Paul & Tina’s Signalong: Haters gonna hate

I am not as offended or concerned about Paul & Tina’s Signalong as some people are. I think exposure to ASL can be a good thing, regardless of who’s signing. Personal experience: the first time I was truly impressed with the beauty of ASL was at a monologue competition in 1985, when a hearing girl spoke and signed a monologue from Children of a Lesser God. I have no idea, in retrospect, how good she was at signing; all I remember is I thought it was beautiful. The fact that she spoke and signed at the same time made it accessible to me. I don’t think I would have gotten the same impression at the time if I had seen a Deaf woman delivering the same monologue, even if it were interpreted. I might have been more intimidated than entertained. I might have seen more differences than similarities. I might not have been ready for the culture shock.

If you read the comments on Paul & Tina’s Signalong Facebook page post about taking down their donation site, you’ll see a variety of views, both supportive and critical, both from hearing and Deaf people. I think this dialogue is a good thing. The comments from d/Deaf people were more supportive than those from interpreters, though, and I think that’s telling. If Deaf signers want to be offended by Paul & Tina, and educate them about their language and culture, that is their job. It’s not ASL/English interpreters’ job to be offended for Deaf people.

It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish

Where you start isn’t necessarily where you end up. It’s not Paul & Tina’s job to be Deaf, and they’re not trying to be. They’re just being themselves and having fun with it. They’re not the be all, end all; they’re just doing their thing. Where people take it from there is their business. Time will tell whether future interpreters might have first thought ASL was fun by watching their videos. Eventually, we learn from Deaf people if we get that far. And if we don’t get that far, what’s the harm?

Magic Man is a tightly crafted song!

I was listening to a classic rock station just now, and they played Heart’s “Magic Man.” I remember hearing this song many times when it came out– my mom and her boyfriend played the vinyl LP every day for weeks. I never noticed before today, though, how tightly crafted it was. The verse and chorus repeat only once each, with slightly different lyrics and very different meanings each time. In the first chorus, the person quoted is the self-proclaimed Magic Man himself, inviting her to “come on home, girl”; the second time, it is the mother pleading with her to “come on home, girl.” I don’t know what it’s called when songwriters change the meaning behind the same lyrics, but I think it can be brilliant (my favorite example is Tim McGraw’s “Don’t Take the Girl”).

What really impressed me just now was how short “Magic Man” is. Coming out of my car radio, where so many songs are composed mostly of choruses repeated ad nauseum, this tight little composition put the rest to shame.