortions, Santorum is showing us his true feelings toward people with disabilities. I believe him when he says he is 100% anti-abortion. But to suggest that when a parent finds out their child will be disabled that they should for some reason want to terminate the pregnancy, well, that tells me something about Santorum’s mindset, to tell you the truth.

Liberals who consider themselves “pro-choice” are not “anti-life”. They are not going around looking for a reason to have an abortion. That seems to be what Santorum is trying to suggest here. But it doesn’t add up.

Sarah Palin Goes to War with The Family Guy

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by Treadmarkz

I have defended Sarah Palin’s actions in the past on this blog, particularly in regard to her putting her developmentally disabled child in the spotlight. But when Palin recently criticized the makers of the FOX animated comedy “The Family Guy” last week, I was a little more than amused at her antics.
The trouble started when “The Family Guy” aired an episode in which the teenage boy in the family, Chris, develops a crush on a girl in his school and asks her out. The girl in question has Down Syndrome. Palin took issue with the depiction.

I can see how Palin, as the parent of a child with a disability can get a little sensative about the issue, but in this episode, sure maybe the fact that the girl was disabled was the joke, but think about it this way: As long as you don’t immediately see this scenario as unrealistic, then its not a joke. And as long as that’s true, then all “The Family Guy” did was make it okay for a “normal” kid to find something beautiful about a girl with a disability. Turns the joke around on itself.

DIGRESSION FROM THE TOPIC: I don’t know if this was a regional thing when I was growing up, but often when a girl was called a “dog” you’d hear her respond with “dogs bark, bark grows on trees, trees are nature, nature is beautiful, thank you for the compliment.” Turning the insult into a compliment. (Takes a little more thought than a simple “I know you are but what am I?”)

Where the hell was I? Oh yeah…

Same principle is at work here. I don’t mean to sound naive or overly idealistic, but I truly believe this. People are going to joke. We with disabilities cannot stop that. Life goes on and we all shine on.

A lot of  females with disabilities, in wheelchairs particularly it seems, feel that something of their femininity is taken from them by their physical appearance. This episode made the girl attractive, at least to Chris. And that is all it takes is for one person to find you attractive or worthy of love and affection and you’re on your way to something great.
If you haven’t seen the episode, then SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!! I also liked it that they showed, once again (I know I go off on this a lot) that a person with a disability is not always a saint. This girl just so happens to turn out to be a bit of a meanie.

Oh yeah and as to the fact that the girl in the episode said her mom was the former governor of Alaska, big deal. If that was what Palin was all in a fit ab0ut, well all I can say is politicians get a lot of jokes flung in their directions.

I don’t know. What do you all think?

Cheers. Aum.

“Music Within”: Not Your Typical Cinderella Story of “Overcoming Adversity with a Disability”

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by Treadmarkz

A while back I mentioned a movie I’d heard of, “Music Within” and I promised to write more about it once I’d actually seen it. Well here ya go!

I know I am wrong but sometimes when I read a movie review by someone who was not paid to do it, I feel like they are just doing it to show off their taste in “film” whatever the hell that is. Is that worse than people doing it because they are paid to? I don’t know. But I can never seem to get into writing a standard review of a movie, with full-blown analysis of characters and their motives and historical accuracy, narrative flow, etc. I just can’t do it.

So this isn’t going to be a “review” of “Music Within”. Sure it was a great lesson on how disabled people broke the doors wide open into the workforce. But you can read about that in a lot of other places, and frankly I am tired of mentioning the ADA. (So what do I go and do right away?)

Anyway, I have just a few observations on “Music Within.”

What stood out for me, in “Music Within” is that if you really search, or even if you just open your mind, you will find that you have a lot more in common with the people around you than you may think upon first glance. People without a disability may look at this film and see a character with cerebral palsy, played by Michael Sheen, and be startled by a few things:

- He has a crude sense of humor. I think people don’t realize that people with cerebral palsy have the mental capacity to have what is the common conception of a sense of humor. And if they do, they certainly couldn’t be crude and R-rated could they? Yes, they could. And I think this misconception gets applied to many different types of disabilities (let’s say, oh I don’t know, spina bifida). But it’s wrong. Ask my wife. She has to listen to me, for example, when we are watching a movie that I “object” to for any given reason that I make up on the spot.

- He has the capability to be rude, and abrasive. Well of course he’s rude and abrasive and angry and standoffish, he’s afflicted!!!…No…that’s not why. It’s because he’s human. And if you are rude to someone in a wheelchair or not in a wheelchair, they just may choose to be rude back to you. They may choose not to say anything about it, and that may be perceived as letting it happen, or it may be perceived as being above responding. It’s all relative, I suppose.

- He has a sex drive. I know, “duh!”, right? But some people just don’t understand that people with disabilities are sexual beings. The fact is that many people with disabilities, especially paralysis, depending on their level of paralysis, may experience repression to an extent that others simply can not understand, because they do not have the same level of freedom of expression of love, passion, lust, what have you. For some, this repression is expressed through the way they talk to the people they are attracted to, or how they “hit on” people. There are some great examples of this in the movie, where in Sheen’s character openly invites several women to partake in…certain activities with him.

But above all, to all three of these things, I say…Duh, he’s a guy. We’re like that. Crude, bi-polar, sex junkies. Can I get a witness?

Okay that’s a cheap stereotype. I got much more out of this movie than this, but I don’t want to write a book. And I don’t want to pontificate (too much). Take a look for yourself.

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