Paterson in a Snit Over ‘SNL’ Skit

From the NY Post [original article]:

Gov. Paterson didn’t see the humor in a “Saturday Night Live” bit that mocked his blindness.

During the “Weekend Update” segment of NBC’s irreverent comedy show, actor Fred Armisen played Paterson, imitating his wandering eye, gravelly voice and blunt, self-effacing demeanor.

But Paterson and advocates for the visually impaired didn’t appreciate stock blind jokes that had Armisen pretending to be disoriented and wandering aimlessly.

“I can take a joke,” Paterson told reporters.

But he called the SNL spoof a “third-grade depiction of people and the way they look” that could lead others to believe that “disability goes hand-in-hand with an inability to run a government or business.”

“I run the place I work in, so I don’t have to be worried about being discriminated against,” noted Paterson

Although Paterson is legally blind and has aides help him with some tasks, the governor is rarely out of step with his surroundings and seems comfortable in virtually all settings.

After Armisen’s sketch with “Weekend Update” co-anchor Seth Meyers, the joke continued.

As longtime “SNL” player Amy Poehler was announcing her departure from the show, Armisen’s Paterson started wandering, as if lost, in front of the camera.

“Gov. Paterson . . . you’re in the shot!” a chuckling Poehler said.

The skit could leave viewers with the impression that blind Americans cannot be competent employees, advocates for the disabled said.

“When you have a perception problem like we have, you take these things a little more seriously,” said Chris Danielsen, spokesman for the National Federation of the Blind.

“We have 70 percent unemployment – and it’s not because we can’t work. Obviously, the governor of New York is blind, and he’s doing the job. Whenever you have a portrayal that calls the basic capacity of [blind people] into question, that’s a potential problem.”

Danielsen claims “SNL” has a long history of mocking the blind – going back to Eddie Murphy’s Stevie Wonder impression and, more recently, a “Weekend Update” one-liner that hybrid cars are dangerous to blind people because they can’t hear the engine.

Paterson’s spokesman, Errol Cockfield, said, “The governor is sure that ‘Saturday Night Live,’ with all of its talent, can find a way to be funny without being offensive,” Cockfield said.

“Knowing the governor, he might even have some suggestions himself.”

An NBC spokesman could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Okay, first I’ll admit it, I actually found the skit pretty darn funny. If that makes you hate me then I’d suggest not reading further because you’re not likely to enjoy what you’ll find.

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ZoomText USB

ZoomText is one of the leading adaptive software programs for screen enlargement. I’ve been using it for over ten years now and one of my biggest gripes about it is that you must acquire a license for every single installation. That may not sound so bad, but take for instance my own experience: I had three licenses purchased and installed a copy on both my desktop and laptop. Then my desktop died and had to be reformatted. At the time I didn’t think about that I was using another license to reinstall my copy of ZoomText, but when I brought the program to work to have it put on my computer there, I wasn’t able to because I’d exhausted my licenses. Granted, a quick phone call to AI Squared resolved this dilemma, it was still an inconvenience and I ended up wasting an entire day at work.

Today I was reading the latest issue of The Braille Forum and saw an announcement for a new version of ZoomText on a USB drive. Not only can ZoomText now be brought quite literally anywhere, one doesn’t need to purchase multiple licenses to install it more than once. I’m wondering how plausible it is to get that as my next upgrade.

Now I just want to see a portable version of JAWS!