Electric EDGE
Web Edition of The Ragged Edge
January/February 1997
Electric Edge

Hello there!

We're baa-ack!

In a manner of speaking.

Welcome to Ragged Edge magazine, successor to The Disability Rag & Resource. What better name could we take than that of the Disability Rag's very successful Ragged Edge anthology, a compendium of the best of the Rag's first 15 years of existence? Anthology editor Barrett Shaw wrote in the introduction to that book that a ragged edge "is a good image for the way people with disabilities live, at a rough and often unraveling interface with the rest of society."

"People are scared of living on the ragged edge," she continued. "All the medical tinkering in the world has not shown that the human organism does anything other than break down eventually, [but] some people have become so afraid of this normal course of things that they would rather die than face it. Having this view projected onto them, they tend to project it onto the rest of us and think we'd all rather die than not be perfect machines. This is not the case."

She went on, "It is people with disabilities who could best make [society] see the value of life on the ragged edge . . ."

So that is exactly what we set out to do in this magazine. Welcome.

The stories in this premiere issue get us off to a good start. You'll find thoughts about how reporters treat those of us who are mentally ill. You'll read about the icon of FDR in one writer's life; and about another's growing up disabled.

You'll even find the Great Unmentionable.

We noticed, as we edited, that our pieces on Kevorkian and Reeve kept circling around the last true taboo of our body-fixated society: The Toilet, the Last Great Fear of those of us who think we know what it takes to hold onto that last shred of dignity.

"I want these things to be private, too. But they're not," wrote Cheryl Marie Wade on this very point back in 1991 in her article "It Ain't Exactly Sexy," which we reprinted in that anthology. If we couldn't talk about such things, she wrote, "if our shame tells us that our needs lack dignity, that we lack dignity, then the next thing we hear our shame say is that it is more dignified to die than to live with these basic needs that take away privacy and seem like such a burden.

"We have an obligation," she went on, "to stop skirting the issue. Stop contributing to our own self-hatred with silence and half truths. Stop playing the media's' game. . . . It isn't 'using the toilet,' it's having someone's hands in your private hairs so you can live in the world. It's a big booger of a deal. But it's the only game in town. And no matter how difficult, well worth it when you consider the alternatives."

Maybe we can finally start to heed Wade's words on this (see our stories that start on page 8). To see what else Wade says about this, get that anthology out. If you don't yet own one, there's information on the back cover of this magazine on how to order one. Do it today.

And if you're not yet a Charter Subscriber to this magazine, there's a form right here for you to become one (and it's cheap)! If you are a subscriber, think about renewing.

But do write to us. We want to hear from you.

About your subscription ...

"I renewed my subscription to The Rag in June, but I never got any issues."

"I have received your mailing asking me to become a Charter Subscriber. But I thought I had a lot of time to go on my subscription to The Rag. What gives?" OK, let us explain:

If you renewed your subscription to The Rag anytime last year, that subscription is being honored. We are extending everyone's subscription to account for the two issues that weren't published. If you have sent us money recently in response to the Charter Subscription drive and your subscription to The Rag still had time on it, we have extended your subscription to account for that. In short, everyone will all get the issues they ever paid for -- whether to The Rag or now, Ragged Edge. Hope this explanation helps!

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