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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this sixth day of July, 2007, in the city of Atlanta, Georgia, that this organization condemn and deplore the negative, damaging, distorted description of blindness and blind people contained in the novel, Blindness by José Saramago, for playing on society’s fears and deepening prejudice against the blind, leading to lost opportunities in employment and social acceptance...
I said the other day that José Saramago's Blindness is one of the best books I've read in years—so it's worth noting that the book is very unpopular with disability organizations, with the film re-igniting those controversies again. I feel very conflicted about this, torn between a sensitivity against ableism on the one hand and, on the other, the recognition that the conditions described in the novel—a highly contagious plague of blindness that sweeps an entire city over the course of a few weeks—bear almost no relation to the dignity or quality of life of actually existing blind people outside that sort of speculative conceit.