This year is an important one for Americans with disabilities: 2020 will mark the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the 100th anniversary of the country’s vocational rehabilitation program, which helps people with disabilities find and keep jobs.
The world of fantasy has been one of the few genres to regularly include disabled characters, though this inclusion has always come with the concept of disfigurement and grotesquerie. One of the most famous disabled fantasy characters, George R.R. Martin’s Tyrion Lannister, is described in the first volume of the A Song of Ice and Fire book series as walking on “stunted legs” with “a head too large for his body” and “a brute’s squashed-in face beneath a swollen shelf of brow.” The casting of Peter Dinklage helped to rectify this overly exaggerated description of a disabled character, but it speaks to how the disabled often find themselves in fantasy: as a source of terror and pity, with their strength often presented as a vengeful outlet for their bitterness.
It’s not easy to get a handle on what “The Disability Community” thinks. In July of last year, Rutgers University professors Lisa Schur and Douglas Kruse published a report on disabled people’s voting trends in the 2018 elections, which was a followup on a major report they issued on how disabled Americans voted in 2016.
It’s no coincidence that our politics and our mental health have declined so rapidly, at the same time.
Many older Americans have experienced more days of poor mental health in recent years, particularly individuals with limited income and education, a U.S. study suggests. Researchers examined data on 2.4 million people aged 60 and older who participated in annual surveys between 2003 and 2017, answering questions about their general health and the number of days they experienced poor physical or mental health. Overall, 41% had household income of no more than $35,000 a year and 10% lacked a high school education.
“Anything on the tables. Take it,” she announced to the room, after getting everyone’s attention with the golden ping of a Tibetan singing bowl. “Go through the bookshelves, and if there’s anything you want, take it. Linens, dishes, mugs — take them,” she said, sweeping her arms along the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. “And please, please take at least one of the champagne flutes home with you. After you’ve had your mimosa.”
Happy New Year from your friends at the NAB!
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