Posts by Joe Wylie

Last ←Newer Page 1 2 3 4 5 Older→ First

  • Hard News: Emma Hart is a werewolf,

    In the 50s and 60s there were a number of microcephalics at the Levin Hospital and Training School, which later became the Kimberley Centre. I remember them because I grew up in a staff house on the hospital grounds. While I had the privilege of knowing a number of the residents there, I never had the impression that microcephalics were the kind of people that you might form anything other than a caring and protective attachment to.

    I did encounter one when I was a teenager, who'd happened to wander at least a kilometre from his 'villa' into the neighbouring paddocks. When I spoke to him he seemed alert but unresponsive, almost like a bird. He was, I'm certain, a bone fide microcephalic, and while he showed no aptitude for speech he was certainly capable of negotiating fences and gates, not to mention breathing.

    I do find the concept of an advocacy group of microcephalics to be purely hypothetical, though. The last sufferer from cretinism in NZ was an elderly woman in the 1960s, who presumably passed away from natural causes. Thanks to medical advances in the treatment of congenital hyperthyroidism the condition is now practically unknown in the developed world.So, if an advocacy group by and for sufferers had been formed in time, might they have opted for a different outcome? Personally I find such a possibility as far-fetched as animals forming animal rights advocacy groups. There's a real issue here of defining the needs of the vulnerable, which won't be solved by casting 'society' as some kind of crudely oppressive force bent on violating their rights. That has never been the main thrust of our history in NZ.

    While I don't doubt Islander's midwife story I believe that this country has largely treated the severely intellectually disabled in a humane fashion. Euthanasia was hardly ever the norm, and eugenics never gained a real foothold.

    I believe that we should learn from our history of how such things were treated, rather than subscribe to a form of received wisdom that most of what happened in the past was utterly barbaric. While there's been some dreadful institutionalised cruelty to psychiatric patients in this country, by and large the treatment of those with major intellectual disabilities has been progressive by world standards.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3552 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Away for the Weekend,

    I'm aesthetically "brutalised" every time I look out of my living room window, only to have my eyeballs molested by the arse-ugly Sky Phallus. Can I go murder architect Gordon Moller now? Please...

    Good point. Once the whole wide sky's been privatised, and if you happen to be a major shareholder, no jury would convict you. In the meantime, as Dirty Harry Callahan would say, a man's got to know his limitations.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3552 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Emma Hart is a werewolf,

    I worked for a company in Australia that employed a deaf guy as a trainee. As most of their employees thought with some justification that management were tossers, I remarked to his supervisor that perhaps they weren't such a bad lot to give a deaf person a chance. Nah, she said, it's a cheaper way of assuaging their guilt about such things than having to put in wheelchair ramps and special toilets.

    What she did do, though, was take the initiative to call a deaf organisation, who sent someone around to explain pretty much what Emma's stated above, plus some basic signing. It was a great move for everyone.

    "She's blind as a bat." Ur, no: bats generally have good vision, and wonderful echo-location abilities.

    Only the microchiroptera. The megas - flying foxes of all types - get by purely on their eyesight. That's my pedant quota for the year gone.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3552 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Emma Hart is a werewolf,

    here are a whole lot of ethical and philosophcal issues about what is quality of life and who decides when someone else (for whatever reason) doesn't have quality of life. It is relevant to disability because for hundreds of years disabled people have had other people make judgements about their quality of life, without consulting them.

    This can become a vexed issue when someone's disability precludes their making such decisions for themselves. The concept of promulgating the rights of the disabled is laudable, but failing to take into account the special needs of the intellectually disabled has had some rather adverse consequences in NZ in recent years.

    Over the recent silly season there have been a few 'stupid crim' stories in the media. I'd suggest that this is at least part way symptomatic of people failing to get the help and support they need, which leads to their becoming part of an inept criminal underclass.

    I'm a little uncomfortable with the notion that all disabilities somehow represent a single special interest group. Supporting the rights of the intellectually disabled without supplementing their often inherent lack of life skills seems dangerously akin to 1980s Thatcherism, with its implication that the implementation of free market policies would somehow raise the general IQ of the populace.

    . . . we need to be aware that our own values and perspectives are our own and not universal. What seems straightforward to us, may actually have negative implications and repercussions for others.t

    Agreed.
    And your wise men don't know how it feels
    To be thick
    As a brick.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3552 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Joggers in Saigon,

    A punishment is imposed not on the basis of how many lives an offense claims but on the reaction of the masses . . . the best, if not the only, way to channel the anger of the enraged people in China.

    Interesting post Webster, thanks. Seems to be an example of political human sacrifice. The only other modern form that readily comes to mind is invoking the memory of the glorious war dead for political purposes. As the Australian poet Les Murray once noted, even a crappy old idea like Britannia can start to look pretty good if you pile up enough dead bodies around it.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3552 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Copyright Must Change,

    Wait: did I say it was a funny story? I meant "boring".

    Not at all, thanks for that. While it's not uncommon - tho not as common as it should be - for theses to be made available in pdf form from within a university's own intranet/whatever, yours is particularly interesting because of the fair use picture issues, and because it's been posted as being freely accessible 'in the wild'.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3552 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Copyright Must Change,

    Ben objects to much of the research being effectively hidden from the public by the barrier of the walled gardens that the review journals use.

    Is I think a crucial barrier that we really need to get rid of as quickly as humanly possible. We need a lot more of these.

    Gio, appreciate that you're walking the walk on this by having made your thesis freely available on line. It's been a source of some annoyance and frustration in the past to discover how few bother to do that.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3552 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Nerd Dad,

    Thank's Mum for fronting my monthly subscriptions at the newsagent

    Saved you from winding up in the juve cubes?

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3552 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: A Full Sense of Nationhood,

    Ben, your understanding of communication is outdated and woefully inadequate.

    C'mon Sacha, a few more pages of reiterating the bleeding obvious won't hurt. It's got got a nice drone, you can nod to it.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3552 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Nerd Dad,

    . . . Ozy, for all his genius, is a similarly ideologically adolescent utilitarian.

    Now that you mention it, that Ozy sure is one mean Benthamite bastard.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3552 posts Report Reply

Last ←Newer Page 1 280 281 282 283 284 356 Older→ First