Sunday, April 17, 2005

One of my BIG pet peeves about being deaf

I just finished watching Pearl Harbor which I found to be a really great movie. However, when checking out the bonus material on the disk and the making of the movie I found yet again that the dang director CHOSE to EXCLUDE the deaf and hard of hearing. This did not surprise me much as many of the big movies have done the same and left out the closed captioning for the directors commentaries, interviews with actors, making of the movie, and other such material. I was surprised however that although they did not spend the money to subtitle it in English, they DID pay for it to be subtitled in SPANISH! WHAT IS UP WITH THAT????????????!!!!!

Now don't misinterpret me. I have nothing against spanish speaking people or the Hispanic community here in America or any other language. But geez, there are 28 million people in America who are deaf or hard of hearing. Are they of that little value to our society??? Is the Hispanic population here more worthy of access to information? If you are going to subtitle it for one group at least be fair and subtitle it for the others (after all it is English!!).

Further, what really did surprise me is that this movie in particular includes many of those 28 million Americans who are WWII vets and have lost their hearing due to injuries from the war or from age. The director felt they were worthy enough to interview but obviously did not value them to think that maybe they would like to KNOW what was actually said in the interviews!

This really infuriates me! It is difficult to have blindly had such priveledges and then have them stripped away! I HATE the dependence upon other people of what information I am included in on or have access to. When you are hearing this never crosses your mind. It is something we take for granted such as having the ability to breath. Yet if you become stricken with asthma, the world and your perspective on it really changes!

I am going to get it out there seeing as these movies spent such a large budget on dramatic audio quality for the hearing but did not consider us important enough to caption the extra features: Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Titanic, and Pearl Harbor just to name a few.

KUDOS!! to "Sky Captain" with Jude Law and Gwenneth Paltrow. For those who do not know, this movie was made on a very scarce budget and most of the scenes in the movie were produced using computer graphics. They simply did not have the money to create dramatic real sets like the other movies I mentioned. Yet throughout the whole movie I was incredibly impressed with the scenes and videography.

I really did not expect the making of the movie to be captioned due to the low budget they had to work with but I was thrilled to find that they thought of us and I am glad they did! Understanding and seeing the whole workings of the movie and what improvising they had to do to pull it off really enhanced my appreciation of the film. IT IS ONE OF THE ONLY FILMS I HAVE SEEN WHERE THEY CAPTIONED THE MAKING OF THE MOVIE AND BONUS MATERIAL!

I truly have a respect for both Jude and Gwenneth for taking on this film because it was a career risk due to new directors and a tight budget. I know that actors and actresses don't have much to do with the captioning of the films but it made me appreciate them more for being in a film that was accommodating. It is disappointing to me when a well known actress or actor stars in a film that is not captioned. It sounds crazy but I kind of get angry with the actor or actress for accepting such a role or not standing up and saying "hey we really need to caption this movie for our deaf and hard of hearing fans".

On a side note, my other pet peeve about recent films is that I am noticing a surgance of films that are not "CC" meaning "closed captioned". The government has mandated that movies produced here be captioned by the year 2006. What is happening is that many of these directors are producing the movies in other countries and thus do not have to caption them. I can't tell you how many films I had to put down or return to the video store because I got home and it was not captioned. What makes me even more angry is that it says it is "subtitled". I get the dang thing home to find that it is subtitled ONLY IN SPANISH!

Normally these are bordering on or are B-rated flicks. Yet, the other night we rented the National Lampoon's movie "Black Ball" which was not captioned at all (subtitled only in Spanish again) and there were some more well known actors in it. The movie was filmed in England.....those damn Britts!

Anyhow, this is one of my big frustrations lately. When we had cable tv there were several programs on the discovery and science channel that I wanted to see but were not captioned. This is a common occurrence with educational material. I LOVE Great White sharks and I was sorely disappointed that the "Air Jaws" documentary series filmed in New Zealand was not captioned. I was crushed actually. :o(


Steven said...

I'm with ya, Beck! My wife Sally buys me a DVD for Christmas every year, and I watch it on my computer so I am close enough to the screen to watch the closed captioning. :) I'm finding that turning my headphones up all the way still isn't letting me hear everything. I guess I need to get amplified headphones to listen and play my computer games. :(

(I feel like I've lost way more hearing in the last two years than the audiologist says I have.)

Rebecca said...

Yeah I used my residual hearing for quite awhile. Then when I started watching captioning I realized that I was totally making up different story lines for myself to fill in the gaps of what I could not understand. I could not believe how much I had been misinterpreting.

Then I used to get mad and felt cheated if everything was not captioned verbatim. For example, there were certain lines that I knew they said in Star Trek episodes or I could hear a different script lines through my tv fm system but they would shorten the captioning to some other phrase or word instead of what was actually said.