Saturday, January 2, 2016

We the Weaklings

Ah but always remember one thing all ye weak and downtrodden cripples and all ye uncrippled citizens who have nevertheless been rendered as weak as cripples (in the political sense). When ye are feeling irrevocably squashed down and powerless, take heart. Remind yourself that we still have shame on our side.

Therein lays the great power of weakness.

Consider the following fable as a political metaphor, if you will: An intersection. A pedestrian and an automobile arrive at the same time. Both stop. An awkward pause ensues. Who wins the standoff? On paper it’s no contest. Man versus car? Ha! The Vegas oddsmakers would put it at about 100,000 to 1. A big old car will flatten a scrawny little pedestrian pretty much every time. But it’s not all about brute force. When you factor in shame, it’s a whole new ballgame. Thus, brute force yields and the pedestrian wins the standoff and proceeds across the street unscathed. Why? Shame. That’s what keeps the driver from just running over the pedestrian. Shame. Well actually, what keeps the driver from just running over the pedestrian is the fact that he/she will probably spend a good while in prison if they do. But why are there such laws in the first place? Shame. If you assert your brute force to run over pedestrians with your car just because you can, you’re an asshole. You’re an asshole to a criminal degree.

Or how about that Tiananmen Square guy, the one who stood in front of the tank? The oddsmakers would probably go about a zillion to one there because that one was man versus tank for God’s sake! But the man won that round at least, thanks again to shame. The tank driver stopped because the greater the power imbalance, the higher the shame factor. If you assert your brute force to run over a pedestrian with your tank, you’re really really really an asshole, even in China.

There is great strength in weakness. So when we the weaklings get together an sit down in the streets in protest and stop traffic, we harness the power of shame. Or when we sit down in the rotundas. The weaklings are in control. This is especially true when cripples get together and sit down in the streets because cripples are the symbol of weakness. And anybody who runs over a bunch of cripples with their car will redefine what it means to be an asshole. All future acts of assholishness will be measured against that one.

Put brute force on notice, dear political weaklings, that we are all packing the potent weapon of shame. And we’re not afraid to use it.

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  1. "A car and an automobile arrive at the same time."

    I blame myself, for letting you think you caught that fish at Lion's Camp.

  2. Hey there, my names Matt and I'm a first year pre-service teacher attending classes at Saint Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. I've read a couple of your blog posts (I agree with you on Beyonce's fragrance) and I must say I love your saracstic, down to earth perspectives. One of my course's here at school involves the topic of Inclusive Education, being that persepctives and experiences of ALL students are heard and accounted for within the classroom. We've begun to dive into the topic of disabilities and I was wondering if you could share your experience of schooling in your signature style. Would it be possible for you to comment on a positive and negative experience you had within your schooling? Is there anything that could have made life easier for you within not only the school, but within the classroom? As you mention in this post, shame is a powerful weapon that allows people to stop and reflect on their attitudes towards certain things and there is no doubt that many educators feel shame due to not being inclusive enough in their classrooms. If you have the time to do this I would most appreciate it, as it will undoubtedly help me grow as an educator. I only wish for my students to have pride and be respectful of all indivduals and I will do my damnedess to instill this within my students. Thank you so much for your time!

  3. This post about shame and the power of weakness spoke volumes to me. I constantly feel a personal connection to shame. As conflicting as it is to accept, I am a white-privileged male, with a presumed greater social status and the freedom to speak, work and play. It haunts me at night thinking I have been unjustly gifted with such a social status since my birth- and for that, I feel great humility and shame. I admire others who had to work for their social status; I look up to the minorities who fought for years and years to get citizenship in a country they were treated as foreigners. And for those who are labeled as crippled or weak, I don't necessarily sympathize for them, but rather, I admire them. Their mental strength knows no bounds. The power of heart is much stronger than any muscle or bone in the human body. "Cripples" aren't the symbol of weakness, they are the symbol of strength. They are fighters. The noble, legally accepted kind!

  4. Dear Smart Ass Cripple,

    My name is Alicia Silliker, and I am currently an Education student at StFX Unversity in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. We are completely a Disability Centres Assignment for our Inclusion class, and your blog was one of the centres to choose from. I had never previously heard of your blog, but I am very glad that I chose to check it out through the options available in this assignment.

    In each post, I find myself getting angrier and angrier about the reality in which those with physical and mental challenges face in our society today. This post especially struck a nerve in me, because these are things that I myself would never think of or experience. I honestly have never truly taken the time to put myself into the life of someone with a physical challenge in our society today. Since reading your posts, I have come to realize the many everyday things that us “able” people take for granted, especially here on my own university campus. Whether it be not having to go to the opposite side of a building to get ramp or elevator access, not having to worry about the university FM workers being a little late on clearing pathways from snow (because even with heavy snow, I can still get myself where I need to go), and using any bathroom that is there without worrying about it being wheel-chair accessible (to name a few).

    I also appreciate the fact that in this post, you focus on something that as Canadians we get made fun of for constantly (saying ‘sorry’ for things in which we should not need to). For those with physical challenges, needing assistance to get into a building is something that should never require an apology, as honestly our society should not make these situations possible anyway. If the building were more accessible in general, this would have never happened; therefore you are not responsible and should not need to apologize.
    Anyway, I could rant forever, but I appreciate the awareness, yet comedy that you are bringing to this topic, and I will definitely be continuing to follow your blog following this assignment. If you ever have any advice for us pre-service teachers, it would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks, Alicia