• Pardon my grammar errors here. I wrote in a hurry. Below is Alison Fargis’ response and my response to her.
    Alison Fargis · Vassar

    There are many books published that are basically lexicons of dirty words in other languages including Spanish, French, Korean, Italian, and, yes, even an existing title called DIRTY SIGN LANGUAGE, and none of them degrade the languages or cultures they include.
    Reply · Like · 15 minutes ago
  • Octavian · Works at Currently Unemployed

    And your point is, Alison? Those books are at least accurate. This is not. And we also have to examine who the authors/creators are and what they understand about the language and the cultural politics that surrounds the language. You are clearly not paying attention to the issues being raised. This is NOT about dirty language. This is about cultural appropriation, sexism/misogyny/racism, and a boatload of issues that others have gone to great lengths to explain. If you’re going to defend this, especially as the literary agent involved, it would be wise to take the time to read through all of this and undertake some education about what African-Americans, Native Americans, and other minority groups have said regarding cultural appropriation. This is mockery and exploitation.
    Reply · Like · 2 seconds ago
  • Octavian · Works at Currently Unemployed

    Alison Fargis Furthermore, your response shows that you know absolutely nothing about sign language, deaf people, or cultural issues. It is irresponsible, as an literary agent, to try to peddle a work without being at minimum aware of the potential fallout. Would you try to peddle a book written by a white man mocking black women and making caricatures out of black women? There’s a reason why that’s no longer acceptable- because African Americans and their allies have spent the last century or so fighting racism and we all know racism is not cool, not acceptable, and basically political suicide. At least when it’s overt. You know what this is called, Alison? AUDISM. ABLEISM. And one day, we will all realize it’s equally uncool, unacceptable, and political suicide. Especially when it’s as overt as this book/Henson is being. But because disabled people and deaf people’s struggles are more recent and because scholars have not given much thought to disability studies and the disabled experience, people can’t equate that to racism and sexism.
    Reply · Like · 2 seconds ago

Comments on: "Comment from Literary Agent Alison Fargis" (5)

  1. Much ado about nothing. Please. Kristen is entitled to do whatever she wants and as a culturally deaf person, I don’t see it as degrading to deaf people or their language. You guys need to pick your battles. FYI, those of you objecting to Kristin and her videos do NOT speak for all deaf cultured people. There are some who might be offended and then there are some who might not. Sorry, it’s not even an unanimous view, never was and never will be. The same reality applies to all controversies within the deaf cultured world. You all keep forgetting there are plenty of polarizing views among those whom are DEAF of DEAF. And, since it’s already polarizing, you can bet on that fact, it is, in the sum of deaf cultured folks, is even more polarizing.

    Online, small, same cliques of deaf folks seem to be more outspoken and more radical, but then again, there are many folks online that don’t say much because they know how things will be. In the real deaf world – out there in real life, I am seeing various polarization among deaf/hh cultural peeps. Translation: Many don’t see this as a critical issue.

    What is important is ensuring deaf/hh people have equal fair chance in getting JOBS, and to ensure that quality of eduction is there for all deaf/hh whether they attend deaf schools or mainstream. There are other important issues to fight for.

    Pick your battles.

    • I agree with you that we have many important battles to fight: including economic opportunities, improved quality of education for deaf children, equal access to citizenship, et al. But I believe it is important to resist cultural appropriation of ASL for profit like what Kristin is doing. If we do not do that, that means lost economic opportunities for deaf people. Because if we do not resist this, we cannot resist the avalanche that is bound to come. This also lends to the ghettoization and bastardization of ASL- which leads to the ghettoization of deaf education and language acquisition. They are all connected and that is our perspective.

      Where we are coming from is the idea of “there is no hierarchy of oppression.” I do not know if you have read or watched the discussion about oppression and privilege. But we are also standing up for people of color, women, deaf people of color and deaf women, not only ASL in understanding that this is about layered oppression. When mainstream (hearing) society understands that we are a population to be treated with respect and equality, we have greater voice and greater access to jobs, education, and the rights that comes with first-class citizenship.

      • How many books are out there on any given subject? LOTS So, anyone can set out to make profit any way they choose to. Not illegal. I’ve already responded, covering this area, on your other post.

        I still say pick your battles. Kristin is entitled to make profit off sign language via a book deal. She has every right to do these videos. She’s not looking down at deaf people (I am not seeing it coming off as such), you guys are taking it the wrong way.

        This is probably a good time for you to start making money off this controversy, get a book deal on dirty signing, we’ll see who’s books are taking off. I’m gonna root for you. Seriously.

  2. Anonymous said:

    Censorship, seriously? If we’re going down that road, just who in the Deaf community will be assigned to meting out censorship orders? You? Should there be a clearing house in the hearing community to censor boks written by Deaf people in the event they oppress a group of disenfranchised people?

    • Let’s look at what censorship is and is not. The first amendment is designed to protect free speech from coercive censorship. It is not intended to protect free speech against social judgment or social pressure. The U.S. Supreme Court has made decisions that demonstrates there are limits to free speech that does not constitute censorship. The Supreme Court has decisions that delineate the role of social acceptance and standards for limits on “bad speech.” Our response is a response to “bad speech” and a request that St. Martin’s Press recognize that this is “bad speech” because it perpetuates misogyny, racism, sexism, and cultural appropriation. We have a right to express our judgment against ideas that are seen as bad or harmful. That is our right under the first amendment and is not considered censorship. We are not suggesting a clearing house, we are not suggesting policy, we are not suggesting official, formal, governmental intervention. We are using social pressure (not censorship) to compel society at large to reconsider their position on supporting what we view as bad speech.

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