Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunday Roundup - Comedy, Abortion, Blood Libel

This week I wrote about Down syndrome in two context: abortion issues and comedy. Many thousands of people read my CNN piece on Down syndrome and comedy. I am deeply impressed by Wyatt Cenac's willingness to call me and talk at length about the bit and his approach to comedy. To me, it's what resolution looks like, even if NPR is unlikely to take the piece down (as requested by the parent who alerted me to the issue). I like resolution, in part because it's so rare.

Speaking of issues I'd like to see resolved, but without much hope, there's this piece from David Sedaris that contains some exceptionally offensive depictions of people with developmental disabilities. It was recorded in 1996, but re-broadcast in 2013. What obligations does This American Life have? To never rebroadcast? To put up a warning notice (as they do when they use racially offensive language or talk about sex in their pieces).

Earlier in the week, I got a comment from a reader that she wouldn't waste time thinking before she aborted a fetus with Down syndrome. I offered the best response that I could, suggesting some ways that this type of eugenic principle ought to be rethought.

Finally, a Hamas spokesman recycled the medieval Blood Libel myth on Al Quds, the Lebanese TV station. He said, "we remember," and then "it's a fact," on a station dedicated to the memory of Islamic Jerusalem. As a medieval historian of memory and myth, I was horrified, but thought it was important to comment.

Thanks for reading and have a great Sunday.

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