Two worlds collide on this week’s SeroTalk podcast as Jamie Pauls, Buddy Brannan and Alena Roberts–all part of the Triple-click Home team–host this week’s SeroTalk podcast. After the news, Jamie reviews the Braille Edge, the incredibly popular 40-cell refreshable Braille display from HIMS Inc. Visit the Tech Access DemoCast to hear Erin Edgar’s in-depth podcasts on the Braille Edge. Stories covered in this week’s episode include:
A T Talk
Hi Serotalk Gang,
You know I had to comment on this one. I had to in part because my employer has invested a lot of time and energy into this show on many levels.
As you probably have read if you’ve read anything about the background of the show, it is based on a real person who got his first dog from GDF back in 1980. His son has made several Youtube videos talking about the making of the show and the concept. One of the things he says is that the show is not meant to represent every blind person or every guide dog team but to tell the story of his family.
His father, who is still around and still uses guide dogs but not from GDF, is one of these larger than life people who can get away with doing things like what you see on the show.
There are a couple places I think where we all have disconnects with the show. the first one is that we are all so excited to see “one of us” in a network TV show that we put a lot of pressure on the show to live up to every concept we have of our group, regardless of the story. A friend asked me recently if African Americans felt the same way about Bill Cosby in the 1980’s when he played Dr. Huxtable. That wasn’t reality for many African americans at that time. It was the story of one family though in one set of circumstances.
Another disconnect with the show is the time frame. the son, D.J. Nash, is trying to adapt stories from his family that happened back when blind people did not have the technology they have now, and because of story telling conventions, Growing Up Fisher is set in the present. Will Mel have an iPhone on one episode? Who knows? Also, and any of us who are long-time guide dog handlers know this, what was acceptable behavior for a guide dog back in 1980 is not acceptable today in some very subtle ways. Yes the general tennants of good behavior are still there but I remember a lot more barking and such being tolerated back in the day. Now if a guide dog barks, the entire room of blind people will start yelling at the handler. Convention Trauma!
I honestly was very worried when I first heard about the show last June. I thought, “Oh crap. How many ways can this go wrong?” Way too many. Our community can be hyper judgmental about these things and it won’t matter what the general public thinks.
I, like Joe, don’t think NBC will keep the show around long enough to have a chance but if it did, how would our attitudes change? I do know that the producers consulted with GDF and local guide dog handlers in the LA area but even then, dramatic license is what it is.
I honestly also have not watched the show beyond the pilot episode yet. I hate network television. 5 minutes of show, 5 minutes of commercial. I liked the banter between the family as it mirros my own whacky family banter. As for the guide dog interactions not always being completely politically correct, let’s be brutally honest. We can all cite times when we’ve done things with our dogs or allowed our dogs to do things that are less than by the book. We even tell stories and laugh about them amongst ourselves. Let someone outside of our community portray that though and it gets uncomfortable.
Finally, I wanted to address the issue of the main character’s “passing” for sighted on the show. Believe it or not, this still happens and people will still try to be sighted when they are clearly not. I see it often when people come to guide dog class. They interview just fine. they look good getting around. then they come to spend 2 weeks or 3 weeks with a bunch of other blind people and they self destruct because OMG, they’ve never had to face their own blindness before in such a public way. they may never have been around real blind people in all their variations.
I see this at blindness consumer conventions too. We as a group tend to have some social behaviors that aren’t quite what you’d expect. Granted, the social conventions work when we’re in big groups, loud voices, training to get places, that is, making a train of people to get places, some of us not being as well groomed or observant of others’ social cues as one might expect. That all can freak people out the first time they experience it. And now they are one of “US”.
Most of the people who “pass” have some remaining vision. I don’t know about the character in Growing Up Fisher, just how “blind” he is. I do know that people can do amazing things in pursuit of denial. I did growing up. Gee, grown up partial? My youngest sister faked her entire last year of high school. No one knew she was totally blind by then because she had good friends who propped her up, and she was good at faking it by then. They knew she had vision problems but …
so the whole plot line of the main character faking being sighted for years is totally plausible. Less so I think back in 1980 than now with the technology but none the less, still going on.
Thanks for discussing the show in a very even manner. I know some people really hate it for a variety of reasons. Is it an ideal portrayal of blind people and guide dogs? probably not. It’s not meant to be though. It’s the story of a family that happens to have a blind father with a guide dog. Novel concept.
From Greg Wocher:
I hope you all are doing well. I had some comments about episode 191.
First if you listen to the Security Now podcast you will find out that Steve Gibson, security guru, will not be updating his XP machines to something later. His reason is that there was a recent study that found if you run as a local limited user instead of an administrator on your XP machine you can eliminate nearly all vulnerabilities. If you want to hear more about this listen to the last couple of episodes of SN. So if you still want to run XP give your admin account a good password and always run as a local limited user instead. Secondly in this weeks and next weeks Security Now podcasts they are talking about how well Apple has done its security. It is really amazing what they have done. It is almost enough to make me switch back from Android. Now if they could get rid of that blasted iTunes software I just might switch back. LOL.
Hey guys, listening to episode 190, and lol why not make your own Serotek phone? Just think of it. Aah, the SamNet phone! Buy it today!!! lolz. Just a thought, oh, and it could have the Ricke voice as the Speech TTS. I’d also be willing to give you my voice for that project. Just a thought. Talk later.
Blog comment from Amanda:
I love tuning into the podcast and listening to the great stories and news you guys tell. I just have a comment about the show Growing Up Fisher. I have been watching the show and I really like it. I don’t think it’s a bad show at all. I am a guide dog user myself. I sure wouldn’t give my dog to someone when the harness is on either. The creater of this show has a dad who is blind. Don’t know if you guys knew that. I am on Twitter. Ricky and Buddy follow me as well as Joe. I also enjoy listening to Triple Clikc Home. Keep up the great work!