Doyle Saylor djsaylor at SPAMprimenet.com
Sat Dec 23 05:56:59 MST 2000

Grrrreetings Comrades,
    Some brief comments on the excerpt on Disabilities from the New York
Review of Books.  Martha Nussbaum (I am reading a book by a Martha C.
Nussbaum, Sex and Social Justice, Oxford University Press 1999) if a I am
not mistaken wrote a major critique of Judith Butler awhile back from a more
traditional Marxist perspective in the popular press.  I don't know what
Nussbaum has to say about disability, but anyone who goes after Butler in
the popular press has got my attention.

    The quoted commentary puts these disabled people in the perspective of
their family structure.  This is one way that a reactionary view of
disability creeps into thinking about the issue.  A disabled person is not
defined by how they relate to their parents.  The nexus of that social
relationship is just one sort of potential social relationship possible.
And that ought to be in relationship to that disabled persons own

    The commentary upon Arthur is especially troublesome.  Asperger's
Syndrome is a very mild form of autism.  It is highly unclear what exactly
is the comment supposed to mean will Arthur ever be able to live on his own?
I can't live on my own, I need the whole social system to survive.  If you
go over to Pen-L where Jim Devine writes frequently you would eventually
learn he has a mild form of autism.  And his son has Asperger's Syndrome.
More to the point Devine has pointed out many university professors are
probably mild autistics.

    The quotes on this list then have the classic element of putting
disabled people into an abled body perspective.  An able bodied perspective
is a lot like racism or sexism.  The assumption is that someone ought to fit
into a stereotype in order to understand them.  What then gets lost is the
very much more complex issue of what social structure actually does, and can
do.  And especially as Marxist what class means.
Doyle Saylor

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