Monday, February 8, 2016

Super Bowl 50's National Anthem

Apropos our Monday blogs, we’ll keep it short today – also because many of you might be too full of pizza to read for too long today.

Speaking of pizza, the Super Bowl. Regardless of your allegiance, it’s nice for an NFL icon to get one more ring before it’s all over for him. Do you think he’ll retire? Feel free to respond to us on Twitter for your opinions.

For the deaf community, a familiar face was part of the National Anthem procession. Marlee Matlin, the recent Broadway star in Spring Awakening, interpreted Lady Gaga’s rendition of the National Anthem.

But there was something curious about Matlin’s interpretation – namely, that she was barely on screen, which sort of defeats the purpose of interpretation, doesn’t it?

It’s true that most deaf folks probably had closed captioning functions activated on their televisions during the Anthem. But still, Matlin’s abridged cameos made her interpretation seem far more PR than utilitarian.

People like to see such an esteemed member of deaf culture on such a prominent stage – certainly this is part of the draw. But the appearance of accessibility is in a few ways replacing the true fulfilling of the need. Sign language is almost universally perceived as a beautiful language in motion, but it’s also a language, one that many deaf folks rely entirely on in order to communicate.

So while we give kudos to the Super Bowl for continuing to acknowledge ADA compliance, and in some ways going beyond by providing a live interpreter for the anthem, we look forward to seeing our interpreters just adjacent to the spotlight for all to see. 


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