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Friday, May 14, 2010

Becoming a Social Butterfly

I am not the most social person in the world. When I mentioned this to my son he laughed out loud and said "Dad, you are not social, you are anti-social and don't like people". It was my turn to laugh and admit my son was correct. I do not like to socialize and do my best to avoid groups of people. I will also admit there are many people I meet and must interact with that I do not like. The reason I am "anti-social" in my son's estimation are personal a practical. I struggle to keep up in groups--my mind does not work fast enough to enjoy much less participate in conversations. It does not help that much of the conversation takes place about two feet above my head and I miss much of what is said. But truth be told, I much prefer the company of one or two other people. When invited to parties or conferences I routinely turn down such opportunities. This has me wondering why I am thinking about attending a large event. Here I refer to the Disability Power and Pride Gala Celebration to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the ADA to be held on July 26.

I had thought of having a small party on July 26 at my home. But virtually no one I know would appreciate the significance of the event. When I saw the announcement for the Disability Power and Pride Gala my first thought was that I would never go to such an event. This party is for rich and connected crippled people. It is held in Washington and surely must cost a fortune to attend. Afterall it is not a party but a gala. Galas are expensive. To confirm my prejudice I looked up how much tickets to the gala cost. Much to my chagrin they were $100 a seat. I figured the cost would be five to ten times higher. My next thought was that I could live with spending $100 for a ticket given the fact I would be surrounded by people that appreciate the significance of the ADA. What in the world is going on with me? Yes, $100 is a lot of money but not when compared to the cost of a ticket to a professional sporting event or show on Broadway in New York. I think spending $100 to attend a gala, not a party or celebration mind you, is reasonable. Thus I am impressed. The gala organizers are not looking to attract only rich crippled people as I mistakenly assumed. I also heard that the first Inaugural Ball held in 2009 was a big success. I spoke to a person that attended and saw clips of performances on You Tube. So, maybe I will go to the gala. Does this mean I am turning into a social butterfly? When I expressed this sentiment to my son he gave me a withering look of disdain only a teenager can deliver to a parent and said "Dad, for you becoming a social butterfly is just not going to happen--ever". Now those are fighting words. I think I may go just to shock my son.

12 comments:

Wheelchair Dancer said...

Unfortunately, I will be on tour at that point. I've always wanted to go to one of those things -- to see the, how did you put it, "rich and connected" disabled peeeps. I mean, we have a class/influence system and culture, too. Just who "are" *those* peoples.... Do I know any of them? Can I be one?

Misanthropically yours,

WCD

william Peace said...

WD, I have gone to all sorts of meetings and conferences pertaining to disability. The vast majority are not impressive. I am also always struck by the lack of people with disabilities at such events. Thus your comment has me wondering exactly who is a disability big shot or a rich and connected cripple? I can think of a few academics but they are hardly rich nor connected. The deceased Christopher Reeve had fame and money but was despised by most in the disability rights community. I am not sure who falls into the rich and connected group but it surely must be very small.

Becs said...

Still counting on you for 10/10/10.

建霖 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Wheelchair Dancer said...

I guess it would be about defining "bigshot" and "connected."

I know the hotshot senior and junior ds scholars (we know many of the same peeps, but you wouldn't have heard of me), so I definitely have an academe list.

I know some really powerful, all wow activists, many of whom live, work, and travel in policy, wonky circles, but they are activists rather than glossy washington peeps -- though many of them attended the Obama fest ball.

I know academics who are trying to cross over, either via the public rockstar intellectual format or the ethics/genome/biotech route. I know people in the "movement" and I know the people who are my friends.

Some are more wealthy than others, some more connected. I'd have to say that the wealthiest living disabled person I know of (rather than know) is the hustler guy (eeeuw. sigh). The activists are the most connected people I know. And that is a network I would value above any financial number.

I'm curious about your lists and who would be on them.

(sigh -- gossip)

WCD

william Peace said...

WD, The definition of "big shot", "connected" and "wealthy" is key to this discussion. For me, "big shots" are the activists, people on the front lines that really force change, the "connected" are academics and policy wonks, and the "wealthy", well, simply rich. Fitting people into these groups sure would be fun--an activity best done with a beer in hand

FridaWrites said...

You should go! The discussions might lead to some good ideas or material for some articles (or for your blog, I say greedily).

I'm struck by the mention that ds scholars aren't (mostly) disabled. I haven't attended the ds conferences, though I know a couple of scholars (one is disabled, not sure about the other). Do some have parents or children who are disabled? Are some invisibly disabled? Do they work in health care, which may not teach the most empathy? (I can see my daughter showing ardent activist leanings. Amazingly, she thinks Mama's right about most things. I'm not even sure I'm right about most things. Trying to direct her to a paying career, not after me.)

In short, someone should do a survey! I'm not sure everyone has to be disabled in this field--one wonderful ethnic studies teacher is not, and I've known one man who's taught gender studies. But I think we need to be significantly represented! Nothing about us without us...

william Peace said...

Frida, Many disability studies scholars do not have a disability. I do not think the lack of a disability precludes a scholar from specializing in disability studies or becoming a strong advocate. However, I find it disheartening scholars with a disability that are employed on university campuses are rare beings. In fact every year I ask my students on the last day of class if they have ever had a paralyzed professor. In 15 years not a single student has answered yes. This is a significant problem. The point is I agree we people with a disability need to be significantly represented, nothing about us without us, to coin the activist phrase. To date, this does not take place in academic in general. In disability studies I am not sure of the numbers. A survey would be of interest. Just don't ask me to do it! Sounds to me like a great project for a graduate student.

Liz said...

I have a good time going to things with someone I know well or want to know. Then the party is mostly atmosphere!

Also, to me, you are WCD are big shots - because you're fabulous writers. ;-)

- liz
http://liz-henry.blogspot.com

Liz said...

I meant, you and WCD.

Liz said...

And Frida 8-)

william Peace said...

Liz, I find it hard to fathom how I can be considered a big shot. A pain in the ass yes, big shot no. Regardless, I appreciate the kind words and enjoy your writing as well.