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Chapter 9

RHETOR 109 Chapter Notes - Chapter 9: Edinburgh International Film Festival, Pixar, Wheelchair Ramp


Department
Rhetoric
Course Code
RHETOR 109
Professor
Rebecca Gaydos
Chapter
9

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Rhetoric 109 Reading
Audio Description Described: Current
Standards, Future Innovations, Larger
Implications
- Netflix announced new series Daredevil would be available with audio
description for the blind and visually impaired
o In response to protests from disability activists who remarked on the
irony that Daredevil, whose title characters is a blind superhero,
would not be accessible to blind viewers
- FCC set mandates to increase programs available with audio description
- There will be a proliferation of accessible movies and TV programs
- AD: techniques to make visual media accessible to the blind
- Rules and guidelines arise from problematic assumptions about what blind
people can understand and should know about visual phenomena
- Standards have received little scholarly scrutiny, typically characterized as
promoting the goal of social inclusion for people with disabilities
- Author is blind and is skeptical, even hostile, to current practices
- Analogy between AD and the wheelchair ramp
o Wheelchair ramp can be understood to serve anyone who uses a
conveyance on wheels
- GOAL to not merely critique the current practices of AD but to speculate on
how it might expand beyond a segregated accommodation to create a more
inclusive culture
- Uses The Sessions by Mark O’Brien – screening at UC Berkeley with captions
and AD, film represented industry standards
- Author prefers less description, but others might have other preferences
AD must take all the diversity into account
- Description needs to be scripted and times to fir in the silences between lines
of dialogue and other aspects of the sound track
- Content must be neutral and objective, refrain from interpretation or
evaluation, describes limited to just a few words, avoid technical cinematic
vocabulary
o Objectivity comes from assessment that sighted viewers enjoy an
autonomous, unmediated experience of visual media, the viewer
independent forms an aesthetic judgment about what is received
o Is the objective possible? Desirable?
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