I keep a running list of potential blogging topics. At least once a week, I go through and add new topics, and erase or rewrite topics I’ve changed my mind about. Here is what’s on my topic list today:
  • Disability policy questions for election candidates.
  • Tips for being a disability advocate without being an asshole.
  • How I really feel about my disabilities.
  • A preference for passion or policy?
  • The difference between advocacy and activism.
  • Notes for people who think ableism isn’t a problem.
  • My take on “Political Correctness.”
  • Which is worse, opposition or ignorance?
  • Discredited ideas about disability.
  • Intentions don’t matter, except that they sort of do.
  • How disability issues differ from other kinds of policy issues.
  • Exploring pessimism and optimism in disability culture.
  • “Educating” people is a profession and a calling, not an obligation.
  • Is there a “Disability Agenda?”
  • Exploring the different neighborhoods within the “disability community.”
  • Inspirational disability stories that don’t make me want to throw up.
  • I wish I could talk to my parents about how they dealt with my disabilities.
  • Checking my privilege, disability edition.
  • The disability version of “respectability politics.”
  • My take on “Intersectionality.”
  • The evolving arguments for disability rights.
  • My most embarrassing disability-related moment.
  • What do disabled people fear most?
What should I write about over the next few weeks? I would also like to learn about how other disability bloggers decide what to write. Please add your thoughts below!

Throwback Thursday

A year ago in Disability Thinking: Normal People Sick. I guess I wasn’t feeling well. Also, “God damn these vampires.”
I don’t know where or when I first ran across the phrase, “Normal People Sick.” I suspect it was on Tumblr, but I’m not sure. I do know that when I first read “Normal People Sick” I identified with it immediately. It’s a useful expression for disabled people. We need a way to distinguish between health problems that are an everyday component of our disabilities … like chronic pain … and the kinds of illnesses everyone gets … like colds and flu. The distinction doesn’t always mean much in practical terms, but I like how it helps reinforce the fact that disabilities are not illnesses, and that being sick is a very different experience from being disabled.

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Dueling Dualisms

Black and white yin yang symbol
It seems like 90% of disability blogging is about a few fundamental questions:
1. Is disability mainly a disadvantage to overcome, or a social identity to embrace and explore?
2. Which is more important, making better disability policy, or increasing awareness and acceptance?
3. Should we try to be as open and understanding as possible with non-disabled people, or should we draw and reinforce strict social boundaries to protect ourselves?
Most disability blogging either poses versions of these questions or asserts answers to them. What other basic either / or questions make up the current disability conversation?


Weekly Reading List

Picture of a multi-colored stack of books
This time, it’s a selection from several weeks worth of disability reading … quite a lot about the work, and the meaning of “disabled.”
This Outnumbered Mama – August 14, 2015

A parent of an autistic child wrestles with the word “disabled.” It’s well-covered territory for the disability activist community, yet even we still struggle with what to call ourselves and how to respond to how other people call us, and think we should call ourselves. She says it “hurts her heart.” It hurts my head.

Ann Carrns, New York Times – August 28, 2015
This is a pretty good update on what’s happening with the ABLE Act. It still burns that the law doesn’t do anything for people who became disabled in adulthood. For better or for worse, the law’s most active support and motivation came from Developmental Disability groups and “special needs parents,” so maybe it’s not so surprising that the law turned out as it did. On the other hand, I appreciate the Times giving prominence to the idea of disabled people opening ABLE Accounts for themselves, which has tended in the past to be mentioned as an afterthought, if not forgotten altogether.
Jason Russell, Washington Examiner – August 11, 2015
I have said before that the debate shaping up over Social Security Disability gives me the willies, because the program needs to be both reformed and defended. I like some of the ideas here, particularly the idea that “disabled” for employment purposes shouldn’t be a disabled / not disabled binary. But I am suspicious about anything published in a heavily right-wing paper like the Examiner. Ideological crossover appeal can be productive, but it’s also extremely risky.
Smart Ass Cripple – August 10, 2015
As usual, Smart Ass Cripple gets right to the point about the strangeness of equating disability with inability to work. It’s not just a strange, outdated idea, it also puts disabled people and disability advocates in a strange position. We think most of us can work, but we also think most of us need extra support, including in many cases financial support, even when we do work. Sen. Rand Paul thinks more of us should be working, and I agree. But there aren’t many members of Congress lining up to give us more Disability money after we are fortunate enough to get a job.
Rajeev Syal, The Guardian – August 23, 2015
I think it’s essential to follow what’s been happening in the UK, which is going through it’s own round of efforts to “reform” disability benefits. This headline says it all, and might be a warning for us here in the US. There is a huge difference between clearing a path for disabled people who want to work, and forcing disabled people to work who may not be ready, or have suitable employment available to them. The thing is, it’s relatively easy to do the second thing while promising you are only doing the first.
Amelia Thomson Deveaux, – August 24, 2015
We need more coverage like this on disability issues by the new breed of “data” and “explainer” journalism … outlets like,, and the Washington Post’s Wonkblog. Deveaux does a pretty good job here of covering the main theories for why disability employment remains so low. I also agree with one of the articles’ conclusions, that the ADA was never going to make a major impact on the employment rate, no matter what lawmakers and us activists said at the time. It’s helped a lot of individuals deal with discrimination and lack of simple accommodations, but we’ll probably have to look elsewhere for ways to really move the needle.

Disability Blogger Link-Up

How about an end of summer Disability Blogger Link-Up? Share a disability-related blog post or article here, any time between Friday, August 28 and Midnight Sunday, August 30, 2015. And of course, read what others have posted.

Technical note: To make the links easier to browse, in the “Your name” blank, type the title of the article. In the “Your URL” blank, paste the address of the item you are posting.
Then click the “Enter” button. That’s it!

Have fun posting and reading! This Link-Up will close at Midnight Eastern on Sunday. Look for the next regular Disability Blogger Link-Up Friday, September 11, 2015.

… And, We’re Back!

Photo of an iMac on a coffee table

The wonky laptop is now fully retired, and my new iMac is working flawlessly. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. I’m going to ease back into things starting tomorrow, with another Disability Blogger Link-Up. I may as well let you all provide the content for a few days while I get oriented to the new computer.


Death Throes

Picturer of a laptop computer with smoke rising from it
My MacBook Air is dying, fast and ugly.
On Friday, between Tweets about the Disability Blogger Link-Up, I did some comparison shopping and decided to order a new 21.5 inch screen iMac. I think it’s been over 15 years since I bought myself a desktop computer. While I am annoyed at the inconvenience, and a little anxious because I hadn’t planned on a big purchase like this, I am excited to switch to a different kind of computer, with a much bigger screen and a lot more storage.
Until the iMac arrives later this week, I still have my iPad Mini to work with. Unfortunately, it’s cumbersome for blogging, and podcasting work is out of the question. So, it’s going to be a very think week here at Disability Thinking. I will aim to get back to a regular posting schedule next Monday, and finish Part Two of my Disability.TV podcast on Seinfeld by then.
Meanwhile, feel free to browse the Archives (over on the right, scroll down), and the past Disability Blogger Link-Ups.