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A Lesson in Sensitivity for Hollywood

June 15, 1992

The June 1 "Counterpunch" (" 'Waterdance' Limited by Formula Script") objects to Kenneth Turan's review of "The Waterdance." Bill Bolte (who is disabled) criticized how the film "reinforces the stereotyped vision of the angry, bitter cripple who brings his problems on himself." He should talk.

Noting that Turan described disabled screenwriter Neal Jimenez as "in a chair" since 1984, Bolte asks, "Can you imagine how he must smell by now?" This kind of trite, demeaning wit, generally counterproductive in any venue, is especially inappropriate when dealing with issues of disability. It perpetuates the very stereotype that Bolte warns against.

Bolte actually makes some valid points. The only problem is that he obscures their ring of truth with an alienating rhetoric.

Ironically, the adjacent "Counterpunch" ("Gray List: No More Us vs. Them") provides a revealing study in contrasts. Writer-producer Ann Marcus, commenting on the gray list that has divided Hollywood along lines of age, says of her own, older faction: "We're in an 'Us vs. Them' mentality that precludes any kind of dialogue. We get defensive, negative and extremely hostile. . . . Maybe we should check our attitude and stop bashing (the other side)." Here, here.

DAVID C. CURTIS

Pasadena

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