Thursday, June 2, 2016

UPDATED - Blogging Around: Dear Hollywood, Why Do You Want Me Dead?

I hadn't heard of Me Before You, either the book or the movie, but am appalled at the premise. (Sometimes living under a rock is a good thing.) 

An 11-year-old wheelchair athlete responds to the upcoming movie, Me Before You, which celebrates choosing suicide as a response to being handicapped or paralyzed.
This could have been a great movie. It could have been the love story of two people and one of them just happens to use a chair. It happens all the time. The people in love don’t think about the chair. It’s the other people who think it’s a big deal.

The thing about the chair is it’s just a thing. It’s my legs. It’s how I get around. That’s it.

While you’re sitting in your offices crying about the bravery of this guy who kills himself and leaves everyone else to mourn him, which seems pretty selfish to me, I’m going to be out living the amazing life you didn’t even bother to know was possible. I have friends, and go on sleep-overs, and live a regular life. A life that doesn’t make me want to die. It makes me happy that it’s mine.
Amen! Read the whole article at Alateia.

ALSO: as the other side of how to tell this story, allow me to recommend two movies, both French as it turns out — Intouchables and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Unlike Me Before You, both those films are based on real stories.

Sherry at Semicolon wrote a review of the book a few years ago which she has reposted for anyone interested. Short version: she calls the book "poisonous."

Rebecca Frech says Me Before You highlights society's bias against disabled people. As the mother of a wheelchair user, she had supplemental questions to add to the book club discussion questions in the back of the book. See her whole piece at National Catholic Register. Here's are a few of the questions, which I found good as a refresher for regular life.
  • Will’s life is portrayed as being valuable only in relation to other people and in what he means to them. Does his life have intrinsic value independent of anyone’s opinion, even his own?
  • This book/movie has been applauded by the able-bodied community, but almost universally condemned by those in the disability community. Is that an indication that perhaps there’s a problem with the way his life has been portrayed?
  • The only suicides that are shown as acceptable by Hollywood standards, and applauded by audiences, are those of disabled individuals. Can the suicides of healthy, able-bodied people be justified in a similar way?

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