The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #57244   Message #900462
Posted By: CapriUni
28-Feb-03 - 12:26 PM
Thread Name: songs about disabilities
Subject: RE: songs about disabilities
From Sharyn: As a disabled person I need to say that I find songs written about people with disabilities (usually by people without them) to be condescending and offensive. These people don't have the experience (which varies widely even in the same diagnosed disability).

(I know I'm responding relatively late to this, but my ideas neaded to swim around in my brain for a while before they came to the surface)

If the project the teachers were working on was about disabities, I'd agree with you.... but, AIUI, it's a project about songs with a social agenda.

However, your comments bring up an interesting point: Song is such a powerful medium for getting a message across -- and spread to a wider audience (people are more likely to sing a new song they learned at a rally than to pass on a pamphlet, or make a trip to an art gallery).

So why isn't song used more often as a medium of expressison in the Disability Culture movement? I don't have an answer to this... I'm just curious...

And if writing our own songs is something we should be doing, then I myself have backed away from that goal. The song I posted here: A New Song From CapriUni, started out as an idea for a song about my experience as a disabled person (inspired by a line I spoke in a dream, in response to someone calling me 'Peter Pan': "That's right! I can't walk, but I can fly!"). But almost as soon as I started putting my idea into words, it morphed into something else. Yes, Peter Pan's flight is an expression of individuality and strength of spirit, but Peter is also a perpetual child -- which is a perception of the disabled that I don't want to encourage or suggest to an audience...

And that prompted the questions: Why is expression of individuality, strength of spirit, and personal empowerment (what magic is, metaphorically) so often limited to the realm of childhood? Why is it so blissfully taken for granted that Jackie Paper must leave Puff behind, or that Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy are each no longer welcome in Narnia when they reach a certain age? Could there be a fear that imaginary empowerment might become real empowerment when the children reach adulthood?

So that's what the song ended up being about, instead of my personal experience with CP. Maybe I will write a song about the latter -- someday. But not yet.

Although, in my own mind, there is a connection to a silent unspoken question: is one reason why so many comedians make jokes about handicapped parking spaces -- and other visible consequences of ADA -- because they make the empowerment of the disabled visible, and that empowerment is equally frightening?