Thursday, December 14, 2017

Sign Language Ridiculed

"ASL" spelled out in American Sign Language fingerspelling (Psihedelisto)
"Sign Language Interpreter Delivered Gibberish at Serial Killer Press Conference," ran the headline in The New York Post (12/5/17). Any viewer conversant in ASL, American Sign Language, was going to realize that the frantic waving of the imposter wasn’t making sense. And naturally the interpreter, Derlyn Roberts, was replaced, but what was she thinking? The video which has become viral and which played on CBS looks like a cruel parody of signing perhaps based upon Little Eva’s 60’s "Loco-motion." Saturday Night Live could never touch this kind of material, but it was truly unrehearsed standup improvisation, recused from the protections of art and beyond anything any professional could have invented, if they had set about to ridicule the language of the deaf.  Even by the standards of the most blatant fraud, Roberts must have been desperate to pull such a stunt. No publicity is bad publicity goes the old saw, but putting yourself in front of the camera at a police press conference over the apprehension of a serial murderer is like trying to get away with murder. Fake news? This isn’t the first time imposters have pretended they know ASL. According to The Post story, back in 2013 a schizophrenic posing as a signer appeared while Barack Obama and other heads of state were speaking at Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

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