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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Today in the Gimp Parade

posted by on June 5 at 9:52 AM

Since I’m going to be on crutches for a little while, I thought I’d do some etymological cruising on “gimp.” The etymology is weak—OED: “uncertain, perhaps a corruption of ‘gammy’” which is, awesomely, “Tramps’ slang for bad, not good.”

Wikipedia doesn’t have much to say except that “gimp” is a politically incorrect term and a BDSM character and a kind of plasticky thread (aka “Scoubidou,” origins: French) used for making all that woven crap kids bring home from summer camp.

Then I, uh, stumbled over The Gimp Parade, a blog by Blue/Kay Olson, “a thirtysomething disabled feminist. Overeducated, underemployed.”

She’s got surprising and interesting thoughts about amputee soldiers and disability in poetry (Robert Pinsky), movies (Tiptoes), and jokes (“Does this wheelchair make my butt look big?”).

The surprise: How much she and her oft-linked friends at Not Dead Yet hate, hate, hate Jack Kevorkian:

Though often described as compassionate, legalized medical killing is really about a deadly double standard for people with severe disabilities, including both conditions that are labeled terminal and those that are not… People already have the right to refuse unwanted treatment, and suicide is not illegal. What we oppose is a public policy that singles out individuals for legalized killing based on their health status.

Which seems to be kind of missing the point of assisted suicide. As in, extending the ability to kill oneself to people need help finding the means, swallowing the pills, dragging themselves to the edge of the cliff, etc.

I don’t really get it, but perhaps our resident expert on disability issues, Ms. Erica Barnett, can explain it to me.

RSS icon Comments


If you think they hate Kevorkian, don't even get 'em started on Peter Singer.

Posted by Levislade | June 5, 2007 10:48 AM

GIMP is also the free downloadable program I rarely use. It's an alternative to Photoshop.

Posted by Garrett | June 5, 2007 11:00 AM

Her argument seems to be that we have to protect severely ill and disabled people from themselves by denying them access to assisted suicide. Sounds a little patronizing.

Posted by keshmeshi | June 5, 2007 12:22 PM

Yeah, if I get severely disabled I'd like to keep my options open, thanks. But hey, suicide is like cable tv... if it offends you don't do/watch it.

Posted by monkey | June 5, 2007 12:43 PM

Hi, author of The Gimp Parade here. I'm not a member of Not Dead Yet, but my views line up with theirs pretty well. Suicide is available to everyone. What I oppose is the cost-effective slant medical care threatens to take when assisted suicide is available but not access to mental health services, adequate pain management, or in-home care. It's not like the social message doesn't already exist that many disabled people would be better off dead. We can decide for ourselves, but I oppose a policy that contributes to a system that prefers us dead.

As for Kevorkian. Many of the people he "assisted" were not terminally ill but instead people who may have benefited greatly from access to the other services I've mentioned above. I don't think even the organizations that lobby for assisted suicide want much to do with him.

Good luck with the crutches.

Posted by Kay Olson | June 5, 2007 2:28 PM

GIMP is a great Linux graphics package.

And it's free.

Revel in your GIMP status!

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 5, 2007 3:28 PM


Posted by Bill | June 12, 2007 1:15 PM

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