I’ve had a love-hate relationship with closed-captioning my entire life. The little icky letters scrolling around the bottom of the screen irritate me, and I never use it when I’m watching TV or movies. I can generally understand things well, and if I don’t then I just pester the heck out of whoever is watching with me. Of course, I love subtitled foreign films because I always know what’s going on in them. (This dichotomy irritates me now that I see it written down. Apparently I’m one of those cranky deaf people. Hmph.)
But even if I don’t want to use it, I know that closed-captioning is the only way many deaf and hard-of-hearing folks have to watch TV, and that’s why this makes me positively furious:
The Bush administration has decided that people with bad hearing have bad judgment, too, and need special guidance from the federal government.
So the U.S. Department of Education is declaring about 200 television programs inappropriate for closed-captioning and denying federal grant requests to make them accessible to the hearing-impaired.
The department made its decisions based on the recommendations of a five-member panel. Who the five members are, only the government seems to know, and it isn’t saying. But the shows they censored suggest a perspective that is Talibanesque.
The government is refusing to caption Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie, apparently fearing that the deaf would fall prey to witchcraft if they viewed the classic sitcoms. …