Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Youth Defence Blog Post Review: Discussing Disability

"I’d tell you I love[sic], but then I’d have to kill you" This mangled attempt to reproduce the title of one of the author's "favourite spy books" may have slithered past Youth Defence's editor. Or perhaps it was shown mercy - given the inexhaustible supply of errors that constitute the remainder of this blog post a mere discarding of the sixth word of the title (the word 'you') may have been allowed stay to better lower the expectations of its unfortunate readers.

I assume of course that Críostíona speaks of that well known classic, I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I 'd Have To Kill You by Ally Carter. I'm assured it's popular with both pre teens and young adults alike. Of course, perhaps I err. It rests not outside the realms of possibility that Youth Defence members have access to works that encourage lethal responses to admissions of eros, as suggested by the offered title. Still, the former seems the most charitable reading so I'll progress with the assumption that Críostíona intended to commence her piece with a reference to a teenager who lies to most people she meets in the protection of a secret mission. (For those unduly troubled by excess free time the plot summary is here.)

What mission does Críostíona execute in this blog post? We discover by examining the first sentence to follow a rather hamfisted link with aforementioned book title:

"Lately there has been a big push to allow parents to end the life of their own disabled children. Scary right?"
Checking the date of publication this post went out a little over eleven months ago. I must confess I do not recall this big push - I can't even call to mind a gentle nudge in such direction. Thankfully - and perhaps in violation of Youth Defence's editorial policy - Críostíona attempts to offer evidence in support of assertion. Naturally, being a Youth Defence blog post, we find the focus shifts rapidly beneath the ocean to discuss her sole example of this 'big push': a Dr Phil episode.
"It featured a woman [Annette Corriveau] who had a severely disabled adult son, whom she visited once a month. She felt that her son would be happier dead, and that if he was able to make the decision, he would choose suicide. She thought she should be able to make the decision for him."
I can only hypothesise as to what may have held Críostíona's attention during the daytime showing of Dr Phil. Whatever drew her focus must have been fascinating: she managed to miss that Corriveau has not one but two middle-aged children with Sanfillipo syndrome. They're both unable to eat, communicate, and are most likely blind and deaf (their inability to communicate renders precision in this diagnosis impossible). Corriveau was offered the option of ceasing artificial support through the removal of their feeding tubes but did not want their suffering increased by absence of nutrition and campaigned for the right to end their lives in a more caring fashion. Those interested can view a segment of the episode here. Some will agree with Corriveau, some will not, but surely all will see that Críostíona has misrepresented her sole example to further Youth Defence's agenda. This wild flight of creative reinterpretation leads her to the following dystopian view of the future:
"Flash forward a few decades and see where this new form of ‘mercy’ might take us. You see a blind/deaf person walking in the street. They stumble and fall, or almost get knocked down by a bus. You feel sorry for them, they don’t have the same quality of life you do – at least you think so. And you think you should kill them; it’s perfectly legal to after all. And then you see a homeless person…"
Her case would be bolstered if it consisted of more than a single, manipulated example on the other side of this planet. But wait, perhaps she can add to it?
Crazy right? But did we ever imagine twenty years ago that in the UK eighty children would be aborted every year because they had something as minor and easily repaired as a club foot or a cleft palate. Aborted, rather than having a simple operation which, in India costs roughly £2.50 to carry out. 
 One wonders what, precisely, someone whose favourite books inhabit the young adult section could possibly have imagined two decades ago. Perhaps - while still a twinkle in her father's eye - she dreamed of making up statistics to better block legislation to protect the lives of women. If not it's clearly a trait she developed as she worked her way through the Gallagher Girls series - her figures are just plain wrong.

I congratulate Críostíona on her continuing interest in fiction, but please, keep it to the young adult's section.


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