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 Picks
"On Christmas Eve of 1966, Paddy Roy Bates, a retired British army major, drove a small boat with an outboard motor seven miles off the coast of England into the North Sea. He had sneaked out of his house in the middle of the night, inspired..."
"The book that changed lecturer, activist, and current presidential candidate Marianne Williamson’s life, A Course in Miracles, is not available for free online, but its workbook is. You can find it on the website for the Foundation for..."
"Here are two sets of statements from far-distant opposites in the climate change debate. The first is from Naomi Klein, who in her book This Changes Everything paints a bleak picture of a global socioeconomic system gone wrong: “There is a..."
"Voters who trust their government — and each other — are more supportive of ambitious welfare states than those who do not. Across nations, high levels of social trust correlate with high levels of social spending. The relationship between these..."
"With the presidential campaign under way, expect to hear a lot more about a shiny new toy of progressive economic thinking, “modern monetary theory.” It seems to be the only intellectual contortion that might allow candidates to promise..."
"“We don’t want to fight y’all. We’re not trying to go to jail.” That’s what A$AP Rocky, the 30-year-old New York City rapper, can be heard saying in a video of an encounter with strangers in Sweden that has ballooned into an international crisis."
"Israel’s top officials are considering denying Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib entry to their country due to their outspoken, controversial criticism of Israel’s policy toward Palestinians, not to mention their slurs against American Jews as..."
"For most of our lives, we have been conditioned to share a piece of personal information without a moment’s hesitation: our phone number. We punch in our digits at the grocery store to get a member discount or at the pharmacy to pick up..."