After a very traumatizing last 8 months after which my right hand was removed, my wife and me went to watch "Hancock" in our local cinema. Obviously we were expecting a humorous action movie.
As you may be aware, in Hancock, Sony Pictures and director Peter Berg offer a disdainful and sneering representation of a hand amputation and subsequently prosthetic equipment with a hook. He may have a history of other bad movies but this one somewhat stands out.
What Peter Berg is doing in that movie is also known as "disability stereotyping" and he is doing it in a disrespectful and hurtful manner.
He employs serious disability as a method to make fun of such a situation and of the people concerned by this. I am wearing a hook prosthesis. And I was wearing it when I was sitting in the cinema. And right then, I felt extremely upset. It was very painful to watch that. Peter Berg is obviously lacking empathy so he will not understand what I am saying, but I sat there and cringed. I absolutely and positively cringed.
But that was not all. When the lights went back on and we left the theater, people gave me hateful stares. All the fucking way out.
It was an absolute nightmare. It was a situation I found very hard to bear.
Luckily I am not alone in this. Among other issues, synaesthetic empathic pain seems to be a real factor.
|The Cinema of Isolation: A History of Physical Disability in the Movies|
|Screening Disability: Essays on Cinema and Disability|
|Nothing About Us Without Us: Disability Oppression and Empowerment|
Update August 28th 2008
Sony Pictures, whom I informed of the incident, have not found time, empathy or courage to simply apologize. If they did at all inform the director, neither has he.
Update September 13th 2008
Again I asked Sony Pictures to issue an apology. To this date (October 5th 2008) they have not found time, empathy or courage to apologize.
Update April 2009
Sony Pictures failed to apologize so far.
Update July 2015
Peter Berg now looks down on transgender as well, while nowhere he states that he actually has respect for veterans or amputees, or, at least, since making Hancock, he developed such a respect (for example by undergoing therapy). So from the way he uses amputee character in Hancock, we can be confident in our idea about what this guy still thinks about amputees. From that angle, I find it disturbing that this director is still making movies.