Re: "Sound and Fury" over enhancements

From: John Grigg (
Date: Tue Jan 08 2002 - 20:31:15 MST

Randy Smith wrote:
> >From:
> >
> >PBS tonight (here in LA, see local listings) is showing an Oscar nominated
> >documentary, Sound and Fury, about the controversy in the deaf community
> >over cochlear implants for deaf children, which can restore hearing.

> >See

I look forward to seeing this documentary. I have been dating a woman with a cochlear implant. She had it installed two years ago, and it changed her life! Fortunately, she had been able to hear until age nine so her brain had already developed the areas needed to properly hear. Those who were always deaf sometimes find an implant a nightmare, because their brain hardware lacks the plasticity of childhood to adapt.

This gal thrilled at the idea of getting her hearing back! For her it was a technological miracle which brought great joy. Just a few weeks ago she got her upgrade which delivers better sound quality, and is even smaller. We both look forward to what further upgrades will bring!

> >It seems almost unbelievable that what is in many ways a cure for deafness
> >could be controversial. One would think that parents would want the
> >best for their children.
> This "debate" has been going on for a couple years now.
> This is a perfect example of what is happening to this society. The problem
> may well be that this society is too large and complex, hence our watchdogs
> and other "bullshit" mechanisms have been crippled by various forces and
> interests.

I have learned from my deaf friend just how important and all-encompassing the deaf subculture can be. Because of the deaf subculture which she still sees herself as a member of, and because mechanisms can break, and batteries run out of power, she still sees sign language as very important. I was given a training handbook for Christmas and told to start learning!

Sign language can definitely be a form of great intimacy, and even influences sexual practice.

Mike Lorrey wrote:
The claim that deaf culture is something which should be preserved by
the repression of cochlear implant technology is about as logical a
claim as a claim that POW culture should be preserved by leaving POWs in
POW camps long after wars have been won.

On a similar note, you'll notice that few Japanese Americans are very
put out at having their "Internment Camp Culture" violated by their
release after WWII....

I would tend to agree with you. I think deaf culture is very special, but should not be maintained by repression. I hope a century from now the once deaf and their descendants will continue the great legacy of sign language. And I bet they will... :)

Mike continues:
This illustrates that cultures, in and of themselves, have no rights,
they are figments of individual humans imaginations in order to survive
in the circumstances they are put in at the time. To seek to remain in
suboptimal cultures long after the circumstances that brought them about
are alleviated is simply a form of Stockholm Syndrome: introversion,
indentification with the oppressor, and denial of reality.

Should we go about liberating those poor oppressed Amish people? Are they "suboptimal?" lol! C'mon everyone, they need our help! Seriously, I have heard stories of Amish people(especially children and teens) being repressed by the dominant culture. Eventually, most of those who really want to leave, will leave. But, not all will have the strength to do it.
best wishes,


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri Nov 01 2002 - 13:37:33 MST