Looking at us, you would think that my friend Neil and I are polar opposites. However, generally our moral compasses point in the same direction.
So, on a Saturday morning it is not unusual for us to conduct a rapid-fire conversation where (in between rubbishing the hell out of each other) we take it upon ourselves to solve all of the world’s problems while he tortures me with insane stretches. Neil also teaches me Pilates.
We are both uber fans of Wonder Woman and our world-fixing remedies can often involve her. On this particular day though, Wonder Woman or rather Gal Gadon, who played her in the most recent movie, was the one who needed our help.
After the death of Professor Stephen Hawking, she posted a tweet about her sorrow over his passing. Like millions of people the world over.
Ahhh, there is nothing more heartfelt than to share a message in 140 characters to someone you probably did not know, but whose name was trending on Twitter, with your closest followers.
Anyway, in her tweet, Gadon wrote (and I’m paraphrasing here), “Stephen, may you be able to walk with ease in heaven.” The response she got may have been a bit of a surprise to her, it was to me.
People told her that she was an ablest (someone prejudice against disabled people) because her tweet insinuated that due to the fact she can walk she thought she was superior to him. Or that just because he had a disability, which by the way was the least remarkable aspect of his existence, Hawking may have been unsatisfied and preferred a different body.
I know someone who died recently from lung cancer. When he died, people wrote, “breathe easy” in their tributes to him. How is it different?
Neil wondered what my take over all the commotion was.
Well, speaking as the oracle of all things disability, I think these people need to get a life. She was just trying to be nice, and maybe get a few retweets in the process. We’ve all been there.
I would quite like to know how many of these people are disabled themselves. And if they aren’t, why should they care?
Now, I did not know Professor Hawking myself, so I cannot tell you whether he resented his disability. But, expecting that he never once thought how much easier/better it might have been living how the other half lived is preposterous. Especially if you have had a taste of “the good life” as he had done.
Not to generalise here, but we all do it, disabled or not. In addition, doing it, does not mean we hate ourselves. It just means we might be having a bad day!
Stephen, despite his enormous intelligence was, only human.
I too admire Stephen Hawking. I am in awe of his intelligence and wit of course. But the fact that he carried on with his life as he knew it even after his diagnosis and never thought (to the best of my knowledge), to suddenly be a champion for the disabled community is to me, the best thing about him.
There is a myth out there that a disability automatically makes someone a tool for learning. Or, that if you have a disability then everything you do (no matter how small) is done to prove yourself to or inspire others. I call bullshit on that.
I only do it for the attention!
PS – The piece of equipment being demonstrated in this photo is called the Wunda Chair. So called (I think) because while you are using it makes you wonder why the hell you are doing this to yourself!