Thursday, May 26, 2016

Boycott - Me Before You - "disability death porn."

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition


The movie - Me Before You will be released in theatres across North America on June 3.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is urging its supporters to boycott Me Before You to not give any money to the production of movies that perpetuate the ideology that death is better than living with a disability.

We also urge our supporters to donate the admission price to either: Not Dead Yet (donation), Not Dead Yet UK (donation), Toujours Vivant - Not Dead Yet (donate through the Council of Canadians with Disabilities) or the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (donation).

This is not a campaign to obstruct free speech, this is a campaign to oppose the "disability death porn" that this movie promotes.

In the Me Before You plot (Will Traynor) a man who was paralysed in an accident, decides to die by assisted suicide at a Swiss suicide clinic. His family, who are incredibly wealthy, hire Louisa Clark, as his care-giver. 


As the story progresses, Clark falls in love with Traynor, but Traynor has decided that death is better than living with a disability. Traynor dies by assisted suicide in Switzerland and of course he loves Clark so much, that he leaves her an inheritance.

What is most insidious about the movie is that Traynor’s suicide is sold as an act of love. For me that borders on what I call “disability death porn.”

People with disabilities are fighting for social and attitudinal change. Me Before You perpetuates the idea, that death is better than living with a disability.


To understand the disability perspective, I urge you to read the comments by people with disabilities concerning Me Before You.

William Peace (center)
William Peace, a Syracuse University professor, known as Bad Cripple, wrote an excellent article: A Second Class Existence: Me Before You Gets It All Wrong. Peace writes:

The obliviousness here is nothing short of stunning even for a quadriplegic wants to die snuff film. The main character, Will Trayner, is never given a voice. He is a mere foil for Louisa Clark. In a New York Times review of the book the reviewer put it succinctly; 
"Lou has never fully lived: Will has, but no longer can... He had scaled rock faces at Yosemite, swum in volcanic springs in Iceland, sampled warm croissants in the Marais and had his pick of glamorous, leggy girlfriends. After the accident, he can't walk, can't feed himself, can't have sex. The only power he believes he retains is the power to end his life; and, as a man of action, he wants to exercise that power". 
This is a first. Will is the first asexual romantic hero who wields his power to die. It is a given, he will die because, well, that is what all people who are not quadriplegics believe. The only quadriplegics that want to live are asexual, bitter, angry people who lash out at all the people foolish enough to engage them. Even when a quadriplegic like Will has it all--he is rich beyond belief, lives a life of luxury and can do pretty much whatever he wants--still chooses to die. Out of the goodness of his soul he will not allow himself to ruin Louisa's life hence after his death he wills her his money. Only Hollywood could come up with such a story line that is so grossly convoluted and devoid of reality. 
Predictably, there are more than a few angry people with a disability who deeply object to the book and film. If the film is a hit, and I believe it will be, there is no doubt organizations such as Compassion and Choices will exploit its popularity to help pass assisted suicide legislation. Multiple people with a disability have already weighed in with scathing words. I doubt their words will resonate beyond the disability rights community but they reinforce I am not alone. Here are a few links: 
Sane Clifton: https://shaneclifton.com/2016/02/05/why-i-hate-jojo-moyes-me-before-you/ 
Dominick Evans: http://www.dominickevans.com/2016/02/hollywood-promotes-the-idea-it-is-better-to-be-dead-than-disabled/ 
Pretentious Best Friend: http://pretentiousbestfriend.blogspot.com/2016/05/me-before-you-fetishization-of.html 
Crippled Scholar: https://crippledscholar.wordpress.com/2016/05/21/why-are-you-complaining-some-people-actually-feel-that-way-a-critique-of-me-before-you/
The cultural promotion of suicide and assisted suicide was bad enough, now Me Before You and its disability death porn, defines death as an act of love for a person with a disability.

11 comments:

Ak Rhodes said...

Like I said, death porn propaganda. I saw the review for this trash in the theatre and I threw up in my mouth a little. Okay, a lot. This is one in a string of movies on the you're disabled? Die already theme. It's almost as if they are grooming the watching public to accept that disabled people die by euthanasia after a bitter hopeless struggle. Well, I'm disabled and I ain't this fictional character. This is why the hidden agenda is so insidious: the pro deathists are so nice about what they say. Until you fight them.

Maureen Sullivan said...

I hope and pray every disabled person be outraged over this movie...It is sickening!!! May God's love and mercy be ever more abundantly given to my brave, handicapped brothers and sisters...We live in a very cruel world...

Máire Ní Bhroin said...

How arrogant to right off certain members of the human race, who may have visible (or invisible) "handicaps"!Where is the humanity to our fellow man, in this anhilation of our "handicapable" brothers & sisters, who all have their special gifts to share? We must speak up now, before this becomes the new normal and the prevailing "treatment" for any conditions that may require care-givers, expensive medication and/or are deemed too costly by some goverment legislated board of pro-Euthanasia doctors. Why else would doctors in a small European country decide that the best "treatment" for P.T.S.D. is Euthanasia? Will those who fight for their countrymen in the military, or work as paramedics be next on list, as they have high incidences of P.T.S.D. too. In the dark future, will that too be their reward for bravely & unselfishly serving their country and their fellow citizen? Make your stand in whatever way you can against the negative hype in this movie and the distopian viewpoint it trys to portray as altruism.Please pray for our society as a whole & support the validity & dignity of every human life!

Phoenix Knight said...

I firmly support physician-assisted euthanasia ONLY for people whose lives really are ending, not for those who might possibly have years ahead of them. That is all. Right before cancer, dementia or some other malicious diseases destroy's a person's mind is when ending one's life should be an option. I agree it should not be an option for people that are suddenly disabled, since they're likely to be emotionally damaged, temporarily incapable of seeing any possibility of a good, decent life ahead.
If this movie really does portray PAS as an act of love for others instead of a more dignified end to a life that IS ending, then I agree- it is sickening, misleading, making no useful contribution to the discussion of this very important topic.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Thank you Phoenix, but the reality is that euthanasia cannot be limited to those people who are only nearing death and it cannot be denied to people with recent disabilities. As is evident from the laws in the Netherlands, Belgium and now Canada, limiting lethal injection is considered discriminatory by people who promote euthanasia.

Phoenix Knight said...

I'm not familiar with the relevant laws in other countries, but the end-of-life medical aid in dying, as described by compassionandchoices.org is defined as: Aid in dying (also known as death with dignity) is a
medical practice in which a terminally ill, mentally
capable adult with a prognosis of six months or less
to live may request, obtain and - if their suffering
becomes unbearable - self-ingest medication that
brings about a peaceful death. Prior to providing a
prescription for such medication, two doctors must
confirm that the person is fully informed and provide
the person with information about additional end-of-
life options, including comfort care, hospice and
pain control.
By the way medical aid in dying is NOT assisted suicide.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Stop playing games aid in dying is just another name for euthanasia or assisted suicide. The problem with the euthanasia lobby and people like Phoenix is that they like to lie and cover-up and redefine language.

Phoenix Knight said...

To clarify, 'suicide' in this context refers to ending one's own life despite the possibility of continued life and happiness. That is what's portrayed in 'Me Before You', and I agree with you completely that it is immoral, both suicide and the movie. What I advocate is completely different. In situations where not only is the possibility of continued life and happiness impossible, but certainty that the last few months of life will become filled with crushing agony and/or the complete deterioration of ones's mind, THAT is where aid in dying is appropriate, and with the patient's informed consent shortly before whatever's left of their mind and dignity is taken away permanently.
This is a very sensitive subject, requiring calm reasoning. If you think this matter through, perhaps you will see that I'm not lying, nor am I playing word games. I don't expect any apology but only wish you well.

Will said...

I don't have a problem with this movie or book. If I didn't have a two year old daughter I would to the same thing as Will. Why, because it's my fucking choice! I don't give a shit if anyone here has a problem with my choice. I've served my country 18 years, I've EARNED the right to my choice. Call it what you want Alex, still my choice.

Sammy Sines said...

First of all, it is just a movie. they tried to capture the "hopeless romance" theme, and they succeded. Second of all, how dare you think you know what is best for the character? if he knows he cannot find happieness(which is very hard for a quadrapalegic) then i dont blame him for ending his suffering

Pavel Zvak said...

Dear Will.
Your daughter is a reflection that your life has irreplaceable value. Your choice to stay
has very much social dimension to it and it will be so even if your daughter does not exist because we are social beeings by nature. Your life has irreplaceable value in itself. I wish the best for you and your dear daughter!
Pavel
ps. What about granddoughter sometime down the road?