If one watches movies or television shows, one is more likely to notice what is there than isn’t. In recent years, the Oscars got the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite and deservedly so. Yet, when it comes to disability. In a world where such things are very common, it seems that every fictional world where these storylines are set in has an unmentioned T4 euthanasia program that apparently got rid of all of the disabled people. I grew up like a basic white kid watching Disney and Nick and later watched similar stuff and amazingly in all of the high school dramas from Glee to Gossip Girl to Victorious to The Vampire Diaries to Arthur to High School Musical to Harry Potter and countless more, there were no SPED classes. Whatever T4 euthanasia program occurred in their fictional universes was apparently so taboo it was never mentioned in any of the series. Adult programming isn’t much better. Nothing on The Marvelous Miss Mazel or Modern Family or in the Thor franchise or anywhere else.
Not only are we invisible, our struggles are invisible. Bullying disabled kids happens differently than people who haven’t had it happen to them imagine it. It‘s not usually jocks picking on nerds for being nerdy. The bullies aren’t terribly sophisticated but they’re more sophisticated than that. Anti-bullying policies are based on stereotypes rather than the sad and dark truth of how bullying usually happens. You would never see on a normal TV show a kid with a neurological or intellectual condition being asked to preform as a circus monkey for the sadistic pleasure of their peers. That was the most common way I was bullied, having my social blindness exploited to get me to sing, dance, or otherwise preform for the neurotypicals. The authorities could stop it but if they did then the victim would miss the social interaction and, often, perceived positive feedback and they’d be alone. And then there is vigilante bullying and, in that, they have a pretext and if you report them, they’ll report you back.
The people who design anti-bullying policies don’t see or understand the nuanced problems and issues that are actually occurring on the ground and neither do most people. The crimes that occurred in the metaphorical and occasionally literal alleys and backwoods of the Charleston suburbs during my early and mid adolescence are veiled in a darkness that the media maintains by not telling those stories. The reason Rodney King’s video was so important was not because the brutality was exceptional, it was very common, but because it was recorded. It has been regularly said that for every recorded incident of brutality like that there are numerous uncounted ones. Middle-class whites would walk through South-Central Los Angeles down the very sidewalks where unspeakable cruelties occurred and be completely oblivious to it. That’s because it wasn’t the poor parts of Los Angeles that made the movies.
What happens to the weakest members of society on a regular basis would shock and horrify the gentle bourgeois socialites who were popular and never saw how deep and harrowing the dark abyss is beneath their caste. Even if they saw it, they would always think it was the exception and not the rule. The few recordings I have of what happened to me, I consider precious and hold very dear. People have asked me why I keep such disgusting correspondence. My answer is that I want to show people that it happened and how bad it was and there aren’t many recordings of it. I can tell them but I want them to see how bad it was and I also need the proof because the bullies themselves will likely deny or diminish their role in the events and for eternal justice I must keep the proof.
What does it say that the media boycotts our existences and the heartwarming and heartbreaking stories in those existences? Society is addicted to pornography and they don’t want to watch people unless they’re hot enough to masturbate to. Also, they don’t want to be reminded of their own prejudices or see the sins they’ve committed on screen. It’s one of the reasons that people prefer supervillains to more mundane wrongdoers because the average person is not a murderer but the average person has been a dick sometimes and they’d just like to pretend they haven’t been so they don’t want to be reminded by seeing a society of flawed people but wish to see one of perfect people and the occasional extreme bad guy.
They want to see the machinations of metaphorical Hollywood, not metaphorical South-Central. They don’t want to see the awkward and socially deprived carving out an existence being abused and forsaken in the gutters or fighting like hell to get out. So, they get what they want. If they don’t see the videos of the Rodney King beating and others then they blissfully pretend their society is better than it is. They can pretend that they live in a society of mostly good people where the dark stuff is rare. And so, they tell stories that make them feel better and that they can masturbate to, both metaphorically and literally. It’s wrong but who is going to punish them for it. So, society will ignore it and the beatings will continue.
One thought on “A Utopia Without Us: The T4 Fantasy in the Media”
Loved readinng this thank you