Ok, it’s clear that you and I are going to disagree fundamentally on a number of points here.Rather than pulling the old trick of “clarifying what I meant”, thereby shifting the ground, let me respond to you point by point.
Your first response seems to be saying, at some length, correct me if I’m wrong:
- You accept there are a number of “acceptable” NMF’s that the “translator” could have used.
- The “translator” chose one they personally wanted to/was within their natural range
- As such, people who are laughing at this “translator” are laughing at him personally
- If I say that they are not laughing it at him personally, I should explain what they are laughing at
- It cannot be that it is not a personal attack, and not an mockery of Deaf people either
Ok. Firstly, there are indeed a number of “acceptable” ways he could have signed it, which is exactly what I said, as you acknowledged. Except, and this is where I think your lack of knowledge regarding the way that the Society approaches translation, shows itself.
The person you see on the video is NOT the translator, generally. He is a presenter. He is filming from a visual prompt, prefilmed by the translation team. He has VERY LITTLE CHOICE regarding what NMF to sign – it has been CHOSEN for him, after an extensive field-testing with a group of JW Deaf. If you think that any translation team, after months of hard work, is going to let a presenter come in and make his own choices about what to sign, you obviously have little experience of way the Society works on these things. The NMF is specifically chosen, when discussing “sensitive subjects” such as masturbation, by the translation team. They follow principles laid down in the GMBT manual, for all translation teams. The presenter does NOT get to change the NMF – he does what he is told, and Is monitored during filming by a proofreader and a checker. The question is, why did the translation team ask him to sign it like that? Why did they choose to convey it in a certain way? I can sign, as can many other interpreters and professionals, the exact same information, in a far less visually-rich manner. They made a choice.
Since the presenter did what he was told, if people are laughing at the “way he signs”, they are laughing in actual fact at what is signed, since most people are not subtle enough to know that there is a difference. They are laughing at his facial expression, and the fact that he uses a visual sign that means “to masturbate”. And? Deaf people laugh at that sign all the time, particularly when it is used by people they think shouldn’t be using it. Are hearing people not permitted to laugh at it, without you accusing them of being “discriminatory”? Deaf people use it pejoratively, just as hearing people do. It is indeed “taboo” within general conversation, with people you don’t know. But it can be used, under certain circumstances, as is the case with hearing people. The point is, the sign is considered rude, pejorative, or funny as a matter of course within the deaf community, and people laugh at it. So why shouldn’t hearing people? What gives you the right to call people on this board out, as "mocking" the deaf?
This is the real crux of the matter – you are equating people laughing at the sign, as a personal attack on the signer, or mockery of the deaf. You are making the claim. YOU PROVE IT. The burden of proof is on you, not me. So I repeat: you have no right to make that assumption of the posters here. I agree, I don’t think people are laughing at the WT when they do laugh. But that does not mean they are mocking and discriminating against the deaf, and you know it.
Your second response is interesting, because you again avoid my point. You said “this approach o exploiting a video….to get a cheap laugh.” Again, I ask you – where is your proof that this is the purpose for which it was shared? Where is your proof that Cedars, or whoever you keep referring to, is so low as to want to poke fun at deaf people? I see no proof – just a lot of hot air, and empty accusations. You are engaging in personal attacks, not them. Show me some proof, KS. Otherwise, I repeat – you are simply throwing statements out there, with no evidence to back it up.
In a way, the third point is irrelevant. That does not prove that the OP intended the video as a mockery of deaf people. Your over-sensitive nature confuses the issue.
The fourth point is remarkable only for its baseless assumption. According to you, I “cannot appreciate [the] fact” that there should be “tolerance of those who are different.” I presume that this is based on……well, you tell me. What, exactly, is this based on, pray tell?
You then say something that, KS, with all due respect, is frankly stupid. According to you, I fell I am “entitled to speak on behalf of ALL deaf”. Now that is ridiculous. Because that is PRECISELY what I am not doing. Your “how dare you patronise deaf people” rant at Cedars is where you presume to speak for all those “poor deaf souls”. They don’t need you, me, or anyone else. Which leads me to your fifth point, where you just grab a word out of JWFACTS post, namely “anyone”, and respond to that, without addressing the point that I made. Respond to me, KS. I say it again – you are being offended on behalf of “the deaf”, when you know that they are not a homogenous community. Frankly, I said it then, and I’ll say it again. Your attitude, not Cedars, not any of the other posters, is what is patronising and offensive, as I found your little story of the bullied boy, and the presumed link you feel it has to the “deaf”. Don’t mistake me, I appreciate your sincerity – but in your rush to defend the “dignity” of the deaf, you make the all-too-common mistake of deciding that they “must be offended”, as so often do those who presume to speak on the “behalf” of ethnic minorities, of which I am also one.
The sixth response is interesting. You think I am using a strawman, although you do me the courtesy of implying later that you believe this to be an unintentional error on my part. It is not a strawman. You are a Berkely graduate, from what you say, so let me speak as one specialist to another. You know full well that your definitions as a professional, differ from that of a layman. I won’t presume to infer Bluepill’s meaning, I leave that to you. But I will tell you, that as a professional, people in my field do indeed refer to many deaf people as “illiterate” as in “unable to read.” And here, as one professional to another, I quote part of Mayberry’s seminal piece in my field: “The median reading level of the deaf, high school population does not reach the level required for a person to be considered literate (i.e., the 6th to 8th grade level and beyond). Indeed, the median reading levels of the deaf student population have not changed much over the past century (Chamberlain and Mayberry, 2000). This discouraging, but often replicated, finding….” (Mayberry 2002:72) I invite you read the rest of that chapter, which I attach for you: http://idiom.ucsd.edu/~rmayberry/pubs/Mayberry-CogDev-Hndbok.pdf She points to only 50% of deaf students being over that level, and recent research by Powers goes as high as 70% being “illiterate”, hence my use of that stat in my original post. I don’t use strawmen, KS.
I ask your forbearance on point seven about the taboo sign, I don’t understand your point at all.
As for point 8, regarding Lady Lee.. You say that I used a strawman, saying that “LL does not believe that deaf people need to read English”. Bollocks. Let me quote what I ACTUALLY said. “ You use LadyLee, JGNat and others. Let me put this as clearly as I can. Lady Lee is WRONG. And she is WELCOME to send me a message and her evidence that proves to me that 45 years of research into the subject is INCORRECT. Deaf people, in general, are UNABLE TO READ ENGLISH TO A LEVEL THAT ENABLES THEM TO FUNCTION WITH THE SAME EFFECTIVENESS AS HEARING PEOPLE.” I said, very clearly that LadyLee is wrong to simply say that “Deaf people can read English.” That’s all I said. Nothing else.
Let me reiterate it, to make it even CLEARER. You used Lady Lee as a reference regarding the “stereotype” of “hearing-impaired people” being illiterate apparently thrown out by BluePill. I made a clear point, I thought. I read the link you hotlinked on your post. Lady Lee points out that Deaf people can read English, and later seems to infer that it is harder but not impossible. I and most other researchers disagree. She says: “Just because you can't hear how a word sounds doesn't mean you can't recognize what it means if you see it written down.” I respect LadyLee, and I am uncomfortable disagreeing with her without her knowing, so I hope she is reading this. Her statement is simply not backed up by the research, as Dr Maired Macsweeny’s work at DCAL, as well as the work of other cognitive scientists, and the work of Stephen Powers and Chamberlain demonstrates. Most deaf CANNOT read to a skilled level, for very simple reason that they cannot map the auditory signal to its orthographic representation. It doesn’t matter how HARD they try. It’s not a matter of Deaf people needing to read, or even that some manage to do so, after a number of years. My point regarding LadyLee was that as she is NOT a professional in this field, I can understand why she thinks the way she does, nevertheless she is wrong. Again, like I said, you used that point to back up your statements to BluePill. But you do not know what you are talking about.
Now, your final points, which is also linked to Jpicard, and Jgnat. Firstly, I re-read that link to “page 8”. I cannot see where Jpicard states that Bethel uses “deaf” translators. He says that “In service, these congregations seek out only the Deaf and present these videos on DVD.” That is nearest I can find. Also, his claim that the Society know about “deaf culture” is laughable. Do they care about the “culture” of other groups, racial or otherwise, within the Society? Believe me, from *POLICY* experience, they don’t give a short, sharp, sh*t about “deaf culture”. Either way, yes, for your information, I DO know many of the ASL team, as well as the Russian Sign Language Team, as it was anyway, before it’s relocation. The head of the ASL team was a hearing child of a deaf parent, and for propriety’s sake, I won’t mention his name, but interested parties can pm me regarding him, the ASL team, and so on. The fact is, that only deaf presenters are used, NOT translators, except in rare cases. There are very FEW deaf indivduals used by Bethel, and there are very good reasons. In fact, most translation teams don’t even have deaf team members. Llamacool – I never claimed that deaf people work at Patterson, I said that actually, that is not the general case, just as it is not in the UK.
So, KS, I think it is clear. You said that it was clear that people can disagree on this, and I certainly agree with you on that. My objections to your points remain. No matter how sincere, I see a person who, in this debate, uses facts *exceptionally* loosely, and exhibits an oversensitive, paternalistic, and frankly offensive attitude, to attack other members of the board. I don’t know you, and for all I know, you are a perfectly pleasant individual with reasoned arguments. But, as far as I am concerned, what you have said about some of the posters on this board is reactionary, and over the top. I have no vested interest in “defending” Cedars, or anyone else - I rarely even post, having a rich and time-consuming academic field to work in - and as I said, I find that I, as a “native” member of the Deaf community, do not need you to “defend” me from the “offensive” attacks of others, as a self-proclamied "defender of the vulnerable".