One thing we have an awkward relationship with is humor connected with disabilities. There is the crude movie humor, there’s the “very special” episode humor, and finally, rarest of all, genuine humor that deals with the disability from the point of view of the people who have to live with it.
I was reminded of this today when I came across a blog post that discussed why the author liked how the webcomic Girls With Slingshots has dealt with a couple of different disabled characters. Anna writes about the story arc at GWS that dealt people at a wedding, including one blind guest and one deaf guest. She writes:
“Soo Lin, who is blind, and Melody, who is deaf. (Sadly, the strips don’t seem to have a transcript that I can find. I’ve written up a transcript for the relevant strips.) [Soo Lin’s first appearance] [Melody’s first appearance]
“What I like about the jokes in this strip are that they’re all over the place.Some are about how clueless people can be about blindness. Some are disability-related humour as told by people with disabilities. I think my favourite is this joke about getting a bad ‘terp. There are others, of course.
“The jokes are all based around disability, sure. But the jokes aren’t “ha ha ha, look at the crippled person having difficulties getting around!” And at no point is the humour about a very special lesson for anyone else. Soo Lin and Melody are part of the joke, they aren’t the butt of it.”
Anna has more to say on the topic at this post from a year ago.
Take a look at the examples linked to above, and think about how GWS deals with disability not so much in a sensitive way as in an everyday life way. (By the way, if you don’t read Girls With Slingshots, you should. One of the best webcomics out there!