Sarah Einstein writes

Redstone SFDisability is created by the ways in which we live. I couldn’t carry two five gallon buckets of water from a communal well to my house a few miles away or easily climb the steps of Machu Picchu in the thin air of the Andes. Because I am a privileged, twenty-first century American woman, this does not make me disabled, but if I were living another life, it could. I am able-bodied because the place where I live already accommodates the ways in which my body does not function optimally. What would a world look like that accommodated all kinds of bodies, all ways of communicating, every way of being an embodied human? How will the need to accommodate alien bodies influence how we accommodate our own? How will science help us build fully inclusive communities?

There is too little science fiction written that envisions a fully accessible, universally designed future. And so we are asking you, gentle readers, to do just that. We’re announcing the first contest to be sponsored by Redstone Science Fiction!

A science fiction writing contest. What a superb idea. Science fiction exists to prepare us for the future. What kind of future are we preparing for in terms of people with disabilities?


the Oscar goes to…

March 8, 2010

Music by Prudence

Oscar for best short-subject documentary.


This got a little more attention at the Oscars since one of the producers “pulled a Kanye” on the director as he was giving his acceptance speech. (Also, how funny is it that Kanye is now part of the lexicon for someone who upstages someone accepting an award?)

I’ll come back and edit if I find out when this documentary will be shown on TV in the U.S.

Lady Gaga and her interest in wheelchairs

I didn’t watch the Video Music Awards last September, but afterwards, there was a big to-do about the inclusion of a wheelchair dancer.

Some discussion on the topic:

It was probably a reference to the actual video to the song:

Lady Gaga

She can walk!!!

I’m not entirely sure that my opinion on the social implication of this matters since a) I’m abled, and b) Lady Gaga’s whole schtick is that she’s all vacuous surface and no substance, so any “statement” she makes is instantly made meaningless anyway.

(And this happened last September, which gives you an idea of how far behind I am about blogging this stuff).

Artie from Glee

Artie Abrams from Glee

Glee (9pm Wednesdays on FOX) is a musical comedy about a high school glee club. It has a sortof Freaks and Geeks vibe about it in that it talks about the divide and also the overlaps between jock and nerd cliques.One of the members of the Glee Club from the beginning has been Artie.

It has a rather large ensemble cast, so up to this point Artie hasn’t really had an episode yet. Last night it was his turn. The school will only provide a standard bus for the club to go to a competition and the club needs to raise the money to rent a wheelchair-accessible bus

As a bonus, there was a subplot about the evil cheerleading coach allowing a girl with Down Syndrome onto the cheerleading squad. (Also, damn the writers for making the villain of the show into a sympathetic character!) Yes, she has a sympathetic moment even after earlier in the episode she gives a hilariously incomprehensible speech about how wheelchair ramps encourage laziness in the ablebodied students by giving them a way to avoid the stairs.


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Ghost in the Shell &

Ghost in the Shell—Stand Alone Complex

The Japanese manga/animé series Ghost in the Shell actually is (at its deepest levels) mostly about people with super-disabilities—although ostensibly the theme is about humans’ relationship with the machines they build and how that relationship changes us.

What is a “super-disability” you ask? Consider South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius.


Oscar, a double amputee, created a stir in 2007 because he came within 0.75s of qualifying for the South African Olympic Team. Not the Paralympics—the Abled Olympics. There was some debate as to whether he should be permitted to compete because his prosthetic limbs give him an unfair advantage.

We’re not quite there yet, but what happens when the artificial becomes better than the real thing?

This is a key question in Ghost in the Shell and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.

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I loved this scene from season 5 of Malcolm in the Middle.


Malcolm and Stevie

Stevie has stopped talking in this episode and is using an AAC device.

Would an AAC device in real life survive that sprinkler?

Would an AAC device in real life survive that sprinkler?

Stevie: (with computer) Thanks, Malcolm, that is what I really needed to hear.
Malcolm: Oh, good.
Stevie: (with computer) This thing sucks at sarcasm.

It’s funny because it’s true!

Disabilities in pop culture 4

February 21, 2009

Zatoichi, the Blind Samurai

And none of this 2003 remake crap.

There were something like a thousand Zatoichi films and there was always, always some damsel in distress that needed rescuing.

Sometimes being blind can be an asset. (See also Audrey Hepburn in Wait Until Dark)

Disabilities in Pop Culture

February 20, 2009

Esquire has a list that I’m not sure if I should be amused or offended by.

“The Five Most Incredible Physically Disabled Action Movie Heroes”

It is a little surprising to me that Zatoichi, the Blind Samurai is not on this list.


November 9, 2008

The Strong National Museum of Play has inducted The Stick into the Toy Hall of Fame.

a well-deserved honor

a well-deserved honor

The best-designed toys are the ones that aren’t designed at all.