I bought my friend an elephant for their room.
They said “Thank you.”
I said “Don’t mention it.”
Is there a joke here that 15 thousand people get but I don’t?
Helen Keller (letter to Senator Robert La Follette, 1924)
funny how the most popular narrative about helen keller is a harmless little girl who learns to communicate and then the story ends for some reason gee i wonder why that is
Gee. Why does the popular narrative end before she became a communist? So strange! And the Martin Luther King Jr. narrative does the same thing! What a coincidence!
Also, that the narrative is generally about the abled teacher helping her and how amazing she was to be able to do it. As the wikipedia article frames it: “The story of how Keller’s teacher, Anne Sullivan, broke through the isolation imposed by a near complete lack of language, allowing the girl to blossom as she learned to communicate, has become widely known through the dramatic depictions of the play and film The Miracle Worker.” So even the story about Helen Keller is often not really about her.
Helen Keller is a glaring example of it, but history’s dominant narratives are full of women whose stories are depoliticised and infantilised in order to make them more “inspirational”.
A current example: when Malala Yousafzai is the brave little girl who just wanted to learn, she’s the world’s darling, but when she tells Obama that drone strikes are driving terrorism the cameras all turn off.
Follow-up from my post about the AIDS researchers who were killed in the plane crash:
Despite earlier reports approximately 100 passengers on board the plane were on their way to the conference, Barré-Sinoussi said that number was unlikely.
"We are very confident that we had at least six colleagues on board. There might be a few more, but not the number that as been announced [by the media]"
Which is some small comfort, at least.