gASLee or ghastly?

January 22, 2010 § 1 Comment

Oh the irony

Not long after posting on the poetics of signed languages, the hit American show GLEE gets in on the act … or does it.

Tonight’s episode included a deaf choir performing Imagine … the Lennon classic. That’s nice, I thought, giving room for bilingualism on the show …

Charming isn’t it? until the regular stars are inspired to join in. The hegemony of English takes over, and the star kids are up there belting it out sentimentally reducing the ASL choir to a charming backdrop. And then! And then suddenly the star kids magically acquire ASL as if it wasn’t a complex language but some kind of obvious mimetic charade kinda game.

At least one of the commentors on youtube sees this side of things:


i thought the glee cast or whatever ruined the song! like the deaf people were signing it and the one guy was saying it, and then the glee kids had to start singing it! they pretty much stole the spotlight. i thought it was messed up!

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§ One Response to gASLee or ghastly?

  • Jenn Malcolm says:

    Good call on this one – although I do believe its good for Deaf/sign language to be seen in public – Glee will be making a lot of people aware of sign language.

    And although the Glee cast do suddenly seem to know how to sign, they seem to be copying the Deaf kids (so not actually inately knowing it), and I think the ending (signing and signing together) is quite nice, perhaps showing ASL and english as equal? Hearing kids using sign language for once, when its usually (forced to be) the other way around??

    I don’t think the male should have sung/said the song – theres English hegemony again – it would have been fine just to sign it, but I guess that would not appeal to a hearing audience.

    I wonder if these kids are actually Deaf?

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