Sunday, November 4, 2012

Marlee Matlin: ASL Skit insulting

Marlee Matlin is speaking out about a Saturday Night Live Skit (see it below on DeafNewsToday.com) in which actresses pretending to interpret for the mayor of New York and the Governor of New Jersey. Instead of funny, the Oscar winning actress says it was just "dumb". Matlin wrote, "Millions of deaf people use sign (language). Why poke fun/fake it? Poke fun at ME but not the language. Sign is not mime; it is a legit language... I don't mind fun poked at me, as I poke back. But at the language, that millions use? It feels childish and insulting. Deaf people HAVE a sense of humor... But faking signs that we use isn't the same. Imagine if a show started making fun of Spanish (using fake Spanish) or Japanese. Do you think they'd actually get away with it? Uh, no..."

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Actually SNL the previous week, (Host Christina Applegate) did a skit within it were making fun of the Chinese iPhone makers and were mocking the way they sound.

B.BarNavi said...

"Imagine if a show started making fun of Spanish (using fake Spanish) or Japanese. Do you think they'd actually get away with it? Uh, no..."

Why do some Deaf people think that they're the ONLY group that gets mocked? Of course stuff like that's gone away with. All the damn time.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes jokes are funny because they are ridiculous and stray so far from what they are "mocking", not because we disrespect the subject. (The skit with the factory workers were mocking people who complained about the iPhone, but it used ridiculous caricatures of Chinese people that were hilarious to me because they were so crazy and out of context.) In Seth Macfarlane's episode they spoofed the Gangnam style craze with Psy himself. One might just have to take it in stride that Lydia Callis has a growing fan base and she gives a great speech, so people will spoof her.

Anonymous said...

I actually Googled looking for deaf community reaction to this skit because I thought it was funny, thoughtful, and on point. In particular, I loved the actress portraying the NYC mayor's interpreter - her signs made "sense" and were consistent, and a funny parody of ASL signs like "surge" and "flood" which many viewers first learned last week. The NJ translator was just pushing the sketch over the top, her signs didn't make much sense, and as an NJ resident I suffer under that goomba stereotype!

I wouldn't be surprised if this sketch (already considered one of the best in recent SNL history, not that that's saying much) and the ASL interpreters on TV last week will spark an interest in ASL as a second language.

Anonymous said...

An article on Lydia Callis and ASL "for dummies", very well done intro to ASL

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/11/why-great-sign-language-interpreters-are-so-animated/264459/

Deaf News Today said...

DeafNewsToday already posted a link to this article this past weekend. It was also published by Mental Floss, which is an Atlantic partner site.

http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/149593

STerras said...

I actually don't find SNL's ASL mocking offensive. What do you expect from SNL? They poke fun at every single person of different culture on the planet.

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