Wednesday, August 31, 2011

NCIS and the ADA, plus another doctor visit

With a few days of trying to get a system going. Ten days of a stable routine is what Linda and I have worked toward for over a week. We’ve gotten as high as three days. I might have eaten five meals in the last three days. I’m just not awake enough, and when I am, most of time…I am distressed.

I see the doctor tomorrow/today about my stay at the palliative respite. My bloodwork came back and beyond the anemia one test stood out, going three times the maximum. That result is an indication of A.A.N. thanks to a medical article found by Cheryl. So perhaps at last my GP will have the name and results he needs and give the nod for what he sent in a request for in the first place: a place where I can get counseling and a week’s respite with workers who are used to complex end life complications. Will wait and see. (hate that).

I’ve been watching some DVD sets, which helped with the physical pain. Overall, in watching, I am saddened to watch diversity and disability wiped out of the media. In season three Sheldon moves away from ausberger’s and toward the ‘geek’ factor, both in his back story and his weekly displays of passion. Even his love of his ‘seat’ is shown and explained as a form of greed: believing he deserves the best as he is superior to others. It was too bad as the show is now ‘Friends’ where no one seems to work and all must return to status quo. That’s not neurological diversity, that just a writer’s pool.

Of course that didn’t stop Linda from laughing hysterically behind her hands when I had to pause the show to explain the discrepancies, and the ‘dumbing down’ of the math/science to the point that it become inaccurate. It appears that she is fine to continue life without precision.

NCIS, while Abby is fun (there is an Abby T-shirt at Hot Topic) has a pretty horrific reputation for diversity. Gibbs walking up and shooting a trans person (in the middle of the forehead) for being trans at the ending of on episode gives you an idea of how the LGBT fare. There are gay military personnel driven out of the service or shown to be a shame. But suddenly, after eight years of this, Gibbs seems to care (I guess all that woodwork in his basement gave him some tolerance) and after pressure from above continues to label one case death by gay-beating.

Service personnel and others with physical and mental disabilities fare badly in the show. This surprised me because in Iraq and the other US conflicts in the REAL world, the increase of armor has the official counts of 20 people wounded to 1 killed. That is tens of thousands of disabled service personnel not including those with PTSD or other mental disabilities (though a fairly famous study showed up to 50% of those who were serving after a year had serious mental issues that needed addressing, like psychotic breaks). Back in 2011 NCIS, In episode three, a bomb expert Dempsey goes after a gang banger who had been arrested, served and made a deal, finally released to a farm. This person was the one who hit her brother (who is so much the ultimate victim/saint that they don’t list his job but that he ‘worked in a soup kitchen’ for the poor).

When they find Demsey, she has had the guy with a mercury switch bomb on his lap (if the mercury hits the end, it goes boom) and tied arms.
Dempsey (smiles) : Yeah, I wanted him to suffer. To feel a little bit of what my brother feels every day. Stuck in a chair. Constant Pain. Unable to do the simplest things without help. At the mercy of others.

She doesn’t get charged, as Gibbs puts it, “She’s a hero as far as I’m concerned.”
This, they think, is being ‘nice’ to us. Hey, they actually made others suffer so people can understand how we aren't full human being. Gee, thanks, except we meet the guy in rehab, and he has full arm use, hand use and, indeed, can cross his arms and gesture: if he was portrayed more realistically, would be in a manual but they put him in an electric to increase the ‘helpless’ image (a post soonab out why the wheelchair shown in media matters…as much as showing the persons’ face). If he wanted to go work a soup kitchen, they would welcome him.

So the NCIS interpretation of the American Disabilities Act is that we are ‘Stuck in a chair’ and ‘at the mercy of others’, an 'other' needing to be rescued, but not interacted with – not exactly the equality of individuals. Indeed in a later episode Abby is threatened with mental disability or ‘madness!’ (as in, “That way madness lies!”). A poisoned brilliant young chemist is denigrated for having Bipolar early onset, her OCD routine and anxiety makes the team worried when Abby identifies with her. Because you don’t want to identify with madness, and is given several ‘interventions’ to stop her until Gibbs steps in to tell her to ignore the person, work the evidence.

We see both acceptance and a parallel when Abby finds K., which is a professor who she confided in and who saw her as a person, and would read Leaves of Grass with her, accepting her as she was, but also exploring how she was changing and growing. Everyone else is threatened into avoid the danger of looking too close to her as a person, for there does madness lie.

So could NCIS change for those who need accommodation for disabilities? No, they tend to go by the ‘one odd ball’ rule which both TV and corporations go by. Gibbs so far as to tell Abby she is the ‘mascot’ in the same way a dog is a mascot for Coast Guard ships. The next episode Agent Gibbs gives Abby a massage for several minutes on her leg and thigh for a muscle spasm. But in the same way he wouldn’t hire someone with MS. The biologist who died earlier was called ‘crazy’ by all members many times. But then, Abi has been the double standard for sexist behavior since the start of the show. While it was nice to see some of my clothes (she has the blue top with wings too) as much as I love her taste, the Giibbs/Abi relationship is way too hands on. Abi is always the victim/vulnerable yet brilliant cliché, which doesn’t stop me from finding her the best part of the show. But NCIS gets a FAILURE as being ADA compliant, as do the writers. Eight years to accept one dead gay guy? So, what, if we get to series 15 there might be someone with a disability?

I ended up re-watching Law and Order Criminal Mind season two so I could see Goren, whose OCD, and mother with known mental illness, who himself struggles to keep within the limits of what can be understood by others. Luckily he has a partner to help him express his mental diversity and help him stop also.

I’m off to sleep for the doctors. If you know a good series that accepts disabilities, let me know. Also one a little more….well in NCIS everyone up to the director and CIA director threatens people, while the one character who simply shoots people (Mike) is retired. I think of Life, written by one person who had not only mental diversity but a cop who simply did. He didn’t say with his breast all puffed out, “If HE doesn’t get you then I will!” He just survived, and broke a trachea without warning. Perhaps that is why it got cancelled.

10 comments:

Sue said...

I was under the impression that NCIS is more of a mainstream television series, so I'm not surprised that it lacks imagination in presenting the diversity of "differently-abled" people. Also, if the NCIS producers are trying to be true-to-real-life, they probably do a good job of portraying ADA-noncompliance, which is more widespread than one might wish.

Christianne said...

Abby is the only reason I ever watch NCIS, although I am a huge fan of Kirsten Vangness from "Criminal Minds" (both the character she plays and her, personally, for being an out actress in Hollywood and just for being so darn cool). On Criminal Minds, the character of Spencer Reed has always struck me as being slightly Aspergian--brilliant, but has trouble picking up on social cues, sometimes, and seems a bit standoffish, physically. Also, Fringe (which has gotten SO out there that I'm not able to figure out what the hell is happening) has the excellent Walter Bishop character, who exhibits similar behavior. Two characters hardly constitute a trend, I know, but at least there are some generally-positive representations of neuro-diversity out there.

Tina Russell said...

Ugh, that’s depressing. I’d seen a few ads for NCIS, that’s all... I’m assuming Abby is the one with the ponytails? Part of the reason I’ve avoided the show is that anytime I saw Abby in an ad I suddenly wanted to masturbate, she had such a grip on me. It was like I started to question my own reality. So, I had a feeling seeing her in a boring police procedural would sort of ruin her for me.

But man, knowing that she’s shamed and resented for empathizing with people with disabilities... and knowing that a main character shoots a trans woman and she’s remembered only as a gross “thing” of some sort and not even a person, much less a woman... and all those other problems you mentioned...

I’m sad, now! I want to go back to my fantasy world, where NCIS is really a show all about Abby where she comes to my house and makes hot, sticky, sweet love to me. I’d like that...

Kate J said...

Been racking my brains to come up with a positive portrayal in mainstream tv drama etc of anyone with a disability... and failed, I'm afraid.

There is a BBC detective show called New Tricks, which I quite like, about a bunch of retired cops who re-examine 'cold cases'. One of them, Brian, played by Alun Armstrong, definitely has mental health issues (OCD) and is also an alcoholic. Although the other cops - and his wife - make some affectionate fun of him, he is shown as very bright, the IT brains of the team, and an all round good guy - not a tortured loner but a married guy with friends. Not quite the sort of example you're looking for, I guess, and the series might well not appeal to you, but it's the best I can come up with.

I hope the respite/palliative thing is right for you and helps with your pain relief and other medical issues.

Love & peace

SharonMV said...

Hi Beth,
There is a new show, Alphas, on Sci-Fi (or SyFy as it's called now).The Alphas are people who have unique abilities. They work for as a team invetigating crimes involving other Alphas.s psychiatrist who works with them considers them neurologically different, showing evidence of this trough brain MRIs. One member of the team is autistic. He also has the ability to see & "read' all the signals from cell phones, computers, video signals like those from traffic cameras & security cameras. The actor and the writers seem to be doing a good job so far in the portrayal of this character.

Good luck with your doctor & the respite care. I hope you & Linda have/will investigate the type/quality of care provided, and get a detailed account of what care will be given in writing.

Sharon

Neil said...

I hope the respite week is approved and works for you.

I've never seen NCIS or Criminal Minds; I simply don't watch television, other than the odd episode of Doctor Who (don't like the latest doctor or the series at the moment), and Torchwood (too violent for me, but if Eve Miles is reading the telephone directory to me as I die, I'll go happy).

There was a show called MythQuest that was aimed at young people; it featured two siblings, one of whom used a wheelchair. The character had had a skiing accident, and for a while, her physiotherapist had a hard time getting her to exercise enough. The show's premise was that the father of the two teens was an archeologist who found a stone that transported him into alternate realities: myths. The siblings went into various myths to find him,and when the girl found that, in a myth, she could walk again, she got very enthusiastic about exercising in the real world.

The show lasted one season, of course, because it was relatively intelligent. There are a few clips of it on youtube.

Other than that, I'm no help at all if you're looking for TV shows...

Going back to the previous post, I apologize for calling your smile manic; there's a light in your eyes, though, that makes the photo wonderful.

Love and zen hugs,
Neil

Elizabeth McClung said...

Sue: Yes, it seemed that for a while some of the splinter mainstream were taking risks, but then went back to type. I simply am frustrated that not killing gays and 'avoid the person with the disability' is what is considered progress.

Christianne: Same, that and the hopes of watching David (female) kick someone's ass - there is one episode where she did quite a bit of tas-na-gal (sic), the Isreali mixed martial arts, which a friend did a lot of, that was fun to watch, even if she did avoid death strikes.

I like Criminal minds as well, and wondered about Spencer Reed (but also wondered how both Spencer and Abby ever got past the hiring board - think they liked Demonia shoes?)

Walter IS neuro different if only that he took parts of his own brain out. I still like Goren in Criminal Minds, have you seen him? He talks even more like that in interviews, highly intellegent and struggling to connect.

Tina: Uh..well NCIS is on sale for back seasons so I suggest four I think where she has demonia backpacks and a coffin for a bed.

Kate J: Yes, I have all the new tricks, or watched them with Linda, we are waiting to watch series 6 now.

Sharon: Thanks, I will look at the Autism boards for the review of Alpha's. I think I remember one older show where a investigator had severe OCD. I think that is why I like the Bhuddist investigator in LIFE (who has a house with NO funiture and drives around going, "I am not attached to this car" - and has an obsession with fruit.

Neil: Mythquest - I will look for that, I rmember the Canadian show, Danger Bay had a girl who was mute didn't it?

Actually I liked what you said about the picture because it was interesting and true also - at the time I was excited and just looking at the world, it was both Naive but also intense, part of some of the photo self portraits I tried to take - that was 4.5 years ago. Definately during the time when I was getting looked at anyway so I was taking the world on.

Baba Yaga said...

Sheesh, and I had thought the anaemia was being treated? Silly of me, I realise.

The "one oddball rule" rings horribly true. (I don't even have television, and it still does. How does this stuff seep into our bones?) The real progress would be to have actual disabled people doing normal things in the background: someone in a wheelchair holding a door for someone with his hands full of those bustling important files TV dramas seem to use as excuses to set up confrontations, a person with a cane crossing the road behind the main action. Just *there*, being people, and not required to be oddballs or characters, or Disabled as their primary attribute.

It's actually a real marker of perceived difference, that minor characters are never disabled. Disability is something which marks out the major characters.

Lorna, Bob and Liam said...

The show about the investigator with severe OCD is an American show called "Monk,", ran from 2002 - 2009, I think. I've only seen the first season. While a fair amount of the humour in the show was around his OCD, most of the time it portrayed his disability in a compassionate and respectful way.

librarian.mobile said...

Bones. The character Bones is definitely on the far side of the autism spectrum, and my autie girlfriend and I adore the show. It’s not perfect by any measure, but it features a lot of different characters with real life stuff going on, and it treats them all lovingly. It don’t treat anyone, disabled or not, gently, but it loves them all the same. Booth is a Catholic former sniper who has a child with former girlfriend. Most recently, a pair of married characters had to deal with the possibility that their child would be blind. They didn’t deal with it perfectly, but they dealt with it respectfully and realistically. It’s wonderful. It gives me hope. Also, Xena. Because…it’s the best expression of lesbian love I’ve ever seen, on par with V for Vendetta. My girl and I are thinking of using some of the lines for our wedding vows.