I hadn't really planned to have any theme, and sort of pulled this one out of thin air at the last moment. It was the logical choice, I think. I remember, oh, back in those days of childhood, when I didn't notice the bad animation in cartoons, how I came to love my first comic book super hero, The Mighty Thor. It wasn't for his flowing locks or his bulging biceps. No, it was because he preferred his secret identity as lame Dr. Donald Blake to being the son of Odin.
I still enjoy the fictional heroes who not only make peace with their weaknesses, but actually enjoy them. I also like the ones who aren't going to let a little thing like repeated brain injury and medical quackery stop them in their quest to destroy the bad guys. Oh, Condor Joe, you are my hero!
Not everyone is as on board the hero train as I am, though, to me, an action hero is a regular person with the boring parts removed. And usually a silly costume.
"I just want to share a moment of absolute freedom," writes Kateryna Fury. "I haven't figured out how to dance in my wheelchair, since it is broken and resists working at all, but found another way." What a lovely post to be found at Textual Fury, describing the feeling of Dancing with Limited Mobility. Yes, Kateryna is a regular Action Girl, one of my favorite heroes.
What is it about the sea that makes amputation the de rigeur disability of the ocean-going hero? Whether real life hero Admiral Lord Nelson
or The Man Who Can Talk to Fish, Aquaman,
a missing hand immediately telegraphs derring-do. Or piracy. And you might think that indicates evil, but it actually represents one of the positive aspects about the pirates who have fed popular imagination. When someone was injured, they were given a disability stipend and kept on crew if at all possible. Skilled seamen were treasured, and willingness to sacrifice life and limb depended on the sort of group cohesion that comes with knowing that you aren't considered expendable.
I think Aquaman and Nelson would both find the arm and leg prosthetics in the making posted at A Repository for Bottled Monsters quite interesting (this Flickrstream link takes you to see the pictures). Neither the real person nor the fictional one was big on hiding the missing limb. Nelson went with an empty sleeve, while Aquaman sports a harpoon. What would they think of the mid-20th century attempt to blend function with disguise?
Even better, Mindy at Fake Arm 101 has some ideas about identity as an amputee. In I am not Arm Girl, she explores both other people's reaction to her visible difference, and her own reactions to the gaze and questions of strangers.
The heroic team is a staple of action hero stories. The members of the team are not uniform, and as individuals often have some glaring weakness. But together, they draw strength from each other.
What else does that? Oh, yeah. Families. With team leaders, Mom and Dad.
Erin presents 7 Things Parents Should Know Prior to Going to an IEP Meeting posted at School Psychologist Blog Files.
I think just about any parent who has a child with a disability can relate to Rickismom's Parenting a Child with Down syndrome or Other Special Needs – a Declaration of Rights posted at Beneath the Wings.
Of course, not all communities, or even families, are supportive, much less heroic. Samedifference1 asks What Happens When Online Support Groups Are NOT Supportive? at Same Difference.
And crafty River Wolfe wonders about the tendency to dehumanize "The Blind Guy" on American Idol, at polymer-clay-art.com.
In Get Over it: But What are We Getting Over?, William Peace is chagrined that Obama's foot-in-mouth hasn't led to more in-depth national discussion of disability stereotypes
Laura at Touched By an Alien: Life as I Know It explains why she found Obama's comment inoffensive in No Offense Taken. Perhaps one reason that remarks like Obama's continue to be made despite the efforts of a couple or three generations of activists is the uneven pace of change in education. Laura also talks about that in An Incomplete Solution.
Wheelchair Dancer, in How We Talk About Each Other, discusses disability language use within the disability community. Changing the way we talk about ourselves is important to changing how others talk about us, isn't it?
One trend I like in action heroes is that there are more of them who are, let's say, socially awkward. That's last year's Kamen Rider, Kiva, who was extremely shy and reclusive. But he gets more outgoing. Then relapses. Then outgoing. Then relapses. Then got outgoing. Then relapses. Then extremely assertive. It was almost realistic. Well, for a show where people regularly henshin.
What the Heck is Prosopagnosia posted at BayDisability, will tell you more about living with face blindness.
Aspitude, writes about Blasting Stereotypes in Autistic Females posted at Autism-Change.org.
One recurring motif for super-powered action heroes is invisibility. However, being invisible isn't all it's cracked up to be, as these bloggers can attest.
What would an action hero do with all the spare time if it weren't for the dastardly villains that show up? I admit, sometimes I like the villain more than the hero.
The Goldfish tells us How to Be a Disabled Villain.
If you want to be a real villain, and get away with it, see how Roberts Bartholow did it in The Rafferty Experiment posted at Providentia. As Penny Richards comments, "Not only did this horrible thing happen, but the perpetrator published the details and was never punished for his act. Let's remember Mary Rafferty and the many others like her." Well, I guess he didn't completely get away with it. There was some tut-tutting.
To sleep, perchance to dream--even necessary for white knights and carnival hosts. Thus I leave you with two more entries.
Fatigue and the dream of finally being rested is Cheryl's theme in I'm Tired posted at Finding My Way: Journey of an Uppity Intellectual Activist Crip.
And in Tiredsville Donimo lets us all know that we can heroically meet any challenge if we just imbibe the right soft drink. Well, any challenge except for kryponite-laced carpet. That's even more diabolical than the Spam regularly featured at Chronic Holiday.
Thanks to everyone who participated, willingly or not, and to all who go visit these heroic blogger's posts. Leave them a comment!
Of course, there are submissionsI forgot, and typos I have made. I'll try to repair any mistakes; just let me know. And if you forgot that there was something you wanted to submit, please post in the comments. Thanks, everyone.