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What is funny, and what is not

NYT Book Review By The Book with Steve Johnson

I was set to post holiday photos today. Parties, elf hats, skating rinks… you name it, I’ve photographed it in the last few weeks.

But then last night, curled up in bed after a long workday with, being the librarian that I am, the NYT Book Review… I saw the above quote.

And it frustrated me.

WHY does this smart, educated man (and his family) cloak a childhood speech impairment as a joke? Was it because of the disconnect between his speech and his chosen activities? Was it because speech impairments are automatically associated with other difficulties?

Unlike Steve Johnson, I did not “grow out of” my speech impairment, and I live my life as an accomplished, professional member of society with that speech impairment. 

I know the consequences. Just this week, a patron at work refused to let me help him. Because of my speech. I am underestimated in casual encounters. An amazing amount of people think speech and intellect are related.

And as long as intellectual elite like Steve Johnson and the New York Times reinforce these ideas? It will not change. 

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One thought on “What is funny, and what is not

  1. Saimmaq says:

    I am a person who stutters and has Moebius. Sometimes, things that happen because of one or both of these things are hilarious. I cannot deny that. Sometimes, others see humour where I do not, but more often, I am the one cracking up at the ridiculousness of a particular situation and that gives others “permission” to join me. People who know me really well sometimes beat me to the punch but…

    They really have to know me well to take the risk.

    I guess I don’t know why Steve Johnson didn’t think his point would be as valid without the lisping quote…

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