Finding Dory, which features Nemo’s absent-minded friend in a search for her family, will open up a new conversation about disabilities, predicts USA Today. The blue tang fish’s back story reveal she was born that way.
Dory is “about the acceptance of chaos,” according to A.O. Scott’s review in the New York Times. “Dory’s inability to make or stick to plans is shown, in the long run, to be an advantage.”
“The point of civilization is to make order out of chaos,” responds James Lileks in a Bleat. “The inability to make a plan or stick to a plan is not an advantage, and people who live this way do so because they live in a society that makes plans and sticks to them so there’s food in the store and juice in the sockets.”
Dory’s memory issues and Nemo’s deformed flipper are impairments better “understood as strengths,” Scott writes.
Lileks thinks that’s silly.
Now, an impairment might produce a strength of character, or strengthen bonds within a family or social group, or encourage a person to develop alternative skills that are impressive for the amount of determination required to overcome a handicap, but an impairment does not automatically bestow strength, and it is not in itself a strength. If something appears to be an impairment but it’s actually a strength, it’s probably not, you know, an impairment.
The fetish for identifying and celebrating differences creates “a superficial read of human complexity,” writes Lileks.
Look, everyone’s different. That’s a given. The challenge is finding similarities, which is healthier for a polity in the long run. Fixation on your differences leads to solipsistic tantrums like this, where someone interrupted an Orlando memorial service because no one was talking about her particular set of tremendously illustrative differences.
The atomization of the culture into a set of competing differences, some exalted and some derided according to fashion, does not lead to social cohesion. It puts people in boxes and puts the boxes on the shelf and then hoorah for us, because look how neat these boxes are lined up.
Some messages are “timeless and necessary,” he concludes. Tell kids to “be kind and accepting to good-hearted people who, like everyone else, have their flaws.”
The grandkids are visiting next week: We’re babysitting for two days while their parents go wine tasting. So, I’ll probably have a chance to see Dory.