A Most Interesting Find

Hello, readers. This is Brittany Clayton writing. Almost two weeks ago now while I was scrolling through my twitter, I found a tweet from a friend of mine. He talked about a show that he was hosting on a channel called AMI, (Accessibl Media Incorporated.) This show was called Blind Sighted and it peeked my interest. I decided to watch an episode just to see what it was like. While I was watching Blind Sighted, an ad came on for a program that would be airing later that night called “AMI This Wee.”
I decided to check that program out as well. During the episode, the reporters were asked about the way they viewed the portrayal of people with disabilities in literature and the media. Immediately, two examples of literature came to mind. The first is Theodore Taylor’s “The Cay”, which was written in 1969. In this novel, the main character, — Phillip Entire — is blinded when his ship is torpedoed on the way to Virginia. When he is blinded, Phillip automatically assumes that he is now helpless and cannot do anything. **Spoiler alert: at the end of the book, he gets his sight back.**
The second book that came to mind was Josh Birk’s “The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin.” In this book, the main character, — Will Halpin — is deaf, but he rejects his deaf identity by transferring from a school for the deaf to the mainstream high school system. There are a lot of instances of humour in this book, especially around Halpin’s deafness. In sharp contrast to Taylor’s “The Cay”, the disability is not being viewed negatively. In “The Cay”, the main character becomes disabled and assumes that he is helpless. However, in “The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin”, the main character prevails even with his disability and is able to solve a crime. Birk’s “The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin” is evidently much more modern than “The Cay” because there are multiple references to the Halpin family watching television with closed captioning.
It is also very evident to me that there has been a change in the way characters with disabilities are portrayed in literature. I like the way that Will Halpin was portrayed in “The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin.”
The reporters on “AMI This Week” also felt that there was a change for the better in the way that people with disabilities are being portrayed. One thing that peeked my interest, though, was that near the end of the program, the reporters were saying that they would like to see disabled actors playing characters who were able-bodied. There are some interesting modern-day examples of characters with disabilities being played by able-bodied actors. One such example is “The Good Doctor”‘s Shawn Murphy, the leading man, who also has autism. Another example of this is Glee’s Lauren Potter, who played Becky Jackson, — the character with Down’s syndrome.
While I agree with the reporters on “AMI This Week”, I believe that in order to achieve that, a lot of careful research and casting would have to be done. If, for instance, the producers of a show cast an actor who was blind to play the part of a character who needed to drive a car, this would not be ideal. It would also not be ideal if an actor who was usually in a wheelchair was cast as the star football player who had to run around all over the place. In order to avoid those situations, a lot of careful research and casting would need to be done.
Did that entry about “AMI This Week” peek your interest? If you want to watch AMI, here’s how you can access it: AMI is channel 888 for those who use rogers. When trying to access AMI, ignite tv is ideal as pressing “888” takes you to the aquarium channel. For those who may have an Ignite TV, simply say “AMI” while holding down the button that enables voice commands and it should take you directly there. I hope you have enjoyed reading this entry.

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