“The National Federation of the Blind condemns and deplores this film, which will do substantial harm to the blind of America and the world. Blind people in this film are portrayed as incompetent, filthy, vicious, and depraved. They are unable to do even the simplest things like dressing, bathing, and finding the bathroom. The truth is that blind people regularly do all of the same things that sighted people do. Blind people are a cross-section of society, and as such we represent the broad range of human capacities and characteristics. We are not helpless children or immoral, degenerate monsters; we are teachers, lawyers, mechanics, plumbers, computer programmers, and social workers. ... Portraying the blind on movie screens across America as little better than animals will reinforce the unfounded fears, misconceptions, and stereotypes in the general public about blindness. It will exacerbate the unemployment rate among the blind, which is already higher than 70 percent because of public misconceptions about the capabilities of blind people. It will reinforce false public notions that blind children are ineducable, that blind adults are unemployable, and that all blind people are socially undesirable.What are they talking about? Haven't Al Pacino, Jamie Foxx and Patty Duke all won Oscars playing blind characters? People love these guys! Still, director Fernando Meirelles was unavailable for comment this morning, but Miramax — which has had problems with the film since before it was seemingly the 87th choice to open this year's Cannes Film Festival — has since issued a statement insisting that he "worked diligently to preserve the intent and resonance of the acclaimed book." The NFB is moving ahead anyway with protests in at least 21 states and "dozens of participants" wherever possible, setting up an awkward showdown between authorities urging protesters to observe the police perimeter around theaters and seeing-eye dogs slyly trained not to stop before leading their masters to the box office. If you think it's ugly now, just wait.
You really can't make this stuff up: If it's not the developmentally disabled failing to grasp the point of Tropic Thunder's "full-retard" satire, then it's the blind protesting a movie they can't even see. Or so says the president of the National Federation of the Blind, who sat in on a recent screening of the Julianne Moore/Mark Ruffalo film Blindness with a few sighted allies, only to emerge outraged over the depiction of townspeople reduced to madness and violence when struck by a blindness epidemic. Based on Nobel laureate Jose Saramago's novel, the film actually reflects the author's metaphor of sudden, corrupted social order; little did Saramago know he was actually composing the Simple Jack of modern literary allegories. We mean it! Take back his Nobel Prize! And boycott Blindness, while you're at it; that's the least you could do for a guy with grievances (after the jump) like NFB boss Marc Maurer's: