Sound and Fury

Film Clip 

Sound and Fury

Militant organizations of all types frequent the political scene, generally engendering much debate on university campuses and the talk-radio airwaves, but how many know about militant deaf people? Apparently there are quite a lot of them, and they seem to dislike the idea that technology is rapidly progressing to a point where deafness can be cured, thereby driving "deaf culture" (a nebulous concept, the entirety of which appears to begin and end with sign language) into extinction.

In the case of Josh Aronson's documentary, most of which takes place, ironically, on Long Island Sound, the focus is on the latest cochlear implant, a device that can enable children who are born deaf to hear but only works if the implantation is done while language skills are still developing. There don't seem to be any risks or adverse side effects, but judging from the reaction of the deaf community, and especially the deaf parents of the young girl Aronson primarily focuses on, you'd think the cochlear implant was homosexual "reparative" therapy being offered by fundamentalist Bible-thumpers.

Let's see: From the medical perspective, the girl would be able to hear, and talk on the phone, and have normal conversations with the average Joe. On the other hand, if she remains deaf, she gets to speak in sign language! Or maybe that's just the bigoted perspective of a hearing person. There's certainly nothing less worthy about a deaf person, but to say there's nothing wrong with them (ummm ... their ears don't work?) seems a stretch. The film's tagline exclaims that "the choice is not so simple," but from the perspective of this reviewer, and most likely many of the film's viewers, it doesn't seem like that tough a call.

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