Thursday, February 18, 2016

It's A Choice! Oh Shit!

Image description: Deadpool without his mask.
We loved Deadpool. We thought it was a wildly funny movie and thought that Ryan Reynolds' performance made the movie. I found, in a movie that was all violence, wise cracks and wink wink humour, that there was a moment of profound truth. I didn't expect, going in, to ever identify with any character that Mr. Reynolds ever played. I mean, I'm fat, I'm old, I'm bald and I'm disabled, Mr. Reynolds isn't any of those things. Sometimes I think these guys and I aren't even the same species. But, I was wrong.

I don't believe this to be a spoiler but, be cautious going forward if you haven't seen the film, there was a moment of incredible and powerful truth in a movie that never presents itself as anything more than a fun night out. I thought that sneaking it in was almost a 'nod' to those of us who actually live with and understand the complex aspects of being different. I would like to think it purposeful, but I fear it may not have been. It is an easy scene to be described. Deadpool, before he was Deadpool was a wildly handsome man, who looked a lot like Ryan Reynolds on his very best day. Along with his transformation into a superhero came a transformation into a man with physical and facial differences. He still turned heads, but for a different reason.

In the scene, he simply walks down the street, face uncovered, unmasked. He notices the looks, the stares, the dropped jaws and the features of disgust on faces turned away. He notices them, he feels them and they hurt. In the theatre I was in I could hear, literally hear, people respond to this scene. It was a fairly full theatre so saying I could hear the gasps and murmurs of disapproval of the behaviours of those on the screen. The audience saw their reaction and they identified with his feelings and understood that what those people on the street did to Deadpool was simply wrong.

Wrong.

I leaned over to Joe at this moment in the movie and said, "Boy, don't I understand what's happening here." Joe, who tires of the stares and judgements of the passers by and the stand and gawkers in the same way I do, nodded in hearty agreement.

But then ... immediately after, it was back to the fun and I was swept away on the ride. I loved it, so did Joe. I was pleased for that moment, and I was pleased they didn't preach about it, showing it was enough, acknowledging it was really reaffirming an a way.

But.

When we left the theatre, that very same audience who had reacted with understanding and concern for a FICTIONAL CHARACTER WHO DIDN'T REALLY EXIST AND WHO DOESN'T REALLY HAVE HUMAN FEELINGS, immediately did the same with me. They turned, they stared, they had judgement on their faces and bathroom scales for eyes.

Im-fucking-mediately.

Before I left the theatre. As I sat politely and waited for a break in the line up of people coming down the stairs, I endured stares. One woman almost stumbled because she was staring/glaring at me as she made a step.

What the freaking fuck?

Empathy, understanding and care for a fictional person who endures social violence and then perpetrating the same thing on a living breathing feeling person.

Wild.

Just.

Wild.

And scary.

It tells me that people have the ability to be compassionate and kind and that there are those who are purposefully not using it.

We have a long way to go.

But, now, we've got Deadpool on the team.

4 comments:

Ron Arnold said...

It's easy for people to pass judgment on others, but much harder for them to do so on themselves . . . it seems even in Canada - the politeness nation on the planet.

Sean Adelman said...

Love your comments
It is frustrating and sad.
Our daughter would attend facilitated 'friendship' groups and at the time of the group the kids would be inclusive, but put the same kids in a high school lunch room and 90% of the time there was no carry-over :-(...but as an optimist there was the other 10% of the time. Along those lines, the kids that played Unified Sports have been far more inclusive outside of the playing field...
Stevie Wonder, Dead Pool... we may be on the winning team yet :-)

Andrea S. said...

I am guessing some of the issue may be that people who are comfortable and accepting of people who are different in one aspect (for example, having a face shaped very differently from most other faces) have more difficulty being comfortable and accepting of other kinds of difference (such as weight or certain types of disabilities). And in cases where a person has different attitudes depending on the type of difference, they may have some rationalization for why difference X, Y, or Z are acceptable but difference A, B, or C are not. For example, a person may decide to embrace differences that (in their perspective) "cannot be helped" and are outside a person's control, but may decide to reject people with differences that they perceive, assume, or believe to be within the person's control. The rationalizations that they use to justify why one type of difference is okay and another is not prevent them from recognizing that their behavior and response to these differences is actually not okay.

Hope this makes sense.

Frank_V said...

Aw, man, it's TGIF day, and you made me cry. In a good and thought provoking way, but man, yep, I totally understand. I'm a dwarf you see, and my wife, not a dwarf, sees people gawking at me, and it makes her really ANGRY. Me, I'm sort of used to it, I notice it, and shrug my shoulders. My wife likes to say, "In all my years studying for my doctorate in psychology, there is a technical phrase I learned that describes these folks who stare: People suck!"

You, me, and the rest of the disabled community: We are far more affected by what society thinks of us, than by the limitations of our actual "disability". Great post: I've book marked your blog, and will visit more often!