Monday, June 4, 2012

The Price of Cynicism, The Value of Sex

I don't want to be a cynic, but I am. I wake up each morning with a cynical approach to life, and then I spend most of the day talking myself past realism into optimism. Why not? As the saying goes, "The glass is neither half-empty or half-full; it's just the wrong size."

Much discussion lately has been bandied about by disability activists about the new television series from the Sundance Channel called "Push Girls." Sure, it's another reality show, but this one has the benefit of following the lives of attractive young women who happen, in my elegant phrase, to be butt surfing through life. They are attractive—did I say that?—in a modern slender, well-made-up sort of way, and all but one of them are paraplegics, which confers a greater measure of independence.

The series generally has been well received among people with disabilities. In fact, the only review I have seen that recognizes the artificiality, the contrivance of the reality, comes from Neil Genzlinger in The New York Times. 

Among his pertinent review he offers, The premiere episode tends to lapse into a “You go, girl” mode typical of shallow treatments of disability, with fist-pumping and treacly background music. It’s a tone that subtly demeans, suggesting that simple things like having head shots ... must be applauded because, golly, for anyone in a wheelchair to do something other than sit there is a triumph.

He goes on to say, Another challenge for “Push Girls” is dispelling the impression that these women are representative. Certain viewers might well look at them and conclude, “Gorgeous, smart, independent; I guess the disabled-Americans problem has been solved, so I can go back to not thinking about it." The reality, of course, is that vast numbers of people in wheelchairs aren’t young and independent, are in poor physical health, don’t have money and can’t even get interviewed for jobs.

Here's the first episode. If you have a half-hour, you can make up your own mind.

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