where are we?

i have been noticing lately, for some reason, that i never see musicians or actors in wheelchairs. can it be that people who are unable to stand are also unable to sing, or play an instrument? i can think of michael flanders (of the esteemed duo flanders and swan) who was wheelchair bound, and itzhak perlman, who has partially recovered from polio and gets around on crutches or a scooter, and performs seated. and we have arty on “glee” in a wheelchair, even though the actor himself is not handicapped, and there was ironsides, played by raymond burr, who was also not handicapped in real life.

so are we left to believe that people in wheelchairs cannot act or perform music? or is it just our culture that is not willing to accept a chair-bound actor or musician? i find it hard, at best, to believe that people in wheelchairs, who do so many other things (like race in marathons and climb mt. everest) are not competent actors or musicians. there certainly are plenty of able-bodied actors and musicians whom i personally do not consider particularly competent. i’d even be very happy to see someone in a tv commercial in a wheelchair. it doesn’t have to be about the wheelchair, it can be just a normal person demonstrating antiperspirants or a cold remedy who  just happens to be in a wheelchair. i mean, i think it is pretty safe to say that most people in wheelchairs are “normal” people, and we use toothpaste and go shopping and go to the bank. why are we not represented in the ads for those things?

and i bet even some people in wheelchairs, or on crutches can act, too. hugh laurie, who plays “house” on tv is, first of all, not american (his american accent is acting) and does not walk with a cane (which, in fact, he uses “wrong,” a cane is usually carried on the side opposite the gimpy leg). so why are there no actors with physical handicaps? i don’t understand.

i have an intuitive feeling that they are out there. so why don’t i ever see them?


3 thoughts on “where are we?

  1. Interesting question Steve!

    BB King also performs seated – in part due to age and perhaps in part due to fallout from diabetes.

    But there must be actors, singers, people who play instrements well who are in wheelchairs (and I am not counting the guy from Spiderman on Broadway who had that bad fall!).

    Hollywood, however, is not known for diversity…

  2. I don’t know if you knew this, but the character of House uses the the cane on the wrong side on purpose. It was even addressed in an episode by his friend Wilson. House uses it wrong stubbornly and it fits with his character.

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