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September 18, 2017 | by  | in Token Cripple | [ssba]

Token Cripple

I have written before about the representation of disability on screen and stage. Often the question that arises for me is: who are these stories for? Often the stories we tell about disability are aimed at people who do not live with disability. British actor and comedian Francesca Martinez speaks about this brilliantly. She was once offered a role where the character was incapable of any speech or movement and jokes that she suggested that they cast a shoe or a carrot instead. She felt she could not possibly be up to playing such a complex and demanding portrayal of disability. Not only are these stories so often aimed at non-disabled people, they are also created by non-disabled people, who see disability as a shorthand for illustrating our common humanity.

This means we are not in control of the stories told about us. We often reap none of the benefits either.

Not the case in a new Australian TV-movie (due for Australian release in October) Jeremy the Dud. The comedy takes place in an inverse world where disability is the norm. Jeremy, a man “without specialty,” is subject to discrimination and misunderstandings that disabled people will easily recognise. I’ve seen the world imagined like this before. It is a simple premise. What really excites me is that it makes a strong statement about disabled creatives, and makes room for them to do creative work.

However, disability is not the only feature of our lives. Therefore, stories that center disability are not the only stories we should feature in. So, while I’m looking forward to this, I’ll also be looking forward to those stories where disability is incidental, because we have other things to say.  


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