"There is little to be said about Freaks
(1932), Tod Browning's celebrated film, except that it does
not merit that reputation for cruelty accorded it by the litany of belated
surrealists. On the contrary, what I found touching was the human being's
prodigious capacity for adaptation. Seeing the armless man light a cigarette
by using only his mouth leaves us breathless with admiration. This story
shows the infinite ingenuity and the greatness of man. But enough moralizing.
Freaks is a very honest film that can be seen with more pleasure
Jean Douchet, Cashiers du cinema, Nov. 1962, p. 32
When I was a little girl, I loved going with my father to Mr. B's sporting goods store. I loved watching everything Mr. B did -- ring up purchases, get merchandise off the shelves, open paper bags. I especially loved watching Mr. B work on guns. Mr. B was an expert gunsmith, with a very adept hand. That's hand, in the singular.
If I just wanted to watch somebody take apart a rifle, I could watch my father do that, the same as any child who grew up in an area where schools closed for opening day of deer season. But Mr. B had lost an arm and a leg in a railyard accident years earlier. Mr. B could do anything my father could do -- and more. After all, my father brought his guns to Mr. B for repairs that he couldn't do himself.
Perhaps it was the early exposure to Mr. B that gave me my attitude toward people with disabilities. There was nothing pitiful about this big, burly gunsmith. He was just somebody who had to do a little extra problem-solving while going about his daily affairs. There was nothing repulsive about him. He was a friendly, handsome man. The missing arm and leg just made him different in an interesting sort of way. I found Mr. B fascinating the same way other kids found my mother, with her thick German accent, fascinating. It would never have occurred to me to think of Mr. B as "handicapped" any more than it would have occurred to me to think of my mother as "alien." Different, yes. But no two people are alike anyway. So what if when my mother says, "Pittsburgh," it comes out, "Pittszbusch?" She can speak two languages, so cut her some slack if the words in one come out sounding like the words of the other. So what if Mr. B has only one arm? Can you dissassemble a Winchester with one hand? It all balances out.
Related Areas at Pro Life Views
- The Finkbine Abortion
How the Romper Room lady's quest to abort her Thalidomide baby won sympathy for abortion advocates.
Information and links about incomplete twinning, in which the two fetuses remain attached to one another in various ways.
Abortion and eugenics still go hand in hand after all these years.
Information and links about congenital absence or deformaties of the limbs.
Quality of Life
Activists often use the poor quality of life of vulnerable people as a justification for abortion and euthanasia. Pro life efforts attack causes of suffering, not suffering people.
Elsewhere on the Web
Bad Baby Blues"
Reflections on abortion of handicapped children.
The Politics of Prenatal Testing, from First Things.
Online magazine for parents and caregivers of children with special needs.
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