Monday, December 15, 2008

Further comments on SNL blind-deriding "humor" ... advocates respond

By the way, it should be pointed out:
Gov. David Paterson (New York) should be held up as a role model. He reached his place in politics, including graduating from college and law school, in spite of being legally blind.

The criticism is increasing. (I should note my disappointment: even Huffington Post jumped on the "most-people-with-a-sense-of-humor-thought-it-was-funny" bandwagon. My response: Yeah, plenty of white people thought that "Amos and Andy" was funny too, so this polling on bigotry in place of thinking about others' feelings "doesn't fly". Just because people think it is funny doesn't wash away the insensitivity of it all.) The following Associated Press report calls attention to the offense that advocates for the blind took with Fred Armisen's lampooning of the competant and accomplished Gov. Paterson:
Advocates of blind fault TV skit about NY Governor

— The National Federation of the Blind says it considers NBC's "Saturday Night Live" skit making fun of New York Gov. David Paterson an attack on all blind Americans.

Federation spokesman Chris Danielsen says the portrayal on Saturday's television show suggesting Paterson as befuddled and disoriented because of his blindness is "absolutely wrong."

The skit features SNL actor Fred Armisen as Paterson, who must appoint someone to replace Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Armisen says he has three criteria: economic experience, upstate influence and someone with a disability and unprepared for the job — like himself. He holds up a chart illustrating the state's job losses upside down.

Paterson says he can take a joke, but adds that most blind people can't find work and the skit's "third-grade" humor won't help matters.

The press has moved beyond Huffington Post's giddy endorsement of SNL's offensive antics. The following is from "The New York Observer:"
There was also the blindness thing, which seemed preordained to cause issues. Mr. Armisen played Governor Paterson as a Mr. Magoo-like dullard. That portrayal seems to be the governor's real problem with the skit, or, at least more of a problem than all the cocaine jokes. Speaking to the Daily News he said, "I can take a joke. But only 37% of disabled people are working and I'm afraid that that kind of third-grade humor certainly adds to this atmosphere. Let's just say I don't think it helped." Ouch.

For us though, Mr. Armisen's worst offense occurred during Amy Poehler's heartfelt goodbye from Saturday Night Live. At the end of Weekend Update Ms. Poehler announced to everyone who hasn't read a news story in the last three months that she was leaving the show. As Ms. Poehler thanked everyone and seemed genuinely touched, Mr. Armisen's Governor Paterson stumbled in front of the camera and blocked her out. (Get it? Because he's blind he doesn't know where he's going! Sigh.) We're not naïve enough to think this wasn't planned, but we think Ms. Poehler deserved better than to have her final appearance on Saturday Night Live ruined by a lesser performer doing a hack bit.

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