David Paterson, the governor of New York who is blind, appeared on Saturday Night Live to rebut jokes about his disability and offer a few lines of his own. Huffington Post covered the story, saying Paterson appeared on set next to Fred Armisen (who plays the role of the governor), and said he has “a good sense of humor but jokes about the disabled are ‘sophomoric and stupid.’”
Agreed, they are. But most of SNL’s jokes are pretty stupid, and making fun of Paterson for being blind is kind of a non-starter. The guy is blind and governs the state of New York. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, Paterson has risen above his disability and went onto live T.V. to tell everyone that people with disabilities can and do lead every day. That’s a message we need to continue to spread, even if it takes a few dumb SNL jokes to get the ball rolling.
By the way, for those who are deaf and hearing impaired watching this video, it’s not closed captioned — yet. Soon a law will (likely) be put in place that will require any programming that has appeared on T.V. to be captioned when re-broadcast over the web. It’s called the 21st Century Communications & Video Accessibility Act; it has been passed by the Senate and is expected to be passed in the House soon. You can read more about the bill’s progress at The National Association for the Deaf and Caption Action 2.