My FEDup™Rant: The Top 5 Reasons Girl Scouts Are Better at Fundraising Than the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s (MDA) Telethon

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I’m FEDup with the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s (MDA) Telethon. Unlike other disability groups, it’s still teaching children with neuromuscular diseases (NMDs) that their role in fundraising is to perform their disabilities and/or be treated as passive props in an ableist play. There are better ways to involve all children. Example: The Girl Scouts’ cookie sales.

2 Girl Scout cookies that say I Am A Go Getter and I Am a Leader

If these were MDA cookies, they’d say, “I’m half a person,” and “I wish I weren’t me.”

The Top 5 Reasons Girl Scouts Are Better at Fundraising Than the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s (MDA) Telethon

5.  Selling cookies was an age-appropriate fundraising activity for me as an 8 year old Girl Scout. Versus MDA putting even younger children on television to have their medical status be talked about and possibly misrepresented. Continue reading

This #NDEAM, Let’s #Consent to #EndTheTelethon and Dismantle the Charity Model – Again

This post is part of a blog-weekend protesting the re-emergence of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Telethon. Sadly, Kevin Hart and MDA are bringing the charity model and Jerry Lewis back like Zombies of Ableism on October 24. We, the Not-Walking-Not-Dead-Yet, have to use our social capital to stop them in their tracks as the Hartless Crips we are.

I’m proud to be one of the disabled activists organized by disabled filmmaker, writer, and activist Dominick Evans to once again protest an event that perpetuates disability stereotypes, spreads misinformation about neuro-muscular diseases to increase donations, and utterly ignores structural ableism. In 2015, I wrote about the end of the Telethon that inexplicably ran every year on Labor Day and was presided over by the guy who claimed his “kids” could never go into the workplace.

This post revisits portions of it with an eye to the continuing issue of employment – if only because disabled children will once again be working at the Telethon for their health care, and potentially taking some very concerning lessons away from that experience about consent and power.  Thank you, Dominick, for your leadership!

Hands-OFF Fundraising in 2020: Consent, Consent, Consent

Telethon screenshot. Lewis has his hand grabbing a young girl's knee. "that we are about to present and it's for her and a million other of my kids"

In 2020, we need to critique this 2010 image from the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Telethon in terms of consent as much as we do its infantilizing attitude and fundraising tactics that use disabled people as charity props.
MDA needs to be held accountable for their broader transactional narrative in which disabled children are expected to allow strangers to touch their bodies as part of obtaining money for their health care.
The “new” Telethon is being held on Oct. 24, during National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). There is a connection between the MDA Telethon and employment. What we learn as children is carried into adulthood. The lesson here  can too easily become, “I need my paycheck so I have to put up with my boss touching me.”
Past KFC/MDA print ad saying, "On May 24th, show this child you care," with an explanation of why buying KFC will help kids. Lewis has his arm wrapped around a small boy in a wheelchair

MDA, Jerry Lewis, KFC, and a bucket of reasons why disabled children shouldn’t be used as props in cause marketing charity campaigns.

BONUS! Go here for “Stuff I Know As a Fundraiser Who Has Muscular Dystrophy and Why It’s (Past) Time for MDA to #EndTheTelethon”

BUT WAIT – WE’VE GOT EVEN MORE BONUS! Go here to read why Girls Scouts are better fundraisers than MDA’s executives

Continue reading

My FEDup™Rant: I Adjusted to Wearing a Face-Mask By Wearing a Face-Mask

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I’m FEDup with people saying they can’t adjust to wearing masks even though they help protect lives during a pandemic.

If you have access to a mask but won’t wear it, take a #CripTip: Shift your narrative from, “I CAN’T ADJUST!” to “I will adjust and it will take time.”

I get it. Masks feel strange and uncomfortable. But unless you’re one of the relatively few who truly cannot physically tolerate wearing a mask, face shield, or other face covering, it’s not about whether you can. It’s about whether you want to.

Since you presumably want to save lives during a pandemic, the first step is dealing with what you’re telling yourself about wearing a mask and then, as needed, unpacking that typically messy box where emotions and physical feelings are stored in a jumble.
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And Now a Word From the FuckAbility™ Research Council’s Behind the Trailer on Apple TV’s “SEE”

Photo of an abandoned, beat-up trailer in a wooded area The FuckAbility TM Research Council Presents BEHIND THE TRAILER Copyright 2019 Tales From the Crip

Welcome to Behind the Trailer, where we at the FuckAbility™ Research Council tiptoe into the seriously shady trailers of movies and tv shows to explore whether you’d want to waste more than three minutes on them.

First up – the trailer for SEE, an all-caps Alec-Baldwin-free Apple TV series about being blind while doing some post-apocalyptic camping. The premise: The world’s been destroyed and nobody can SEE but blind actors still aren’t getting cast even in roles for characters who can’t SEE.

On the plus side, Jason Momoa is back in his finest Kal Drogo kit and there’s some lovely styling of rustic interiors that may push me into finally buying a fake-fur throw for our futon couch. Also: Good to see actors of color in lead roles. Continue reading

TryHarder™ Magazine: The Disability Etiquette Issue Featuring the Dowager Crippess From Downwith Ableism

TryHarder™ Magazine: The Magazine for People Who Need to Try Harder, 2 cents

Issue No. 5: The Disability Etiquette Issue

In which Mx. Crip-Manners is most grateful for any etiquette-related #CripTips the Dowager Crippess of Downwith Ableism might care to offer

Gif from Downton Abbey of the Dowager Countess in full evening regalia, stamping her cane for emphasis.

“My dear, if punctuality is the courtesy of kings, then access is the etiquette of ableds.”


 What is a ‘forgetting of the access’?

2 cents symbolEtiquette is so inextricably bound to access that I cannot countenance this notion of ‘disability etiquette’. Disabled people do not require ‘special’ manners.
There is nothing remarkable about courtesy, except regarding the lack of it many disabled people encounter. I have never understood how any well-intentioned host could ‘forget’ to offer a navigable entrance to guests.  We do not ‘forget’ to offer our guests chairs, for example, do we? Why, imagine it – it would be like one of those exceedingly tedious ‘cocktail’ parties where one is forced to stand as if one is in the court of Louis XIV. 

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