Governor David Paterson was not amused by a skit on Saturday Night Live this weekend. In it, Fred Armison portrayed the blind Paterson as a bit of a bumbling idiot. After a sketch where he says stupid things, Armison continues to wander aimlessly around the set in front of the cameras.
A couple of things. First, the skit was mocking Paterson’s ability as Governor of New York. He has done plenty of stupid things in his life and being blind is not one of them. The biggest point was that Paterson was unprepared for the job and his behavior, not his disability, was the joke.
Next, they did show Paterson wandering aimlessly much in the same way they did when they mocked John McCain during the presidential debates. If anything could be construed as “mean” it was this bit. However, if you saw the skit, it was actually humorous.
Since Paterson did not actually see the skit, his being offended by it seems suspect. Either he only listened to the skit or others relayed their impression of it. While I don’t condone making fun of blind people, I hardly found the humor offensive. Kanye West? Now that was offensive.
The National Federation for the Blind also filed a complaint against NBC and requested an apology. Who knew that when you lose your sight you also lose the ability to laugh at yourself? I am also considering filing a complaint against NBC for the skit where Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph mock all New York women with preposterous accents. It insinuates that New Yorkers cannot be articulate or intelligent. And while that may be true, especially for Yankee fans, I don’t think it is funny and am outraged.
Supposedly, all blind people are owed an apology. Again, none of them saw it so my guess is that they wouldn’t know what the apology is for. If Paterson wants to play with the “big boys” in politics, he needs to be willing to take the punches that come with it. Complaining that he is being ridiculed due to his disability is ridiculous. It’s like saying Sarah Palin was ridiculed for her accent or perceived lack of intelligence. Oh wait, that’s not a good example.
Let’s face it, we all have some sort of “deficit” we must overcome. Even strikingly handsome and well built people like myself struggle. I never know if the ladies are after me for my looks, brains, incredible cash flow, or all of the above. However, it is a handicap I must live with.
If you want an example of mocking the condition of blind people, here is one. I used to have a friend that would “act” blind when we would go to bars out of town. (He carried a cane and wore tinted glasses). He did it for the pity factor and, in spite of its “lower than a worms belly” moral factor, it worked like a charm. He never broke character and scored virtually every time. I am not endorsing this behavior but, if you are really struggling with the ladies…
I am starting to think I should have run with a better crowd as a young man.