The (Proposed) NTID School Song


It has come to my attention that Gallaudet University has a school song ..

.. but my alma mater, the National Technical Insitute for the Deaf, does not.

So I wrote one. Or the lyrics, rather. I’d need someone else to write the music.

Here goes. Let me know what you think.

“We’ve Been Institutionalized!”
The NTID School Song

Our brains were on empty,
we needed to learn,
our job skills were meager,
oh where could we turn?

We needed our own place,
we needed to find
a classroom or two where
the teachers all signed.

Cue President Johnson!
And Lady Bird, please!
He signed some papers and
she planted some trees!

And thus they erected
on a suburban plateau
a place where all the
deaf people could go.

And what did they call it?


N! T! I! D!
The National (National!)
Technical (Technical!)
Institution (It’s an institution, y’all!)
for the Deaf (for the Deaf Deaf Deaf yeah!)

We’ve been institutionalized!
We’ve been jaded and surprised!
You can’t take away that prize!
Too busy aiming for the skies!

The clock has moved forward,
the campus has grown.
All this from those early
seeds that were sown.

Bill Castle’s bold jackets,
the stories of Panara
Oh what an exciting
and memorable era.

Surrounded by bricks,
dumped on by snow,
it was here that we learned
what we needed to know.

We can only wonder
where we would be
if we hadn’t gone to


N! T! I! D!
The National (National!)
Technical (Technical!)
Institution (It’s an institution, y’all!)
for the Deaf (for the Deaf Deaf Deaf yeah!)

We’ve been institutionalized!
We’ve been jaded and surprised!
You can’t take away that prize!
Too busy aiming for the skies!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

How to Argue Like Ricky Taylor

It must be hard to be Ricky Taylor. He is constantly getting into arguments but he doesn’t have any hope of winning on smarts alone because he doesn’t have any to spare. Thus he has to use other techniques. This will give you an overview of his tactics.

By far the biggest tool in this tool’s box is attempted character assassination.

The reason his head is so big is because it is filled with every rumor he has ever heard about you. Thus you might make the most valid argument in the world, but it won’t matter. He’s not paying any attention. He’s just trying to remember something about you that he thinks he can use as ammunition.

Thus if you cure cancer and he once heard a rumor that you pooped your pants in kindergarten, his response will be, “Ha ha, nice try, Mr. Poopy Pants!”

Another thing he does is to claim to be the representative of a vast number of people who are against you. “No wonder everyone thinks you’re nuts,” he will say, with nary a clue of who “everyone” is. (“Everyone” is probably the handful of people who still give this fool the time of day.)

Oh, speaking of fools, how could I forget one of the biggest weapons in this dude’s holster — nasty name calling. Since he is not capable of making intelligent arguments, nasty name calling is just about all he can do. The whole world and everyone in it is a “fucktard.” You’ve just rebutted his argument 10 different ways? “Fucktard,” he will say, and that will be that.

And while the rest of the civilized world has gotten the memo about not using the word “retarded” as an insult, Ricky Taylor continues to fling it around with reckless abandon — and poor grammar.  “You are so retard,” he will say.  The correct way to say it is YOU ARE SO RETARDED, Ricky.  Or YOU ARE SUCH A RETARD, Ricky.

He likes to look for one tiny part of your argument that might be factually wrong and zero in on that as if it refutes the rest of the argument. I made an error of geography and he pounced as if it proved my entire argument wrong. It did not.

Another Ridor argument tactic is to make incredibly long and boring vlogs from a decrepit environment looking sloppy and wearing dirty clothes. I have tried to watch them but have never gotten more than 10 or 15 seconds into one of his vlogs before I change the channel.

He will also instigate arguments and conveniently forget how they started as he bashes you for your response.

For example: Someone liked a FB comment I made but he said it came from his mom and she didn’t know how to undo it. I said I was not surprised that the woman who brought Ricky Taylor into the world could not decipher the complexities of Facebook’s “like” button. Of course he then cried crocodile tears in defense of his mother, conveniently ignoring that earlier that same day he had accused me of an unspeakable crime. Hey, if you don’t want me to point out that your mom is dumb, don’t say horrible shit about me.

Oh, and he makes ridiculous comparisons. He implied that he was a better person than I am because he has more “followers,” i.e. Facebook friends. Geez Louise, who cares? I don’t WANT a lot of FB friends. If you’re going to have a “whose is bigger?” contest, make sure the other guy is competing.

Another absurd comparison: He implied that he was the better man because he has three jobs and I only have one. I don’t need three jobs.

(By the way, the only job he publicly admits to is delivery driver. He keeps the other two secret. I suspect weed dealer and gay masseur.)

(By the way again, that was an example of two Ricky Taylor arguing techniques, bringing up something heard in the past and implying illegal and immoral behavior.)

He also likes to make irrelevant arguments. Regarding Deaf Bashed Mom, he kept going on about the alleged abuser (who’s been found guilty of nothing) as if that gave Deaf Bashed Mom free reign to ignore court orders. The real issue was not domestic violence, it was one woman who thought she could do whatever she wanted, society be damned. Ordered to pay certain monies? She pays nothing. Ordered to turn over a dog? She doesn’t show up. “Fuck you, court! Fuck you, society! I’m a victim!”

Finally, he likes to rebut an argument with “That’s not true.” Don’t expect anything further, that’s as far as it gets. You are supposed to accept that it is not true simply because he just told you so.

So that’s how to argue like Ricky Taylor. It’s a pretty simple technique, since it’s used by a pretty simple-minded man.

The reason he argues at such a primitive level is because his audience consists primarily of stupid people, who don’t know any better and have really low standards and self-esteem and don’t know how to hold this idiot accountable for all the shit he brings into our deaf world.


Filed under Uncategorized

Ricky Taylor, the Deaf Community’s Village Idiot

ridor9thIf I could do only one thing to improve the deaf community, I would have Ricky D. Taylor (aka Ridor) taken out and shot.

(I need to pause here in these touchy-feely times and specify that the previous statement was a figure of speech and in reality I do not advocate violence.)

I call Ridor the Deaf Rush Limbaugh for obvious reasons … both are fat and stupid and able to get stupid people to listen to them.

I’d be happy to ignore Ridor but once again this week he interjected himself into my life by publicly accusing me of a terrible crime, something he has been doing for many years.

What can you do when a mentally deranged person insists on accusing you of just about the worst crime around, an accusation that otherwise has never touched your life?

Sue the bastard, you’re probably saying. And yes, there is no doubt that he is guilty of slander and libel. But what is the point of suing someone like Ridor? He probably owns three T-shirts and one pair of fat pants and little else.

Ricky Taylor is an unspeakably cruel and creepy cretin to throw such labels around. It is incredibly hurtful to be the target of such a word when I have done nothing in my life whatsoever to warrant such an attack.

I’ve never seen such thick irony. Ricky Taylor, one of the most ardent supporters of self-proclaimed domestic violence survivor Dawn Schriver, responds to my legitimate questions about her fund-raising campaign by attacking me in one of the most horrific ways a person can be attacked.

How the hell is Dawn Schriver going to be a legitimate voice for domestic violence survivors if she is going to pal around with the most vile and abusive person in the deaf community?

She needs to publicly repudiate Ricky Taylor and she needs to do it today.

I am sick and tired of hearing the deaf community bandy about the empty word “accountability” while allowing people like Ricky Taylor to spew their hatred and lies unanswered.

I would like to share a few stories with you about this guy.

1) At Gallaudet, his nickname was Pusher, because he liked to push people down the stairs. Also because of his massive drug dealing enterprise.

2) His friend, on his deathbed, asked Ricky to take care of three puppies. Ricky agreed, then threw the puppies off a bridge on his way home.

3) Ricky came upon a horrible auto accident. No one else was there to help. He took pictures of the victims, went home and posted them on Facebook with an LOL.

4) At summer camp, Ricky’s friends wanted to nurse a sick bird back to health. Ricky stomped on it.

5) He was supposed to be a twin but he ate his brother in utero.

This is the point where I tell you that none of these stories are true, I just made them up.

I figure if Ricky Taylor can make up stories about me, I can do the same thing about him, right? Fair is fair and all that jazz.

The difference between us is that I just told you my stories are not true. Ricky Taylor never does that with the story he tells about me.

He is a classic bully who loves to dish it out but can’t take it. The other day on Facebook, he was insistent on attacking me but I matched him every step of the way. He couldn’t stand the heat and went crying to Facebook and managed to get my posting and everyone’s comments removed from MY OWN PAGE!

He is famous for not tolerating any opposing comments on his own blogs. Now he is getting stuff censored on OTHER PEOPLE’S PAGES?

Then, of course, he blocked me … which is like when your worst neighbor ever moves away. What’s not to like about that?

I have tried to reason with this individual but he simply laughs at and mocks me. What are you going to do with somebody like that?

All I can do at this point is call him out publicly. He is the village idiot and should be in the deaf community’s metaphorical town square locked in stocks and alternately ignored and made fun of.

One other thing I can do is continue to give him a taste of his own medicine with the phony stories that he so loves to tell.

Did you hear the one about Ridor and his sister? Ewwww, you’d better sit down for this ….


Filed under Uncategorized

National Theatre of the CODA

Betty Beekman

The National Theatre of the Deaf recently announced the appointment of a new executive director.

I know what you’re thinking.  “The National Theatre of the Deaf is still around??”  Can’t blame you for thinking that.  They have been exceedingly quiet for many years now.

The following article will fill you in on the news:

I left a response to this article but it wasn’t printed.  Dissension is not allowed on a “happy news” website.

But I’m sharing it here:

+ + + + +

I’m a deaf person myself and have been a journalist in the deaf community for some 30 years.

I’m very disappointed that the NTD board of directors handed the director’s job on a silver platter to Betty Beekman without letting anyone else apply.  Hearing people can run all the other theaters in America.  Let a deaf person run the National Theatre of the Deaf!

(I’m surprised I even have to say this, it’s such a no-brainer.)

I learned from an NTD board member that they didn’t even bother to look for a deaf director because they didn’t think they’d find anyone.

What does it say about the NTD that in their 45th year of existence, they don’t think there is a single deaf person in America with the capability of running their theater?  Clearly they’ve done a lousy job of developing deaf theater talent.

The NTD was once a big deal.  They used to put on mainstage plays with some of the best deaf actors in America while traveling around the world.  Now they are reduced to four unknowns putting on a show for kids in school auditoriums.

How did that happen?  Betty Beekman has been there all along and I put a lot of the blame for the current state of affairs on her shoulders.

NTD’s current management makes too many excuses.  They’re still crying about the government cutting off their funding years ago.  But plenty of theaters are successful without government money.

The NTD needs new blood, not tired old people who do things the same old way because that’s all they know.

They haven’t even caught on to social media yet!  They have a page on Facebook with nearly 5,500 fans but haven’t posted a thing since last November.

The NTD board was clearly negligent in not even trying to find a deaf director.  If these people don’t want to do their jobs, I think they should get out of the way and make room for those who do.

+ + + + +

I am not anti-CODA* (I’m father to two myself), but if a CODA is going to be appointed to head a deaf organization, I’d like to see some evidence that the organization at least gave deaf people a chance to apply.

The NTD did not.  Thus I propose a new and more appropriate name for the theater going forward:  National Theatre of the CODA.

* CODA = child of deaf adults

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Please Sign This Petition (if you agree)

NBC and NFL: Invite Miss Deaf America to the Next Super Bowl and Show Her This Time

Earlier this year, the American Deaf Community was proud and inspired to learn that our Miss Deaf America would be signing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. Ultimately we were let down and dejected when NBC did not show Miss Deaf America (Rachel Mazique) at all.


This petition calls on NBC and the NFL to invite Miss Deaf America to the next Super Bowl to sign the National Anthem and this time actually show her on camera.

We have a new Miss Deaf America named Chanel Gleicher. She is the last Miss Deaf America, as the sponsoring organization, the National Association of the Deaf, has decided to end the program.

This is an opportunity for NBC to reverse its error at the last Super Bowl and make a statement that deaf people are not to be cropped out of the picture.

Sign Here:

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Enough Already With the Damn Spam, Barry Strassler!

One of the great mysteries of life is why John Yeh is in jail but Barry Strassler is not.

Both men chose the same formula in life:  To enrich themselves by breaking the law.

In Yeh’s case, he started a Video Relay Service, recruited a small army of people to make phony phone calls and then billed the government for millions of dollars.

In Strassler’s case, he has reaped hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising revenue while showing total disregard for anti-spam laws.

Ever since Strassler started Deaf Digest in 1996, he has harvested email addresses and added them to his mailing list without the recipients’ permission.  Anyone who asks to be removed is ignored.

Thus he can tell his advertisers that he has a huge number of subscribers.  Thing is, they are not subscribers.  They are hostages being held against their will.  They are victims being exploited to put money in Strassler’s pockets.

As an example of his business practices, not long ago he contacted the editor of the now-defunct Deaf Rochester magazine to ask for the mailing list.  When she refused, he called her “stupid” and said she didn’t understand how business works.

Why does this matter to me?  Because I run a business that competes with Deaf Digest for the limited amount of advertising money in the deaf community.  It is a very unfair competition.

After since I started Deafweekly ( in 2004, I’ve complied with anti-spam laws.  Every one of our 4,800+ subscribers signed themselves up and replied to a confirmation email.

(I can’t tell you how many subscribers we’ve lost because they signed up but didn’t reply to the confirmation email.  They probably end up mad at me for not sending them the newsletter.  It’s frustrating, but there’s not much I can do about it.  By now, people should know that they need to opt-in to a mailing list.)

Strassler’s techniques are so well-known that someone started a satirical Twitter page called Fake Deaf Digest (  The theme is that he will do anything to add to his mailing list while ignoring all criticism.  (I don’t know who is behind the website.)

A while ago I asked my Facebook friends if anyone had been added to the Deaf Digest mailing list without their permission.  A few replies:

— “Me!  I gave up telling Barry so many times to get me off his mailing list.”

— “Yes … on my alternate email address.”

— “It does irk me to be getting his ‘newsletters’ when I’ve asked repeatedly to be taken off his mailing list.”

— “Oh hell yeah, I’ve been getting his e-mails even when I asked to be removed.”

— “I recently found my work email getting Barry’s so-called e-news, which carry no intellectual value whatsoever.”

He even had the nerve to add ME to his mailing list, sort of rubbing my nose in it.

Since his practices seem so well-known, I have to wonder why people advertise with him.  Are they really that gullible to believe his circulation claims?  Are they really that ignorant of anti-spam laws?

All I can figure is that they know they can’t spam people so they are happy to have Strassler do the dirty work for them.

But here’s the thing.  Under anti-spam laws, both the sender of the email AND any advertiser found within can be fined up to $16,000 per incident.

This is from the website of the Federal Trade Commission, which oversees the CAN-SPAM legislation:

“Each separate email in violation of the law is subject to penalties of up to $16,000, and more than one person may be held responsible for violations.  For example, both the company whose product is promoted in the message and the company that originated the message may be legally responsible.”

He sends his spam out twice a week all year round, which means these fines could add up to $1.664 million over the course of a year.

When I was planning to launch Deafweekly eight years ago, I did some research and learned that Deaf Digest was taking in around $80,000 a year in advertising.  Over 16 years, it is quite possible that Barry Strassler has reaped over a million dollars by spamming the deaf community.

Doesn’t anybody care?  NAD?  TDI?  Anyone?  Hellooo?

I’m frustrated because I’ve complained to the FTC, but nothing happens.  It’s just like the ADA, a toothless law that doesn’t get enforced.

So what can I do?  I guess I’ll just keep telling people about Barry Strassler’s fraudulent ways and hope that one day karma will catch up with him.

As the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email (CAUCE) said, “Today, much of the spam volume is sent by career criminals and malicious hackers who won’t stop until they’re all rounded up and put in jail.”

If there were any justice in the world, Barry Strassler and John Yeh would be cellmates for the rest of their lives.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

NAD Election: How it Looks From Here

I never thought when I endorsed Chris Wagner in last week’s Deafweekly that I would be congratulating him this week as the new National Association of the Deaf president.

Sheri Ann Farinha had tons of support and led in the polls by a large margin.  I thought her victory was a foregone conclusion.

But when the NAD delegates got together last Friday, they elected Wagner president by a 79-49 vote.

How the heck did that happen?

There was no shortage of theories on Sheri’s Facebook page, which quickly blew up like a San Diego fireworks show.

But every comment reaffirmed my decision to endorse Wagner.

Sheri attracts the bloggers and vloggers who complain about everything but do nothing.  Chris attracts the grownups who are too busy running our deaf schools and agencies to waste time on Facebook.

You disagree with me that Sheri’s fans are all talk and no do?

Well, after years of talking they were finally given something to do — get Sheri elected NAD president.  And they couldn’t do it.

And they couldn’t wait to rush back to the Internet so they could talk and talk and talk about their failure to do it.

When Sheri asked for a potential name for a think tank, more than a thousand comments were posted.  Someone made a list and a poll was created (four, actually, because it was too big for one poll) and suddenly we had this “American Idol” thing going on to name Sheri’s Think Tank.

This is what I hate about these people.  They have too much goddamned time on their hands.

We deaf people have serious problems but nobody’s doing anything because everyone’s too busy pounding out blogs and vlogs and FB posts and comments.  Wouldn’t it be nice if just once they would pound out a grant application?

To get something done would require rising from one’s computer and taking a shower and putting on clean clothes and leaving the house.  I mean seriously, can you see someone like Ridor doing that?  Come on.

Sheri, unfortunately, is a “consensus leader,” the kind who thinks everybody has to be involved.  Winston Churchill wasn’t like that.  He’d call it The Think Tank and everyone would like it and no one would waste time on such an unproductive task.  (And you just KNOW the final name of Sheri’s Talk Tank will have a committee feel and a politically correct tone.)

I do admire Sheri.  We had our moments 10 years ago at GLAD but we got over it.  I supported her candidacy, until the loons on her team convinced me otherwise.

But she’s lost points with me since Friday.  I find her call for a boycott of ZVRS to be petulant.  It’s a good thing her opponent did not work for Gallaudet or she’d be telling everyone not to go to Gallaudet.

A lot of deaf people work for the Z.  You mess with the company, you’re messing with people’s livelihoods.  Is it worth it?  To me, it looks like you’re putting yourself ahead of everyone else.

The way I look at it?  If someone’s co-worker is running in an election, it would seem only natural for that person to support and talk up their co-worker, possibly to the detriment of the opponent.

People say ZVRS “fixed the election,” but to me that is crazy talk.  The NAD delegates came from all over the country, representing a large variety of people.  Why would they feel the need to align themselves with one small company from Florida?  How do they benefit?  Nobody’s explained that to me or offered any evidence.

Sheri says that ZVRS engaged in a “smear campaign” against her and she is a victim of “oppression.”  Oh, grow up!  This is all just normal election campaign behavior.  Your post-election grousing makes you look thin-skinned.  If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

And all this nonsense about one ZVRS employee who described Sheri’s supporters as “militants” in an internal email?  What a bunch of ado about nothing!

Everyone describes Sheri’s people as militants.  It’s like saying Mitt Romney attracts rich white guys.  If you don’t like being called militants, come up with a better word.

But calling for a boycott of the company where your opponent works is nothing BUT militant behavior!  If you don’t like being thought of as militants, don’t act militantly.

I’d have a lot more respect if these people would say, “Damn right we’re militants!”  Instead, they whine about some low-level ZVRS worker calling them what they are, in an email they were not supposed to see.  This does not make them look good.

And Sheri’s support must have been wafer thin if it could been dislodged to such a great extent by such an inconsequential matter.

I was admonished today on FB by some stranger that “we are finished talking about the election,” but this is one that we’ll be talking about for years to come.  It’s such a mystery:  how could somebody with such strength and power and support be so badly drubbed in an election?

Most likely, the people who actually decide these things are not on Facebook and never told us what they were thinking.  They looked around, considered their choices, asked themselves “Do we want these people in the White House?” and decided to leave the grownups in charge.

+ + + + +

PS …

To the dude who said I should apologize for endorsing Chris Wagner:  Dude, that’s just how things work.  Media outlets endorse candidates.  I’m not going to be the first editor in history to endorse a candidate and then apologize about it.

I evaluated the candidates and chose who I thought would be best for the job, putting the NAD and the deaf community first.  This kind of choice is the most basic principle of democracy.  Anyone who thinks I should apologize for exercising my freedom of speech needs to get on a one-way train to North Korea because they will fit in so much better there.

+ + + + +


Filed under Uncategorized

25 Reasons to Leave “Dirty Signing Kristin” the Fuck Alone

1 — It’s not like she’s practicing medicine without a license.  There are no laws on who can and can’t teach sign language.

2 — Guidelines for sign language teaching DO exist, but they are suggestions coming from the deaf community, not laws passed by Congress.

3 — You think she is unqualified? That’s your opinion. Feel free to express it, but when you talk of censoring and banning other people, you have gone too far.

4 — She doesn’t claim to be an expert. She admits that she is still learning sign language and passing on what she learns.

5 — Hearing people always want to know the dirty signs first.  This is nothing new and no cause for panic.

6 — Anyone who shows an interest in sign language, whether dirty or not, is a potential ally.  They and their teacher should not be made to feel bad if their interest in sign language originates with the dirty signs.

7 — Some of our dirty signs ARE funny, and you can’t tell people what is and isn’t funny.

8 — If you think people are going to make fun of deaf people because some of our dirty signs are funny, then you are a very insecure person.

9 — Take ownership of your language and be proud of it, don’t feel it has to be hidden away because someone might laugh.

10 — If you think dirty words in general are bad, don’t blame Kristin, blame society. She is not making up these phrases herself.

11 — Nobody owns a language.  You cannot prevent other people from using it.

12 — Kristin adds to the discourse because a study of language includes all parts, even the naughty ones.

13 — She is entitled to share what she learns.  In the old days she would share it with her classmates.  Now we have YouTube and she can share it with everyone.  Nobody is being forced to watch.

14 — Deaf signers have every right to start their own websites and attempt to do what Kristin is doing.

15 — Those who say deaf people would never “stoop so low” need to grow up. Coming from a deaf person, that is small-minded thinking.  Coming from a hearing person, it is paternalism, thinking deaf people are children who need to be “protected.”

16 — A deaf person doing this job will need to add captioning and perhaps a voice-over.  Kristin talks to her students in their own language, which makes them more comfortable and open to learning.

17 — It is not her fault if she is popular.  She has a certain geeky nerdy charm that makes it funny when she says and signs filthy things, an incongruity similar to when Dr. Ruth talks about sex.  Tosh.0 would not put her clips on his show if they were not funny and popular.

18 — If someone puts themselves out there and finds popularity — being on TV, getting a book deal — they have no obligation to shut things down just because a very small and entitled group of people disagree.

19 — Those who find fault with her signing need to realize she is an entertainer more than an educator and it is sometimes funny when she signs things differently, such as “Eat shit next die.”

20 — Just as Eskimos have many words for snow, there is more than one way to sign something.  Anyone who says there is only one right way to sign something and everything else is wrong is a language Nazi.  Can we just come right out and say it?

21 — Languages constantly evolve and nobody has any business trying to freeze a language in its current state.  Languages change through the behavior of large segments of society and it is arrogant to think that a few people can stop a language from changing.

22 — If you think you can go around censoring and banning other people, what’s to stop other people from doing the same to you?  “Excuse me, those deaf kids over there are distracting me. Can you get rid of them?”  “Sure, no problem!”

23 — People who ask me if I would personally attempt to teach dirty phrases in Japanese need to go back to debate school.  You are right that I am not Japanese but I also have not studied the language.  Kristin has studied sign language.  And again, there are no rules for how good a person has to be at doing something before they can put a video on YouTube.

24 — That freedom of speech thing?  You know, where we Americans are allowed to go out and do our own thing as long as we don’t break any laws, live and let live?  I think it is still in effect.

25 — Nobody died and made you boss.


Filed under Uncategorized

Some people are Deaf, others are (small-d) deaf

I wrote this for Silent News (July 1992) and am reprinting it here after seeing someone’s recent edict that the word deaf “is to be capitalized.”

+ + + + +

I got a catalog in the mail this week for a collection of products targeted to the deaf community.  A note on the inside front cover caught my eye.  It said:

Note:  In recognition and respect of the culture of Deaf people, the word Deaf is capitalized throughout this catalog.

Uh oh.  Does that mean that Silent News does not recognize and respect the culture of deaf people, because we do not capitalize the word deaf?

Of course not.  But it does give me an opportunity to explain our thinking on the subject.

The capitalization of the word deaf is a fairly recent phenomenon.  For those who are not familiar with this topic, I’ll offer a simplified explanation:  When deaf is not capitalized it generally refers to deafness as a medical condition or a physical disability.  When it is capitalized, it denotes deafness as a cultural trait, much the same as Hispanic or Russian is capitalized.

Therefore, a person who grew up deaf, attended deaf schools, communicates in ASL and associates primarily with other deaf people is (capital-D) Deaf.

A deaf person who was mainstreamed in public schools, does not use sign language and knows few, if any, other deaf people is (small-d) deaf.

Some publications in the deaf community make a point to capitalize Deaf each and every time it appears in print.  Like the publishers of the catalog, they feel they are showing recognition and respect to the Deaf community.

So why doesn’t Silent News capitalize deaf?

Because it’s just too tricky.  To capitalize deaf at every usage would be inaccurate.  For example, consider this statement:  “Captioned TV is beneficial to Deaf people.”  Is it accurate?  Is captioned TV something that only benefits culturally Deaf people?  No, not at all.  It is something that benefits all deaf people regardless of their cultural leanings.

Suppose someone sent us a newspaper clipping about a deaf man who entered a burning building and saved someone’s life.  The newspaper would not have capitalized deaf – mainstream publications never do.  Should we change it to Deaf?  Before we could do that, we’d have to track down this person and find out if he considers himself culturally Deaf.

You can see the problem.  For us to presume that everyone who cannot hear is culturally Deaf would be irresponsible.  To try and accurately portray everyone as either deaf or Deaf would be impossible.

Therefore we have taken what we believe to be the sensible approach and simply use the (small-d) deaf throughout the publication, with the exception of letters to the editor and opinion pieces.

No one recognizes and respects the culture of Deaf people more than Silent News, but we also recognize and respect the fact that not all deaf people are Deaf.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

No Interpreter, But I Went Anyway

By Tom Willard

This is a parable, a fable, a make-believer, whatever you want to call it.

+ + + + +

The event sounded interesting so I sent in my registration form and fees.  In the “notes” section I said I was deaf and would need a qualified sign-language interpreter.

As is the custom, they turned me down flat.  (They said I could bring my own and they’d only charge that person half price.)  But this time I decided to do something different.  This time I decided to go anyway.

I arrived in the big room as people were getting settled.  Hundreds of people were on hand.  It didn’t matter where I sat, so I sat up front.

I sat there awkwardly, looking around as others chatted.  I mused about the cost of the floral decorations vs. the expense of an interpreter.  A woman came up to me and said something.  Before I could reply, she said something else, roared in laughter and hurried away.

Things came to order and the first speaker got up.

Oh good, he had a Powerpoint, something to look at.  He then left a slide with the workshop name up for 10 minutes.  With nothing else to do, I analyzed the font and graphics and colors and design and what he was wearing and how he parted his hair.  I didn’t understand a word he was saying so all I could do was entertain myself with my own thoughts.

I felt kind of bad for him since I couldn’t laugh at his jokes.  Surely he noticed in the crowd that one person seemed oddly out of it.  I didn’t applaud either.  Why should I?  I’m not going to be a fake hearing person and pretend to understand when I don’t.

My phone buzzed.  It was a friend asking me what’s up.  I said I was in a workshop and all.  It was nice to have a little interaction with someone.  I clicked send, looked up and saw that everyone was looking at me.  I turned to the speaker and he said something.

When I didn’t reply, he got a little angry.  I could tell by his gestures that he wanted me to come up there.

So I went up there.  And he said something.  I waited a bit and then I said something back.

I didn’t say, “I’m sorry, I’m deaf, I can’t understand you.”  Why should I apologize?

I said, “I’m deaf.  When I signed up for this event, I asked for an interpreter.  This is my right under the ADA.  They refused.  I came anyway to show you what happens when you don’t comply with the ADA.  THIS is what happens when you don’t comply with the ADA.  I can’t understand a word you are saying.

“Now if you don’t mind, I’m going back to my seat, where I will continue to not understand you while thinking bad things about you and your organization.”

I sat back down.  The speaker seemed flustered.  He looked around and said something.  I could tell he was asking if anyone knew sign language.

Finally a hand went up.  A person came up.

The person signed:  “How you?  Fine.  Thank you.  You welcome.  Shit.  Fuck.  Penis.  Vagina.”

Then said, “That’s all I know.”  And sat back down.

I let out an Al Gore-like sigh and pulled out a crossword puzzle and started working on it.

But everyone kept looking at me.  I don’t know why the speaker didn’t get on with his program.  I guess I was a disturbance, a disruption, a bother, a nuisance, an unwanted presence.

I should have just stayed home.  But wasn’t the whole point of the ADA to let people with disabilities do things?

A couple of burly guys in suits gestured for me to get up.  I did, and they grabbed me by my shoulders and hustled me out of there like a president getting shot at.

I was arrested, handcuffed, fingerprinted, jailed and put on display in the town square (actually the mall since that’s where people are nowadays).



(and again, fiction, fairy tale, fable etc.)


Filed under Uncategorized