Scary Is How You Act, Not Look, Disability Advocates Tell Filmmakers

first_imgWarner Bros. has pleaded ignorance, saying it worked with the film’s artists to create a fresh interpretation of what Dahl described as “thin curvy claws, like a cat,” never intending for viewers to feel represented by the “fantastical, nonhuman creatures” onscreen. Hathaway, in her apology, said she had not associated her character’s hands with limb differences, and if she had, the depiction wouldn’t have happened at all. Advocates are conscious of the criticism that the world has become too hypervigilant, and that the blowback against “The Witches” is another example of political correctness hammering away at artistic expression. Certainly what’s deemed acceptable has changed over time. There was scant criticism of Anjelica Huston’s ghoulish Grand High Witch in the 1990 film version, or for the 1980s character of Sloth, the monster in “The Goonies” (though, spoiler alert, he ended up being a good guy).Yet even as stereotypical portrayals of other marginalized groups are increasingly recognized as problematic, the disfigured villain has proved harder to rout. In the forthcoming Bond film “No Time to Die,” Rami Malek and Christoph Waltz both play criminals who have facial disfigurements.“Obviously, we don’t want a culture where everyone’s outraged about everything,” said Ashley Eakin, a writer and director who has Ollier disease and Maffucci syndrome, which affects the growth and formation of bones. “For so long, disability has been underrepresented, so if we only see disfigurement in a villain or character with no redeeming qualities, that’s an issue.” – Advertisement – – Advertisement – For as long as there have been stages and screens, disability and disfigurement have been used as visual shorthand for evildoing — a nod to the audience that a character was a baddie to be feared. But disability rights advocates say this amounts not just to lazy storytelling but stereotyping, further marginalizing an already stigmatized community that is rarely represented onscreen. That “The Witches” is a family film, they say, made it worse.“Playgrounds are where kids are sometimes the cruelest, and kids absorb what they learn, be it through stories we tell or what they learn from their parents,” said Penny Loker, a Canadian visible difference advocate and writer. “They have carte balance to be cruel to people. I was called a monster, and I was called whatever the name of the monster was from the movie that was popular at that time.”People with disabilities have had some success in challenging the stereotype. In 2018, spurred by a campaign for accurate portrayals of disabilities, the British Film Institute announced it would no longer fund films whose villains have scarred or disfigured faces. People with limb differences, including paralympians and a “Great British Baking Show” semifinalist, posted photos of their hands and arms on social media with the hashtag #NotAWitch. While Hathaway and Warner Bros. apologized, many saw the damage as already done. Here, yet again, was a villain with a disability, one of the oldest, and, for many, most damaging, storytelling tropes still around.“This isn’t about being overly sensitive, a ‘snowflake’ or being too politically correct,” Briony May Williams, the British baking competitor, wrote on Instagram. “This is about showcasing limb differences as ugly, scary, gross and evil.” The Joker. Lord Voldemort. All manner of scarred Bond villains and superhero antagonists. Dr. Poison. Freddy Krueger. The Phantom of the Opera. Shakespeare’s hunchbacked, butcherous Richard the Third.center_img When “The Witches,” starring Anne Hathaway as the Grand High Witch, was released last month, a collective groan went up from people with disabilities.The movie, based on a Roald Dahl children’s book, depicted Hathaway with hands that were wizened and disfigured, with two fingers and a thumb on each. The studio said her hands were meant to resemble cat claws, but they looked a whole lot like split hands, or ectrodactyly.- Advertisement – One in four adults in the United States have a physical or mental impairment that sharply limits activities; a recent study found that less than 2 percent of characters with speaking parts in top movies from 2018 were disabled. While advocacy groups are working with studios to change that, critics say disabled characters still fall too often into predictable buckets, among them the villain or the victim that provides uplift for all, which some have nicknamed “inspiration porn.”“Disabled people either play villains or happy snowflake angel babies,” said Maysoon Zayid, a comedian, writer and actor who has cerebral palsy. “We’re either charitable, inspirational, never do naughty things in our life. Or we’re murdering babies because we lost an eye in a dart accident.” Disability rights advocates said the whole matter could have been avoided if more disabled people were in the entertainment industry, be it in front of the camera or behind the scenes. “If there were writers, directors or other crew members with disabilities, they, might have seen it and said ‘Huh, maybe this is an issue,’” said Lauren Appelbaum, vice president of communications for RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting the stigmatization of people with disabilities.There is more leeway, and less potential to offend, when villains are clearly fantastical creatures, unreal figments of imagination, like the Shadow Monster in “Stranger Things.”Still, the question for many remains why clearly human or human-esque villains need to have visual signifiers connoting evil at all. Many of the scariest horror film characters have been able-bodied. Like Samara, the unstoppable long-tressed dead girl in “The Ring,” or Jack Nicholson’s possessed writer in “The Shining.” Or — shudder — Javier Bardem in “No Country for Old Men,” with his creepy, pasty pallor and Dorothy Hamill bob. But even such depictions tread a fine line, threatening to lapse into the timeworn indictment of mental illness, à la Norman Bates in “Psycho.”“Monstrosity is something in all of us,” Smith said, “not something out there in a bodily form different than our own.” In Zayid’s view, there are limited circumstances under which it’s OK for a villain to be disabled or disfigured. One is when a disabled actor is playing the character, she said, so long as the disfigurement is not what makes them evil. The other is when the evil person being portrayed is a person who has a disability in real life, and even then, Zayid maintains, only a disabled actor should be cast.Using disability or disfigurement as shorthand for evil goes back centuries in Western culture, said Angela Smith, director of disability studies at the University of Utah. In both lore and real life, physical differences have been read as warnings of danger, symbols of evil, or evidence of sinning or witchcraft. The eugenics movement tapped into this, measuring deviations from assumed norms, Smith said, and the presupposition that disability is something negative in need of fixing continues to inform modern medicine.It’s also a long standing trope in fairy tales and fantasy and horror stories. Monsters are given characteristics — the way they talk, behave, look or move — that are meant to seem threatening or grotesque, Smith noted. This carries onscreen, where physical differences are often revealed dramatically as visual shorthand for evilness or immorality: think of Freddy Krueger’s brutally burned face in the “Nightmare on Elm Street” films. All of which, Smith said, subtly shapes perceptions about an already marginalized community, whether “The Witches” intended to or not.“Popular films like this send very clear messages: that disabled bodies are wrong or evil, that they don’t belong in ‘normal’ society or public view, that it is ‘natural’ to be disgusted by difference,” Smith wrote in an email. – Advertisement –last_img read more

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Ex-Nelsonite Sookro sinks Leafs in overtime

first_imgBy The Nelson Daily SportsFor the second consecutive night a player with ties to the Heritage City came back to haunt the Nelson Leafs.Nelson Minor Hockey grad Ryon Sookro scored early in overtime to power the visiting Beaver Valley Nitehawks to a 2-1 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League victory over the Leafs Saturday night at the NDCC Arena.The win was the fifth in six attempts for the Hawks, who have outscored the Leafs 24-13 this season.Friday, the one-two combo of Dane Rupert and Landon Andrusiak, who played last season in Nelson, combined for seven points to help the Kelowna Chiefs skate to an 8-6 win.Saturday it was a goaltender’s duel between Marcus Beesley in the Nelson nets and Zack Perehudoff. Beaver Valley took a 1-0 into the first period intermission when Ryan Edwards beat Beesley from the edge of the goal crease.Nelson defenceman Braeden Hikichi tied the game in the second with an assist from Colton Schell.The Leafs, holding a 9-5 shots advantage in the third period and 21-17 in the game, pushed for the victory but could not beat Perehudoff.The loss all but ended Nelson’s bid to overtake Beaver Valley in the Murdoch Division standings. The Hawks now hold an eight-point lead over the Leafs. Beaver Valley also has played one fewer game.However, Nelson still holds a glimmer of hope if the Leafs can sweep a season-ending series next weekend.Saturday, the Hawks once again invade the NDCC Arena before the teams hook up Sunday, January 31 in Fruitvale.LEAFS BANTER: Ryon Sookro leads the Hawks in goals (23) and points (46). The 19-year-old native of South Slocan decided to play for the Hawks after failing to catch on last season with the Leafs. . . .Nelson, third in the Murdoch Division with a 22-17-0-3 record, has eight games remaining on the schedule. . . .Nelson plays host to Castlegar Rebels Tuesday at the NDCC Arena. . . .The game was slugged International Night as the hockey team welcomed visiting students attending school in the Heritage [email protected]last_img read more

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City addresses trailer park closure concerns

first_imgAlthough the City understands the plight of residents of the City Centre Mobile Home Park, it has no control over the closure of the privately owned park.That’s the message from the City coming from Monday’s Fort St. John City Council meeting.- Advertisement -City Manager Dianne Hunter told councillors that the City has received numerous phone calls from worried park residents who believed the park’s closure was under the City’s jurisdiction. However, Hunter said the City has no ability to stop the closure of private land.The 1.558 hectare property is currently up for sale for $2.49 million, in which the listing states that there is support to rezone the area to an R2 classification, a high density residential area.Fort St. John City Planner Kevin Brooks had previously told Energeticcity.ca that the City was contacted by a representative of the trailer park owner late last year. Brooks said the representative asked about the property’s current classification and the potential for its rezoning.However, Hunter said that, at this point, the City has not received an application to rezone the park, which cannot even be considered until after the park has been closed.Although the City has no control over the park’s closure, there is one bylaw in place that does indirectly affect park residents. Hunter said the bylaw prevents a mobile home more than 10 years-old from being moved into or within city limits, because of safety and fire code concerns. Thus, any park residents with trailers older than 10 years would have to relocate their trailers outside Fort St. John.However, she does add that the City will work with park residents, as well as the park owner throughout the process.Advertisementlast_img read more

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SA pharma expands global presence

first_img24 July 2008Aspen Pharmacare, Africa’s largest pharmaceutical company, has acquired four pharmaceutical products from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for £170-million (approximately R2.7-billion), in a deal that substantially expands the company’s international business.The JSE-listed company has used its offshore subsidiary, Aspen Global, to acquire the intellectual property rights to the branded Eltroxin, Imuran, Lanoxin and Zyloric – which together presently generate sales of more than R1-billion annually – for all major markets worldwide with the exception of the USA and Zyloric in Japan.“This landmark transaction accelerates our strategy of global expansion, while simultaneously adding specialist and differentiated products to complement our existing vast product portfolio,” Aspen Group CEO Stephen Saad said in a statement this week.“We are confident that Aspen’s global distribution network will continue to supply these important products to patients across the world and we look forward to further expanding on the range of Aspen products marketed internationally through this network.”The transaction strengthens the company’s global ambitions, building on their recent investments in Latin America and East Africa, giving the company a foothold in major European and Japanese markets.“This is a really exciting deal for Aspen which fits perfectly with our international expansion plans and should provide manufacturing opportunities for the group in the future,” Saad said.“The transaction has been made possible by the mutually beneficial and valued relationship which the Aspen Group has enjoyed with GSK over a number of years.”Worldwide brand presenceThe four products enjoy strong brand presence across more than 100 countries.Eltroxin is indicated for the treatment of hypothyroidism; Imuran is an immunosuppressant indicated for the survival of organ transplants; Lanoxin is indicated for certain heart conditions including heart failure; and Zyloric is administered for the treatment of gout.GSK will continue to manufacture these complex products for Aspen under terms of an initial supply agreement, as the transaction also makes provision for a transitional distribution arrangement with GSK.Aspen currently markets a number of GSK prescription products into the South African market, while Aspen Australia also holds the licence to market and distribute a portfolio of GSK products into the Australian over-the-counter market.SAinfo reporter Would you like to use this article in your publicationor on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

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Bangladesh series step towards Asian conquest, says Steve Smith

first_imgAustralia have an opportunity to improve their record in Asia when they meet Bangladesh in a two-Test series starting next Sunday, captain Steve Smith has said but refused to state outright if his side were favourites to win.Australia have won just two of their 22 Tests in Asia in the last 10 years while Bangladesh drew a two-Test series 1-1 against England last year and pose a serious challenge at home with throes of spinners in their side on turning pitches.”I think it is going to be a great series,” Smith told reporters after Australia’s arrival in the Asian country. “Bangladesh are very good here. I am not picking a favourite.”We have to be confident in our skill set and hopefully we can get our processes right and have a really good series.”Earlier this year Smith’s side lost a four-Test series in India 2-1 and the skipper said the two matches against Bangladesh would be an ideal platform to show what they had learned from the defeat.”We’d certainly like to have done a lot better on the subcontinent that’s for sure,” Smith said. “Now it is an opportunity for us to change (our record).”I thought we did some things really well in India. We just needed to do it for little bit longer, and consistently.”This is another opportunity to showcase our skills, show what we learned over there and hopefully give our best foot forward.”Australia surprisingly dropped Steve O’Keefe, 32, from their squad for Bangladesh even after the left-arm spinner impressed during the series in India.advertisementO’Keefe, with 19 wickets, was Australia’s joint highest wicket-taker with Nathan Lyon in India but had to make way for left-arm spinner Ashton Agar. Australia also have uncapped 23-year-old leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson in their squad.”It is unlucky,” Smith said. “He did very well in the first Test match in India and had some contributions throughout in the other three Test matches as well.”Smith said the inclusion of Agar, 23, was aimed at developing him for the 2021 tour of India.”We just see it as a bit of a time to get us someone new into the group,” Smith said.”Ashton has been around the group for a quite a while now, he’s worked on his art and he’s becoming a lot more consistent in what he’s doing. It’d be fantastic to see him get an opportunity.”It’s four years until we next go to India which is always a tough tour for us and one that I particularly as captain want to win (at some stage) throughout my tenure.”It’s an opportunity for Ashton to get some experience in these conditions and hopefully improve, with an eye to the next time we go to India as well.”last_img read more

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22 days agoStupid Spurs meltdown: Why can’t Eriksen just switch off his phone?!

first_imgStupid Spurs meltdown: Why can’t Eriksen just switch off his phone?!by Chris Beattie22 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveCOMMENT: Stupid. Moronic. Self-destructive. Pick one out – after all, Hugo Lloris had to do that seven times on Tuesday. But take one word to describe Christian Eriksen’s actions in the aftermath of the Bayern Munich humiliation…Ahh, remember the old days? Way, waaay back? Way back to 2017, when Prem players en masse, having delivered a performance as Spurs fans endured this week, would later admit wanting to stay in doors. Ashamed to show their face around the local haunts. Fearful of seeing the disappointment written across the faces of their most loyal and supportive fans. But today? Well today, at least if you’re a Spurs player, you’re straight onto your phone and your social media account. Not to offer an apology for the rank performance their fans have just witnessed. A humiliation. Something “historic”, as Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Bayern’s chief exec, described the 7-2 drubbing in London. Oh no, Eriksen was on his phone, on social media, reacting to some obscure, fantasist’s gossip about his girlfriend and teammate Jan Vertonghen. Gossip which hadn’t reached the press. Something that not only had just existed online – but in a tiny echo chamber. Though clearly an echo chamber Eriksen was aware of.And that gets to the crux of all this. In Eriksen’s world. In the player’s bubble. This social media account making these claims, matters. But beyond the scores of people (and that’s being generous) whom pay attention to this stuff, what matters is the last performance and the last result – in no particular order. That Eriksen, backed up by Vertonghen, should feel the need to address this garbage – and in the process bring it into the mainstream – is indeed stupid, moronic and self-destructive. Especially when the club is teetering as it is.Why even pick up your phone after such a result? Why switch it on and let all the abuse wash over you? Why not, just as players did not so long ago, do the electronic version of keeping their head down and simply switch the bloody thing off? Eriksen is a good pro and a good man. Those whom have been with this column long-term will be well aware of his attempts to move to a higher level. But he never made it obvious. He’s never kicked up a fuss or downed tools. Indeed, as we’ve covered here, the first hint of ambitions elsewhere didn’t come from him, but a former agent, Bayram Tutumlu – and that was over two years ago. But no matter the frustration, Eriksen has never let it influence his football.But with this one, he’s messed up. With Spurs being pulled apart like never before. From the chairman, to the manager and the players. To give oxygen to something that would’ve melted away in time was ridiculous. And delivering another negative angle to the storyline of this Spurs season is only half of it.With Chris Waddle ranting about a needed clearout. With manager Mauricio Pochettino accusing his players of “giving up” – and captain Hugo Lloris later admitting as much. With the headlines ablaze with stories about the commitment at Spurs, the last thing the fans want to see on the backpages of the biggest dailies is the stuff Eriksen volunteered to get in the middle of. At worst, for those who believe what they read on social media, all it’s done is fuel the talk that the players are at eachother’s throats. And for the others, Eriksen’s response only affirms the doubts about their focus this season.A week ago, Pochettino admitted the dressing room was fractured, stating: “Maybe performances are good but we need this mental connection, this energy to be all together, not to have different agendas in the squad. We need time again to build that togetherness.”And in response, this column was critical of the Spurs manager and his contribution to this disunity. However, it must now be said, what chance has Pochettino to turn things around when his senior players are allowing themselves to be manipulated like this?The timing was stupid. The reaction moronic. And the result self-destructive. Next time – and for the sake of Spurs fans you hope there isn’t a next time – just switch the bloody thing off. TagsTransfersOpinionAbout the authorChris BeattieShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

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Beside The Points For Thursday Oct 5 2017

All newsletters We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆  Join the squad. Subscribe See more MLB predictions See more NFL predictions Things That Caught My EyeUnpatriotic defenseThe Patriots offense has been great, as usual, but their defense is on pace to be the worst NFL defense since 2006. Looking at expected points added (EPA) per game, the Patriots have been coughing up 12.2 points per game and allowing an average 116.5 passer rating. [FiveThirtyEight]Lynx v. Sparks, Part II: Revenge of the LynxPrior to Wednesday, both the Lynx and Sparks scored exactly 908 points in their past 12 games — going back to the start of last year’s finals. The Lynx had won five and the Sparks seven, including last year’s title. But Minnesota won the latest round of this intense rivalry with a 85-76 victory over Los Angeles to win the Game 5 championship of the WNBA finals and seal their fourth title in seven years. [ESPN]Hockey has started!Dom Luszczyszyn over at The Athletic ran a massive fan poll to determine what NHL fans thought about the forthcoming season. Based on the wisdom of the crowds, Pittsburgh’s favored by 16 percent of respondents to repeat, followed by the Nashville Predators (11 percent chance to win), Washington Capitals (10 percent) and Tampa Bay Lightning (10 percent). [The Athletic]Dak could use a raiseCowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who is still on his rookie contract, is making $540,000 in 2017. For prospective, Matthew Stafford of the Lions makes Dak’s entire salary in 10 game minutes, Mike Glennon of the Bears’ bench made it in 32 minutes of game, and Jay Cutler of Miami took only about 52 minutes of game time to make Dakbucks. [ESPN]Bring your child to work day gets a little too real in CalgaryJaromir Jagr, the 45-year-old who’s the second all-time point scorer in NHL history, signed a one-year contract with the Calgary Flames for $1 million and another million in bonuses. Jagr will be playing alongside the son of a player he was drafted alongside in 1990, and 10 team members were not born when Jagr won the Stanley Cup in 1991. [SportsNet Canada]Cleveland has hope again, ughThe MLB postseason is underway, with the Yankees defeating the Twins and the Diamondbacks defeating the Rockies in the wild card games. Cleveland is most favored to win the World Series — we give them a 26 percent chance of doing so — followed by the Dodgers, Astros and Nationals. [FiveThirtyEight]Big Number6 NBA ChimerasOnly six teams in the past 25 seasons have had three players with at least 25 percent usage over the course of the season: the 2016-17 Warriors, 2016-17 Cavaliers, 2008-09 Mavericks, 2007-08 Spurs, 2001-02 Bucks and 1999-2000 Bucks. This year between Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, the Minnesota Timberwolves may very well join that club. [FiveThirtyEight]Leaks from Slackwalt:Want that 400 word Post about my Jets Browns bet for Friday? Can file tomorrowgfoster:Yeah for sure. Does the Jets being half decent screw it up? I guess not…walt:Nahwalt:They’re also half not decentPredictions MLB Oh, and don’t forgetWatch the most delightful man in New York — with correct feelings about the Eagles — crush it at Jeopardy NFL read more

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