Disability Note for a Time Capsule

Disability. The word. The TV show. The human. Evers to Tinker to Chance. A perfect triangle. Disablement: to have no economic utility; TV: to be inspiring like Tiny Tim; the human, always forced to shout or write theoretical treatises—agency plus disability minus disability equals the post-human times one or two crippled legs. The poet says: “I’ll take a few more crippled legs, please, and maybe a plate of sliced peaches and a summer storm.” Poets say things like this. Especially the crippled ones. Shriveled leg equals peaches. If you need a translation: it, the leg, is just another thing like candy or coconuts. “Get over your valuation taxonomies” the poet says, though she doesn’t like the word taxonomies but recognizes its necessary like dental floss. Did you know that even cripples use dental floss? They do. But seldom on TV. We keep hearing disabled people are coming to TV. But then, like the old shell game, not really. Or worse, they appear on American Horror Story—and I’m not strong enough today to talk about AHS except to say that no amount of decadence and irony can whitewash ableist tropes, even through a convex mirror of imagined history. Even Kathy Bates wearing a beard can’t fix it. Digging up Todd Browning is disgraceful. Yes. I have insufficient post-modern flexibility. You betcha. The poet says “time will say nothing but I told you so” and time has no heart.

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