Wednesday, July 20, 2011

mermaids: the ultimate cripples

There are days that I really miss college. As a Mass Comm major and English minor, I wrote a myriad of papers disecting cultural trends and society and society's connection to cultural trends and all that bullshittery. [Tangent: Things I wrote 10+ page page papers on in college: Why South Park's Jimmy and Timmy are Advocates for the DisabledAmelie and Clueless: Modern Day Matchmaking In Film; and Geek Chic: How Nerd is the new Black.] Even in my studious of days, I could not have projected an apparent trend on the horizon... something I never thought would catch on...mermaids in wheelchairs. Yes, you heard correctly- they are all the rage, it seems.

Yesterday I was perusing this article about a feud rocking the music world: [Tangent: You will see this is the worst feud existence.] who originated the Mermaid in a wheelchair schtick: Lady Gaga or Bette Midler?

tough call...jazzy wheelchair mermaid vs. creepy wheelchair mermaid.
[Tangent: I feel totally overshadowed...while my hair is at Pentecostal lengths, I had considered being a mermaid for halloween this year.  Given its kind of a giant fishtail is an impractical costume element for someone that has to walk, but for me it would be totally practical. But along wheels Gaga and Ms. M to prove that its "been done," thus completely raining buckets on my costume parade. My friend Alicia suggested I do it anyway, and just create a mash-up of Wind Beneath my Wings and Born This Way to play on a loop all evening. It's still under consideration] 

I know it seems like an odd concept: a disabled mermaid?!? But think it over, a mermaid has no legs...she can't walk [Tangent: You've seen a little documentary called Splash! You know the drill.]. If one has to come on land among the uprights...I am sure they would have to hoveround it.  Merpeople are the ultimate mythological disabled creatures. If I am mistaken, things like this wouldn't exist:

I kinda feel like I need this, but why does she look so somber?

Again why does she have to be so debbie downer about it? Maybe it's because she has no hands and is doubly disabled.
I guess I first saw the correlation at MDA summer camp many years ago.  After seeing a little girl with Muscular Dystrophy sing it on Karaoke night, I remember looking at a friend and just mouthing, "god, this is heartbreaking." Watch the below clip...about midway through close your eyes and replace Ariel with an adorable little wheelchair chick.

Flipping your fins you don't get to far
Legs are required for jumping, dancing
strolling along down the
[What's that word again?] street

Up where they walk

Up where they run
Up where they stay all day in the sun
Wandering free
Wish I could be
Part of that world

Cue the soul wrenching. Crazy right?!? It has even been suggested that if I do a one woman show, I somehow integrate this song into my act to make my audience feel sufficiently awkward. Now that I've shared this weird insight, I hope I have forever ruined mermaid culture for you, and turned a lovely movie about a talking crab into an allegory about disability. You're welcome!!!


  1. Nah, mermaids are still hot.

  2. all i have to say is, if i had Gaga's financial resources, I would definitely be getting a cooler-looking wheelchair. I mean, really?! who picked out that piece of crap?

  3. Kimmie, This makes me laugh so hard. My friend/roommate has helped care for both my kids since they were born. She was singing "Part of Your World" to my oldest as a very young baby. Suddenly she burst through the bedroom door where My boyfriend and I were sleeping saying "Oh my God I'm a horrible person". We asked why. She said"Because I sing a song about a girl wishing for legs to the baby....her mother is a CRIPPLE"! We did the only thing we could, laughed alot.

  4. Great, now I'm going to wonder what a mashup of Wind Beneath My Wings and Born This Way would sound like until I actually hear one.

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