Saturday, September 8, 2012

“Rizzoli & Isles”: Sending wrong message about disabled vets

I tried watching "Rizzoli & Isles" off and on from the beginning but couldn’t help feeling the show was ripping off too much from the far superior "Bones," one of our absolute favorite crime series. But finally, the last part of the episode entitled "Welcome to the Dollhouse" made me start asking myself why I bothered to watch "R&I" in the first place.

What bothered me was the final scene in which Jane (Rizzoli, played by Angie Harmon) learns that Casey (Sgt. Major Jones played by Chris Vance) was severely injured in the war. He tells her he doesn’t want to be in her life until he’s a ‘whole’ man again. Then he hobbles away on crutches while Jane watches with a look of pitiful suffering.

Give me a break!

The message here is that disabled vets should be hidden away and not mix with ‘normal’ people. It’s an age-old prejudice. Society has always tried to make disabled people hide from the outside world. I know, because I’ve suffered from several hidden disabilities just about all my life, and the majority of people who learn about my illness treat me with the same type of discrimination.

Before people discover the truth of my illness, they enjoy my company. But when I have to explain that my condition prevents me from being able to perform or socialize to the extent they demand, they almost consistently turn their backs on me. Some people even try to punish me for the ‘crime’ of being disabled.

And the situation is no different for people with overt disabilities like that dramatized on "Rizzoli & Isles."

I confess, I tried watching the show for several more weeks, hoping they would change course on this misguided plot development. But I finally realized the producers of the series are demonstrating the same mean-spirited bigotry toward people like me, and most of the disabled veterans of Bush’s wars of choice, that has been practiced throughout history. That’s why I refuse to watch any more episodes of "Rizzoli & Isles."

I hope other people who understand the importance of this negative message regarding disabled people in general, and disabled veterans in particular, will consider not only tuning out the series, but contacting TNT, as I will with this message, to let them know how wrong-headed this message is.

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