Disability and the Hanging Vines


Remember those old Tarzan movies? Tarzan would swing through the trees and when his vine reached its arc, lo and behold another vine would appear. That’s a thing you won’t see in nature. In order to pull off the effect Hollywood had a “Vine Man” off camera, a man of precision, like the page turners who sit beside pianists. You see, Tarzan had a reasonable accommodation. If you’re job is to yell and swing, half naked through branches, you’ve got to have a paid assistant.  

My point, such as it is, is that the American workforce can stand to learn a great deal about the history of accommodations–not merely as they relate to people with disabilities, but as a sign of progressive and utilitarian teamwork. The prevailing notion that a person with a disability is a singular defective “unit” who requires something extra runs counter to the history of human work. Just ask old Tarzan. 




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