zimbabwe

I watch with revulsion as an unstable, possibly insane old man tries so desparately to cling to power – and I’m not talking about brown. Things in Zimbabwe look grim, and you have to wonder A) how could we have let things get this bad, and B) if e invaded Iraq because saddam was so bad, why don’t we invade Zimbabwe? Oh yes, there’s no oil in Zimbabwe is there?

On top of this we look towards nelson Mandela to do something. Isn’t it ironic that, amid the war on terror, we call a former terrorist a statesman, and look to him to solve our problems. Don’t get me wrong: I respect Mandela, but hate hierocracy.

Wheelchair man ‘over the limit’

this story, about a man caught driving his wheelchair while drunk, could be bad news for me. It is technically against the law for me to drive my wheelchair while over the limit. Boo. That’s half the fun! Especially when my eyes automatically close driving home from the pub.

Seriously though: I am sensible, flipping it to manual when I’ve had too much and asking my friend for a push. Either that or I just take my manual chair. Either way, I have never gone down any motorway access roads, drunk or otherwise.

artwork

Back at home, in our conservatory on the opposite side of the dresser to my degree certificate, hang two drawings. They are quite extraordinary: very bright and vivid, made up of swirls which combine to create recognisable features. They were given to my parents as a Christmas present from Arina Zinovyeva, a friend of my brother’s who came to stay. Luke emailed today to say that arina now has her own website. He wrote: ” If you see anything you like, be sure to pass a link on to your friends; Arina could do with more publicity.” I must agree, and therefore suggest you check arina’s artwork out here.

beaten

I went shopping this morning. Nothing unusual – the wes is now closed at the weekends, so I needed lunch. On the way back from the village centre, I spotted one of those scooter things for old folks going my way, and decided to have some fun. I waited for the old guy in the scooter to draw parallel, then floored it…only something unthinkable happened. The scooter – quite a big one, mind, not a flimsy fold-up – started to pull away. How could that be? It gradually got quite a sizable lead.

DAMN IT!

answeers

i am still working on the answer to Katie’s question. The truth is, that even though I see the use of such language as, in a way, counterproductive inasmuch as it sets up rhetorical divisions, I still enjoy the irony in referring to myself as a cripple. I love how people react; I love the sense of power it gives me. I suppose too that I need to remember the history of disabled people, and how, by using such language, we right the wrongs of the past. This brings one back to that paradox, which I’m still uneasy about. Part of me wants to embrace it, but part of me thinks that to try to have our cake and to eat it politically stymies us.

I need to think more on this.

conformity

There is one thing that unites humanity – we are all unique. To two people are alike, save for identical twins, and even they differ in terms of personality. Thus the idea of normal is a paradox: nobody is normal, and everyone is; basically, there’s no such thing as normal, and therefore, cp or no cp, I have as much right to brand myself normal as anyone. This is why I am extremely hesitant about the idea of freakism – of deliberately branding yourself not normal. It is a politics based on difference, which strikes me as essentially conservative. To see any one character trait as the core of one’s identity leads only to the internalisation of difference. To say ”I am black” ”I am Jewish” ”I am a woman” instantly sets up barriers, leading only to a separatist mindset. People talk of pride – disability pride, gay pride, black pride – but pride to what end? I am proud to be me, proud of my achievements, proud too of my friends and family. Why should I be proud of my disability any more than my brown hair.

This is coming from a guy who wears girl’s clothes and zentai suits. That’s just part of who I am, neither a source of pride nor disgrace. I say let everyone be who they are; take pleasure in the differences between all people, but remember too that everyone is equal.

I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t stereotype. To internalise any one aspect to the core of one’s being is to conform to one’s stereotype. There are some people who hold that if one has a disability, one must emphasise that aspect of yourself in order to reclaim it; one must enact disability stereotypes, to ‘be proud’. However, I see this as a type of conformity – to embrace the stereotype is to conform to it. Rather, I think we need to break free from the stereotypes, but not in a way that conforms to an arbitrary norm. anticonformity is a type of conformity. Thus the only way to break free from the stereotypes, to extend the concept of normal so that it embraces us, is just to be ourselves.

This is a complex issue, and I’m not sure I’ve explained it well enough. i am not saying we should abandon our wheelchairs; nor should we be all drawing attention to the fact we’re disabled, for the two are in a way the same thing. We should just be doing what comes naturally.

protest

Surprisingly, there doesn’t appear to be much coverage of this, even on ouch, but on the breakfast news this morning there was a story about a group of lads with duchenne muscular dystrophy going to protest at downing street. They’re demanding more money be given towards stem cell research. Having lost three friends to DMD, I completely support them, and kind of whish I could be there. It was quite a painful experience, you know, having to watch your school friends pass away one by one; when I hear of l.d’s passing – and I know it’ll come – I don’t know how I’ll react. In my opinion, this is the worst aspect of the special school system, and renders moot any arguments against inclusion. Yes, disabled kids may be bullied etc by their able-bodied peers etc, but with all due respect this is nothing compared to what special schools make you go through. Either way, I hope that protest succeeds – call me medical model, but there’s little I want more than a cure for DMD.

plug

Not that it has much to do with disability, but apparently the new out from animals album is now available to download. This is an up-and-coming technoband from Chester, whom I know through charlotte. They aren’t a bad group, so why don’t you go have a listen?

link

passe?

While I broadly agree with Laurence clarks article here, it’s about five years behind the times. Indeed, it’s quite passe. I used to refer to myself as a spastic, then a ‘toid, but then I realised if we crips are ever going to achieve true equality, why set up a linguistic barrier? The reclamation of language, while lauded by some in the disabled community, looks from some angles like counterproductive political agitationism. It reinforces barriers rather than breaking them down. Only from certain angles, mind.

principals my butt

I know I was kind to the Tories on Thursday; I was trying to take a balanced view. I am aware that I must not get too blinkered, putting the party name before their policies and not listening to what they are saying. But what the fuck is David davis doing?! It is one thing to be opposed to this stupid 42 days thing, but quite another to use it as a springboard for some attention-grabbing stunt. We all know brown’s a dead duck, but what is davis quitting for? Principals my butt. The whole thing is nauseating.

Politics seems more and more childish these days.