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Posted on Monday, February 23rd, 2004

Dave!I am not deaf, so I can only imagine how much it sucks not to be able to hear the world around you. I can only guess at the daily difficulties involved in striving to live a life no different than that of hearing people when so much of our world is dependent on sound for communication. And now I can only sympathize that a deaf American's life is going to suck a little more because the U.S. Department of Education consists of f#@%ing fascist morons that feel deaf persons are no longer capable of deciding for themselves what is "educational" entertainment on television.

A press release by the National Association of the Deaf says that almost 200 television programs have been declared "inappropriate," and will no longer be eligible for Closed Captioning (a.k.a. "subtitles") funding. At first I was nonplussed at this news, because there is so much crap on television that 200 of the worst shows would hardly be missed. And then I read the list and saw it had all kinds of inoffensive programs that should totally be captioned. What the f#@%?!? These are not shows featuring hard-core pornography or gruesome and gratuitous violence... these are staples of the American television experience! If I were deaf, and all of a sudden found out that I could not watch my favorite programs, I'd be pretty pissed. Here is just a small sampling of shows I enjoy that I could no longer watch (shows with an asterisk* are cartoons for heaven's sake!):

  • Auto Racing
  • NBC Sports
  • Bewitched
  • Classic Cartoons*
  • Dexter's Laboratory*
  • Fairly Odd Parents*
  • JAG
  • Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius*
  • Justice League*
  • Law & Order (all 3 of them!)
  • Malcolm in the Middle
  • Samurai Jack*
  • Spider-Man & Friends*
  • Teen Titans*
  • The Simpsons*

Do you notice how many cartoons are on that list? And I only listed a small handful of those I like! How much does it suck to be a deaf kid and not be able to watch all the shows your friends are watching? Apparently, this all has to do with their "educational value" which is ludicrous. I learn more in an episode of Law & Order than I learned most days in college. And I have yet to see an episode of The Simpsons that didn't have some interesting facts and a moral lesson of some kind. This is not a judgment call about education, it's censorship. What if you wanted to be a professional baseball player or race car driver when you grow up? Wouldn't sports and racing on television be educational then? What if you are a professional animator... watching cartoons is educational research! All the world is experiences to be learned from... even TV shows.

I am absolutely outraged that a country founded on freedom is run by government agencies that would deny freedom of choice from deaf Americans. Who is the government to say what programs are of educational value when our schools suck so bad? I notice that The Prince of Egypt is deemed educational... but to whom? Well, since it's a Bible story, I'd imagine that it's only educational to deaf Christians, so now we are having the government dictate which religions are educational?

Spread the word. Write your congressman. Let the government know that "We The People" will not tolerate censorship for any of its citizens. If you don't act now, how long will it be before cartoons, sports and other cool shows are denied to all of us because they lack "educational value?"

Categories: Television 2004Click To It: Permalink


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