I just got finished watching the Law and Order television program that starred a number of Deaf actors in a whodunnit murder case involving a ear doctor who does cochlear implants.
So what did I think?
It was… interesting.
Certainly I thought the program did a good job of covering some of the aspects of the Deaf Community – using videophones, sign language interpreters, the closeness of the members of the community, some of the “sensitive issues” that we deal with – such as cochlear implants, Deaf identity, etc.
I also thought it did a good job of showing some of the issues involved with interpreting – following the Code of Ethics, trying to maintain your proper role as an interpreter (especially in situations where you might be expected to wear different hats), how challenging interpreting can really be at times (the struggles of the gentleman to understand and voice the Deaf woman when she became hysterical.)
But was the plot itself a bit far-fetched? I have to wonder. While I can’t say that I am all that supportive of cochlear implants myself, would I go so far as to kill somebody over it? I would like to think that the majority of us are well-adjusted individuals who in spite of our personal opinions about these devices, are not about to commit murder over them.
I find it interesting that cochlear implants have played a significant role in the plot of two such law enforcement programs recently (remember Marlee Matlin and the program where her daughter was killed?)
I can’t help but wonder why Hollywood seems to have this fascination with wanting to focus on the whole issue surrounding cochlear implants and their impact on the Deaf Community. Or is it simply that they are reflecting what is already going on within our community? Let’s face it…there was some considerable discussion and feelings expressed regarding the portrayal of cochlear implants and oralism in the recent “Through Deaf Eyes” program.
In a way, maybe tonight’s Law and Order did a better job of truly portraying those Deaf Eyes than the PBS program did. I like to think that it really brought home what the Deaf Culture is all about in an eye-opening, thought-provoking manner. It showed us as we are – warts and all. It wasn’t always flattering, but it was honest and real.
Sure, we can scoff at Larry for demanding a Deaf cop, a Deaf judge, a jury of his peers. But as unrealistic as such a request might seem to be, is it really that far off from what some of us have thought and felt at one time or the other? It’s especially interesting when we consider that the Daphne Wright trial is going on right now, and those types of questions have been raised in the Deaf Blogosphere. Was Larry merely expressing the very concerns that we have had – how much justice can a Deaf person expect in a hearing world that often does not accommodate our needs, nor understand our issues?
What about Tommy, who killed the doctor out of his fear that a cochlear implant would destroy his relationship with Mahlia? That once she turned hearing, she would turn away from him and the Deaf Community? While I doubt any of us can support his actions, can we at least understand and sympathize with the feelings that drove him towards such actions?
Hmmmmm… lots to think about here.
Anyone want to share your thoughts?