I’ve been dealing with a lot lately. When I was almost finished my new blog launch, I got a call. My father passed away at only age 72. Sure, he wasn’t a young guy, but it was still sudden. So I’ve been trying to work on things, went ahead and launched my blog anyways, finished both illustrations and text for The Ash Garden, Chapter 1. I haven’t been all that productive, for good reasons. I’ve been taking longer breaks than usual, trying to hold on to my concentration.
Netflix is always a nice distraction, where I can tune out for an hour or two. But, one snag. I’ve caught up with all TV shows that I want to watch. Supernatural, Jessica Jones, Stranger Things, The Walking Dead, Oh, and Deadpool‘s finally been added. There doesn’t seem to be much left of interest. For now. It’s bad timing for me.
I decided to watch a movie that I’ve seen on Netflix, Hush, a thriller (or maybe horror, I don’t know, I didn’t get that far) where the main character and the prey is deaf. It honestly didn’t look that good to me, so I kept ignoring it. But, here I am, in desperate need of distraction, so I thought, what the hell? It might be good for a laugh.
And… oh bloody hell. The main character was too stupid to live, which kinda pisses me off, because it reinforces the false stereotype of “deaf and dumb.” Not cool, Netflix, not cool at all.
I’m hard of hearing. For me, it’s not a big deal. I happen to know a lot of people who are hard of hearing or completely deaf. When you have an impairment like that, instincts become much stronger. You know that feeling of creepiness and hair raises on the back of your neck, and you just know if you turn around, whatever you find is going to make you scream? Yeah, that feeling. I have that feeling all the time, 24/7. After living with hearing loss (how can it be a loss when you never had it in the first place?) for thirty-seven years, I’ve long since learned to curb that feeling, and only act on it when I know something is definitely wrong. That’s where visual clues come in handy.
I stopped watching the movie after about ten minutes, and here’s why. So the character is cooking or cleaning in the kitchen, and the killer (who’s wearing a Michael Myers’ style mask) dances past a very tall and very see-through window. He’s in sight. He’s right fucking there. She turns, faces him, and keeps on cooking, completely oblivious. Why? Because she’s deaf. And why? Because deaf people are dumb with no instincts whatsoever, and deserve to be stalked and murdered by a Michael Myers poser.
Pisses me off.
Okay, now that I’ve written all of that, I can finally see it is a little bit funny. But that’s not the point.
My point is, this movie was obviously written by someone who has no clue what it means to be deaf. It’s very similar to screenplays that have Transgender characters yet straight actors are hired for the part. Or, and in my opinion, I find this far worse, when “token” actors are hired to make it look like a diverse cast. The token gay guy, the token Chinese guy, the token Black guy, the list goes on.
But that’s not what pisses me off. What pisses me off is that we have done this before. And it’s exhausting. You want to see a good movie with a deaf character? Go see Children of a Lesser God, 1986. That was exactly 30 years ago.
There’s a huge gap going on. The audience wants more diversity, because there’s been an extreme lack of diversity for 20 to 30 years now. But if writers who know nothing about the subject write about it, then comes acoss as fake, because it is fake. Writers write what they know. The question isn’t, why is there such a lack of diversity? The question is, why aren’t the writers who can write diversity getting hired?
Food for thought.