January 19, 2019

In Defense of Deaf Culture

“The big summer action movie “Baby Driver” made waves in the Deaf community — CJ Jones, a Deaf actor, plays the deaf foster father of the film’s protagonist, Baby. It’s exciting for two reasons: deaf characters rarely appear in big mainstream films, and it’s even rarer that deaf people play themselves.

But the fight for authentic representation is far from over.

Many in the Deaf community now have their eyes on the new Todd Haynes film, “Wonderstruck,” which makes its mainstream theater debut today. It spotlights the Deaf community, yet stars Julianne Moore as one of the deaf protagonists. Moore is only the latest in a long line of hearing actors playing deaf roles — most recently Chris Heyerdahl in the new Syfy-turned-Netflix series “Van Helsing.”

Filmmakers have offered many excuses for not casting deaf actors — everything from not knowing where to find a one, to asserting a deaf woman would get injured during the shooting of an action sequence.

More disappointing than Hollywood’s justifications, however, is the way the Deaf community’s critiques are portrayed as political correctness run amok.”

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JJ Editor's Picks

"Not even what one might think of as the most basic tenet of any religion, a belief in the existence of God, is a prerequisite: Agnosticism is a key principle of at least one major school of Hindu philosophy."

"The presidency of any particular incumbent is relatively short... but the precedential consequences of impeaching a president without complying with the specific provisions of the Constitution “as it was written” are enduring."

"After news that a judge allegedly provided sexual favors to Bar Association president Efi Nave in exchange for her appointment, several politicians said in their responses that the Judicial Selection Committee needed to be the “Holy of Holies.”"

"Two new documentaries take on Billy McFarland and his disastrous music festival... the secret villain of this story all along: the subtle menace of social media marketing."

"Eating out, ordering in. Throw in a bagel here, a coffee there, and it all adds up. "It's definitely a challenge for people my age to save on food.""

"Popular music is shrinking. From 2013 to 2018, the average song on the Billboard Hot 100 fell from 3 minutes and 50 seconds to about 3 minutes and 30 seconds. "

"Here in the good old U.S. of A, the third annual Women's March planned for Jan. 19 is in serious trouble, thanks to irreconcilable political disagreements."

"Nature, however, with its endless cycles of death and rebirth, fascinated her. Walking in the woods, she developed a method that has become the hallmark of her poetry, taking notice simply of whatever happens to present itself."

"Modern parents haven’t stopped playing favorites; they’ve just stopped doing it openly. Though few parents today will admit they have a favorite child, studies indicate that about two-thirds of parents do."

"The first science-based diet that tackles both the poor food eaten by billions of people and averts global environmental catastrophe has been devised."

"Sphen and Magic looked like they would make great, diligent, careful egg-warming parents. They made the biggest nest, and they sat on it constantly."

"How YMHAs, followed by synagogue-centers, and finally JCCs have tried—in different ways—to balance Judaism and Jewishness, by bringing Jews together in intellectual, spiritual, and physical pursuits"