Archive for the ‘history’ Category
I blogged about Oscar Pistorius’ bid to enter the Olympics (not the Paralympics) in 2008. If you don’t know who I am talking about he is a runner who has both lower legs amputated but has been fitted with a pair of “blades” which have been found to mimic a set of human feet in such a way that they do not give him an unfair advantage. This was not the case in 2008 if I remember correctly, but anyway, he was in for 2012. I did not even know about it until the Olympics already started this year. Anyway, I have not been able to muster up the level of interest it takes for me to blog about a subject even though it is admittedly a big turn of events. Now that the Olympics are almost over, I can say, well done, Oscar. It is progress. It muddies the waters between the land of the able and the land of the horrible, mangled creatures they call “disabled.”. So I am happy about that. I just don’t care too much. Come to think of it, I don’t really care that the Paralympics are starting, and I think I mentioned why, in 2008. There are categories that allow pretty much anyone to get into the Paralympics as long as you have a chipped tooth or got your foot run over by a bicycle when you were six or something. Seriously the categories are quite inclusive. Look it up. The Paralympics, it seems, are less specialized than the Olympics. So it is quite exclusive company Pistorius was in when he made it into the Olympics this year.
Hmm..maybe it really was a bigger deal than I thought. See that is what blogging does for me. It allows me to take an issue, and talk it out until I’ve come full circle, back where, I started, but with a new outlook.
Just dropping by to add a link to the story of Shawn Beam, who recently, as my title strongly suggests, became the only known person in a wheelchair to ever bowl a perfect game. My first reaction was “So what? he’s got arms, hasn’t he?” But then the part of me that is a history major kicked in and realized that this was a “first” and as such, deserved the press coverage.
Check it out:
Joan Rivers was the first female to (guest) host the Tonight Show. She has been very influential in comedy for the last couple of generations. I give her a lot of credit for that. She could have been the female equivalent of George Carlin. But I don’t currently see her as such, when I see her on every “red carpet event” my wife watches. I find her hard to listen to and I don’t particularly find her humor all that thoughtful, as I do Carlin’s.
So why do I respect her at the moment? I just watched a bit of her fashion-themed talk show with my aforementioned wife, and she was critiquing a dress that some celebrity had recently been seen in public wearing which had a wide-open back. Joan Rivers commented that “You don’t have a wide-open back like that unless you have spina bifida!”
I was impressed because, quite simply, hardly anyone I ever talk to seems to have any idea what the symptoms of spina bifida are. Though this comment was not necessarily funny, she did accurately describe my condition, at birth. She proved to me that she’d done her homework while writing her jokes.
So I cannot believe I am saying this, but well played, Joan Rivers. Well played. I salute you. Until the next thing I hear you say. ;)
I have not read the book “Imperfect: An Improbable Life” but I am well versed in the story of Jim Abbott, the Major League Baseball pitcher who pitched for the Angels, went to the Olympic Summer Games, and later threw a no-hitter with the New York Yankees. His story is all the greater when you consider he was born with one arm. His story surely will be an inspiration to any child with a disability. Any parent who is looking for examples to give their disabled child of proof that they can do anything, please read this book and tell your child all about Jim Abbott. I admired him so much from afar as a kid growing up with spina bifida and wishing like crazy that I could have been part of the little league team.
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.
Just stopping in to drop a couple of links to my other blog. Normally I would keep the two blogs separate because of the wide gulf in subject matter. But these two posts, while related to my spiritual life, also have a lot to do with disabilities. So you may be interested. Have a look: