Best Of The Web
“Ryan O’Connell likens his new show, Special, to an Ariana Grande song—which is to say, it’s pop. It’s not Stravinsky or Coltrane; it’s not, as he puts it, “some lo-fi mumblecore sh-t.” The semiautobiographical series he wrote and stars in, about an introverted millennial struggling to move out of his mom’s house and become a writer, is conventional. Most of its episodes have an A plot and a B plot. There’s a plucky protagonist and a lovable sidekick.
But ahead of its April 12 debut on Netflix, there are many for whom Special is so much more than your average sitcom. The series marks the biggest stage in recent memory for a creator with a disability—and an unprecedented platform that puts him in control of the storytelling. “I’m excited that people are saying, ‘I’ve never seen this before,’” says O’Connell, who has cerebral palsy (CP), over the phone from Los Angeles. “But part of me is also like, Why? We should have seen this 40 million years ago.”
In recent years, conversations about representation in Hollywood have increased in urgency, from #OscarsSoWhite to the whitewashing of Asian roles to the lack of women behind the camera. But disability has been almost as scarce in mainstream discussions as it has been on the screen. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 4 Americans has a disability. Yet only about 2% of TV characters have a disability, and 95% of those that do are portrayed by nondisabled performers.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"With many other countries already studying the Asian playbook, the United States and Europe could benefit from doing the same."
"Trump's cursing is one of the most straightforward parts of his appeal... Trump is not the only politician whose profanity has stood him in good stead."
"‘If we get all of this because Netanyahu wants to make Trump happy, that’s fine with us,’ says local council rep in Golan Heights as plans ramp up for ‘new’ neighborhood honoring U.S. president..."
"...there is something worth paying attention to in this latest petition from fans keen to have a creative work made the way that they want it. The comments on the petition are instructive."
"The sunny job numbers and steady growth hide the fact that most people think the economy works only for people in power."
"Like many other Americans, I now wear AirPods all day at my desk to combat the awful tyranny of the open office. Since they don’t cancel noise, they provide me with writing music..."
"The logic of attributing mental states to nonhuman animals is complicated. We cannot use deductive inference, because there are no general rules..."
"As the canon of English literature slowly, gradually opens itself up to books by women and authors of color, Modern Library and Penguin Classics have just launched two new series..."
"Egalitarian couples assume their progressive ideology will carry the day. Sociologists know that it doesn’t.... sharing child care is associated with valuing gender equality..."
"Business Booms for Sephardic Food: Women are leading the way as small businesses bring traditional recipes to the commercial marketplace..."
"With most animal populations, the niches that encase the populations are of constant size. Animal societies growing in a given niche have dynamics neatly fitted by equations with a constant limit or ceiling."
"Now some 200,000 Jews live in Germany, a nation of 82 million people, and many are increasingly fearful.... 85 percent of respondents in Germany characterized anti-Semitism as a “very big” or “fairly big” problem..."