May 17, 2006

Of Ableists and Albinismism

I had never heard of "ableism" before reading this article about how we, or at least the professors of literature among us, ought perhaps to "consign certain books to the back shelves of our consciousness" for political or sensitivity reasons.

At first I read it wrong. Ab-le-ism. As in, from or away from leism. What the heck is leism? Prejudice against the masculine form of the French definite article? But it all became clear when I learned that the author is a professor of English, Disability and Human Development, and Medical Education. Able-ism. Man, forget Conrad: there goes like half of Shakespeare.

He cites another teacher who "stopped teaching Hemingway, Ovid, and Boccaccio because their works disgusted her with their overt misogyny."

Come on, Ovid. Get with the times!

I also read that albinos are mad at the Da Vinci Code. Since "albinism" is the name of the condition itself, I guess the word for literary crimes against albinos would be "albinismism."

A spokesman for the albinism group 'asked Imagine Entertainment not to bleach Silas's hair or make his eyes red, but "that fell on deaf ears." Spoken like a true ableist.

Posted by Dr. Frank at May 17, 2006 10:58 PM | TrackBack