Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Thank you, A.D.A.

I'ma get get get get you drunk
Get you love drunk off my hump
My hump my hump my hump my hump my hump
My hump my hump my hump my lovely little lumps

– From the song "My Humps" by the Black Eyed Peas

I'm an able-bodied man, without any real noticeable defects (other than that of character). I've no real comprehension as to what life would be like were I to be living it with a disability. I can sympathize, but not empathize.

When the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed nearly 16 years ago, I took a casual notice, thinking, it's probably a good thing that the cripples can get in and out of bathrooms in public places now. Of course, I'm sensitive enough to have only thought it and not spoken it aloud.

This morning, however, the full impact of the A.D.A. hit me when I heard My Humps. There was a time, not long ago at all, that this woman would never have been able to use a deformity, in this case a hump, as an object of sexual desire, much less sing about it in a song. Remember Quasimodo? In Victor Hugo's classic novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Quasimodo was ridiculed, ostracized and ultimately banned from a life among "normal people." His crime was being born with a hump! Were Quasimodo alive today, I dare say he would have been banging more than bells in the bell tower.

They say I'm really sexy
The boys they wanna sex me
They always standin next to me
Always dancin next to me
Tryna feel my hump hump
Lookin at my lump lump

Can you visualize this? This isn't a "poor woman with a hump," as any of us would have thought before the Black Eyed Peas enlightened us. This is a "sexy woman with a hump," more akin to Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein or Buffalo Hump in Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove tetralogy than anything close to Quasimodo.

Yes, we need to acknowledge and improve a great many inequalities in this country. But we also need to celebrate our victories, and My Humps is one of them.

God bless America.

My love my love my love my love
You love my lady lumps
My hump my hump my hump
My humps they got you...


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