How's Your News?
We receive a newsletter from the WSA on Williams syndrome and those who were born with it. As the years have gone by, I have become familiar with more and more of the names and faces that make up this large, special family of sorts. The convention introduced me to many people with WS and their families.
As I usually do, I tore through my last WSA newsletter as fast as I could read. In the midst of feeling sometimes somewhat disconnected and geographically isolated from other WS families, I am always thrilled to see the newsletter in my mailbox because it never fails to provide hope from a medical/research standpoint and inspiration straight from the mouths of individuals with WS. I feel like the Laura Ingalls of the WS world sometimes out here on the prairie. Okay, that is a bit of an exaggeration, but you should know my flair for the dramatic and romantic by now, so hush.
This time I was surprised to hear of a new show on MTV called How's Your News? A team of individuals with different disabilities has gone on the world's coolest road trip, conducting news interviews with celebrities, people on the street, and politicians. They even did an election special with interviews conducted at both national conventions. What's even more unusual about this show is that three of the men featured on the show have WS. Three! Can you believe it? There is even an HYN band, which completely rocks, and the cast writes and plays their own music.
The show was inspired by a feature-length movie of the same name produced by the creators of South Park after they watched videos made by young people at a summer camp using a similar format. The film was successfully featured at indie film festivals nationally and internationally, and HBO/Cinemax purchased it. I recently ordered the DVD.
What is interesting about this particular show is the way people react when approached by people with disabilities. This is a great way to hold a mirror up to our society to get a good, honest look at ourselves under harsh department store dressing room lighting. I have only seen bits and pieces of what's to come on MTV but found myself cringing, laughing, and feeling a little angry by the responses generated. My "mama bear" instincts kicked in with a vengeance. I need to learn to let go and realize that the world doesn't end (a recurring theme in my learning to let go) when people are rude or ignorant. And that hopefully most people are kind and respectful. I remember that my experiences with adults with WS at the convention were generally the opposite of what I expected. Instead of feeling anxious and worried about the future, I felt a sense of peace and security being in their presence. I actually began feeling that everything just might be okay after all, even if things look a little (okay, a lot) different than I expected them to. I have learned so much from Erik and the people who are wired like him. The mother of one of my favorite HYN cast members explained in the newsletter that her son knows the difference between being funny and being made fun of. And I believe her.
I hope I can let down my defenses and laugh a little, too. From what I have seen so far, I think I'll do that. This is a show filled with what I have come to know as "woo hoo moments." They fuel my fire and keep me dreaming about all that is possible.
According to the web site, the show is scheduled to air in February 2009. Here's an interview Jeremy Vest did with the band Dispatch. The look on the band member's face at the end when they start to jam is priceless. As Erik would say -- "Yeah, baby."