A Polaroid (and an episode of a TV series which relates to disability concepts)

Canon 50D and Tamron 17-50 f2.8mm
Edited with Google Picasa
Shot on a Friday night at the Chandos Arms

This isn’t a Polaroid but this isn’t immediately obvious. The image itself can only be achieved by photo-manipulation which makes this impossible Polaroid what it is: not a Polaroid. Mad isn’t it?

It’s a homage to an artist featured in an episode of the the fabulous series Boston Legal. A girl has a medical problem which means she can’t smile. Even though she has astonishing intelligence, poise and artistic talent for a young person she was denied entry to an elite private school.

The reason she was denied entry is an example of the sort of prejudice I hate. She always looks sad and this was taken badly by an institution which believed happy, smiling students must be the norm and no other would be allowed into their school. This is the root of the creation of the mental health system: people, systems and institutions which reject natural human difference create exclusion and inequality.

Why is her lack of smile a barrier? It isn’t her smile or lack thereof. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the little girl in this Boston Legal episode who doesn’t smile. It’s the problem caused by people who would treat her badly because she looks different to what their acceptable norms are and this is a terrible iniquity to happen to any child or adult.

Thankfully one of my favourite fictional characters – Alan Shore – ensures that while she can never smile she gets her happy ending and it’s a beautiful piece of television scripting where he leaves aside legal trickery and instead involves the local media to tilt the situation in his client’s favour. There’s also a wonderful moment earlier on in the episode where he shows the girl a piece of deeply complicated art yet not only did she know the artist, this ten year old girl understood it too.


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