Watch this movie and write this letter

I just finished a documentary about cochlear implants. Well, I use the term “finished” loosely. The DVD wouldn’t work on the last scene (thanks, corrupted library materials) so I don’t know how it ended. Gr. BUT I would highly recommend Sound and Fury. I’m still on the fence about a cochlear implant for myself but I didn’t watch the documentary because I needed help making a decision. I wanted to see how the film dealt with Deaf and hearing perspectives on the issue. Because I think that the real discussion wasn’t over the cochlear implant itself but a dialogue about hearing culture and Deaf culture. I often feel the tension of both and it’s hard to explain to people who aren’t Deaf culture-savvy. So I think the video is a great resource, especially for hearing people who are friends with or related to someone with hearing loss (cough**hint*cough) to learn a little bit more about what their hard of hearing friend/relative has experienced (wink wink nudge nudge).

Speaking of not-so-subtle hints, the Hearing Loss Association of America has issued an urgent action alert on movie captions. You can find more information about it on HLAA’s website but basically, the Department of Justice is considering changes on a regulation that requires movie theaters to show captions and has invited comments from the general public. I’m working on a letter to send to the DOJ and I hope you will, too! I plan on sharing some of my experiences on watching (or rather, not being able to watch) movies with captions and I will emphasize the need for theaters to offer open captions and not rear window captions. Open captions are basically subtitles and I’m not really a fan of rear window captioning. You can read more about RWC here.

Anyway, there are something like a bajillion questions that the DOJ is seeking answers to (you can see all of them here); HLAA is encouraging people to answer question #1. I plan on answering questions 1 and 9:

#1 – DOJ is proposing that the percentage of movie screens offering closed captioning be set at 10 percent after one year and increased 10 percent a year until 50 percent is reached. Does this approach provide a proper balance between providing accessibility to consumers, on one hand, and giving owners and operators time to acquire the necessary equipment, on the other hand?

#9 – While the Department is not considering requiring the use of open captioning, should movie theater owners and operators be given the discretion to exhibit movies with open captioning, should they so desire, as an alternate method of achieving compliance with the captioning requirements of any Department regulation? If theaters opt to use open captioning, should they be required to exhibit movies with such captioning at peak times so that people with disabilities can have the option of going to the movies on days and times when other
moviegoers see movies?

The deadline for sending in comments is Monday, January 24, so open up those Word documents and go to town, people!

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