- Superman's Telethon.
The March 1 ABC-TV two-hour special, "Christopher Reeve: A Celebration
of Hope" included Mary Chapin Carpenter, Gloria Estefan, Amy Grant,
John Lithgow, Paul McCartney, Meryl Streep, Robin Williams and Stevie
Wonder. And, as the ABC promo added, "Reeve's devoted wife, Dana.".
"If it looks like a telethon and sounds like a telethon, then it's
a telethon!" one of our readers quipped. Another was "sad to
see Reeve devote his considerable charisma and skill to the same old 'cure
is everything' message.".
Joel Gibson felt the "entire exercise just shows how Hollywood
hates the idea of disability.
"They want to stamp it out - they don't see it as being anything
like gay rights, Native American rights-hot topics to Hollywood. But for
us it's still 'cure-em.' ".
Particularly galling was a dance-troupe number featuring two apparently
nondisabled men and a woman who used a wheelchair. Periodically the woman
would be lifted out of the chair and "flown" through the air
by one of the men. The symbolism was unmistakable -- and irritating to
a number of readers.
"Why can't Hollywood' get it' about disability?" Shirley Smith
added. "We're one of their causes only if they can 'cure' us. They
dream of eliminating disability. .
"When will Hollywood understand this
is a rights movement?" asked Ben Christopher.
"There's no real reason Reeve has become a spokesperson other than
that he's a celebrity," said Ragged Edge reader Tom Franklin.
"Reeve was allegedly involved in 'issues' before he became disabled,
but now I think it was just window dressing, the way a lot of celebrities
are," added Melinda Jeffries. "The pattern here is really that
he doesn't touch stuff that really requires social change - or even legislative
change; he sticks with safe stuff. Like cure.".
"There are forces behind Reeve that we know not of," added
Jeffries, who said "cure giants" got to Reeve before the rights
movement was "savvy enough to glom onto him.".
The movement should picket Reeve "just like we've picketed the
Lewis version," she said.