Left Behind by Design: A Voice Command Future Silences the Deaf and the Other Disabled

Ever since the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 became law on July 26 of that year, disabled people have been in a steady decline in services, support and protection. Oftentimes — the struggle is more rewarding than the win — and once the day is won, everyone relaxes, and forgets what the real meaning of the fight for rights was all about, and things begin to decay into apathy against an upward, failing, expectation.

Evidence of this lack of accessible ubiquity in our technological futures for the Disabled is the rise of the “Voice Only” command system, be it an Amazon Echo, the Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, Xfinity Voice Remote, Apple TV voice command, Google Docs voice dictation, or even Apple’s Siri.

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The Shape of Water: Guillermo del Toro and the Failure to Consecrate

Guillermo del Toro’s new movie — The Shape of Water — is a high-minded movie that looks great, sounds good, but ultimately fails to consecrate the point of the story: Communication Creates Love.

There are all sorts of movie tropes packed into the The Shape of Water — but the center of the swirling is a “mute” janitor, played by Sally Hawkins, who falls in love with a sea monster because they are able to communicate using American Sign Language; and that major flaw in discovery, reason, and accessibility, will serve as the remainder of my argument why The Shape of Water, in the end, fails as a facilitation for a grander, romantic, connection of human/serpent longing.

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Never as Sweet as the Memory

As I get older, I notice that things I once loved, and remembered with a philosophic passion, no longer measure up to the memory in reality. With the resurrection of old TV shows in expanded reruns on new cable channels like MeTV, old childhood favorites like “Wonder Woman” and “The Carol Burnett Show” and “The Incredible Hulk” are bitter comparisons to what they used to be in memory.

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The Disabled Defense: Canes and Wheelchairs

I am a wide supporter of the disabled and devices that help them live better and easier lives. However, in the last few years, I’ve witnessed odd behavior on the streets, and in public gathering spaces, that sounds an alarm of concern. Some people in wheelchairs — actually, the person pushing the wheelchair, not the rider — and those who use canes, are beginning to use those facilitation devices as weapons!

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Buy Our Book! American Sign Language Level 5: A Field Guide for Advanced Communication Techniques for People with Other Disabilities

Janna and I are pleased to announce our latest book is now available for purchase from Amazon — American Sign Language Level 5: A Field Guide for Advanced Communication Techniques for People with Other Disabilities written by David Boles, M.F.A. and Janna Sweenie, M.A. — yes, it’s an eyeful of a title, but that sort of specificity is necessary for this sort sort of real life ASL field guide.

BUY NOW!


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David Cameron has Blood on His Hands

“David Cameron has blood on his hands.”  Yes, I dare to write those words because, apparently, that is the most evil and disgusting thing I can say — at least according to one judge in the UK — who fined a disabled woman £450 for saying the same thing.

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