August 19, 2011

Why Does This Bother Me So Much? What's the Big Deal?

Anonymous wrote, in my previous blog entry:

I don't get it... why does this bother you so much. There are so much more things to worry about than trying to get swear words to show up on the screen. The world is bad enough already as it is... focus your time, energy and efforts on something that would change the world for the better rather than some crude measely words that aren't showing up on the screen.

Good question. Why does this bother me so much? Yes, there are millions of other things I could be focusing my time and energy on that could possibly change the world for better. Yes. The world is bad enough as it is. True.

Let me explain.
  • It bothers me because it is personal. I enjoy watching the show Breaking Bad and I rely on closed captions to help me follow what it being said. I don't like looking at several words with dashes in them, like h---, b---, b------, G--, J-----, s---- when I am trying to follow what is going on. But, that is not the point. What bothers me is that they are only censoring the captions, not when it is spoken. I would not care if the spoken version was censored too. It may not be a big deal to you, but it is to me.
  • It should not matter what I complain about or choose to spend my time making a big fuss about. If there are things you are worried about and would like to see change, then by all means do something about it! That's what I am doing. I see something that upsets me and I want to see something done about it.
  • Obviously you do not follow my blog if you think I don't spend my time, energy, and focus on other important things. I am an itinerant teacher of deaf and hard of hearing students mainstreamed in public schools. I spend five days a week, 9-10 hours a day, fighting for my students and educating teachers, administrators, and parents about the various problems and issues these students come across daily. I make sure they have their accommodations. I make sure that they are included and given the same opportunities as everyone else to fully participate in class and outside of class. I have to constantly remind teachers not to cover their mouths when speaking, not to seat the student in the noisiest part of the room, not to ignore the fact that the student's hearing aid stopped working or that their FM system stopped working, not to dismiss my students' feelings of frustrations because "It shouldn't be a big deal." and etc., etc. etc. I am constantly fighting for these students. I have dealt with teachers who did not think it was a big deal that they could not provide closed captions or subtitles for my severely deaf student when she showed movies in class because a) She was not going to grade or test the student on the material shown in the videos, because it was just for fun. And b) "It wasn't a big deal. The student seems fine with it." I provide the students and their families loads of information they can use and insight of what it is like to be hard of hearing. I help families find places where they can get hearing related services for free or at discounted prices. With my own money, I bought some students hearing aid batteries to last them for six months when their families were going through tough times financially. My shoulder gets cried on at least once a week. I sit and let people unload their frustrations on me just about everyday. I recycle. I take care of a cat that lives on the street. I spend time with my family and friends as much as I can. There are a number of other things I do to try to make this world a better place for someone, and one of them happens to be to make sure television shows and movies provide quality closed captions that caption everything that can be heard, even if they are swear words.
  • Some of the words they censor are not what I would consider to be swear words such as "balls" or "fiddlesticks", which I think is ridiculous and worth getting upset over.
  • I have a lot of energy and somehow I find the time to blog about things that I am passionate about, things I am concerned about, and things I wonder about.
  • If no one talks about things that upsets them, nothing will get changed. If we can somehow convince one network not to heavily censor only the words found in closed captions, it would make a difference. If anything, I am raising awareness about the importance of providing quality closed captions.
  • It is a great learning experience. I am learning about who to contact, how to do it, what to do to raise awareness about issues I care about. Maybe this will be great training for when I try to tackle even tougher issues like getting more movie theaters to provide open captions or subtitles for newly released movies.
  • If nothing comes of it, at least I can say I tried. I stood up for what I believed in, regardless of what others say, even if it seems meaningless to some.
Hope this explains it.



  1. very very well summed up. May I quote some of this? (credit given, natch). It better fleshes out my reasoning. "Because it makes me feel like I'm being treated as an inferior being." Thank you for spelling your reasons out.

  2. Of course you can, Scott. Thank you.

  3. You have my support. Censoring words that are clearly heard is meaningless. It makes me wonder if they think that HoH people are somehow inferior to other people, when they have to protect them from what can be clearly and easily heard.

  4. I was laughing at Bachelor Pad's caption censoring the other day. The captions said [bleep].... and the word was BS! Not even the full word. The people on the show literally said, "That's such BS." I know that they said it, because I'm hearing (captions for deaf friend).

    Seriously? "BS" is worth censoring? That's BS! ;)

  5. the world will be a better place if people know how to treat other people with respect.And understand they have human rights too. Yep, you are changing the world starting with one small step.

  6. You go girl!

    Amy Cohen Efron

  7. Now just learned the same thing is being done on USA network! If this is a trend, this MUST be stopped. I find it very disturbing that the networks stance that we so emotionally fragile and needs to be protected and coddled. Such paternalism is nothing but offensive to me. Again again, this is being ignored in the national media to get the story out. Why am I getting the feeling from some that I am not officially deaf when I complain these people because I can hear the words, and wearing hearing aids would somehow disqualify me from there concerns. It is SO wrong that this does NOT violate the FCC regs. Nowhere does it say it have to be VERBATIM! If anything, we get national media exposure and take it to the sponsors who advertise on the networks and voice your objection and they pull the ads in face this contemptuously open and flagrant discrimination!

  8. It's like they think we are kids. It's censorship and worth fighting IMO.


  9. Why complain about censorship when we have plenty vlogs like and theres plenty more uncensored vlogs at and why complain if you cant see s__t where theres another place you can see plenty of it.

  10. There was a time when I used to be like that anonymous commenter - in terms of thinking there were more important things to be fighting for, like getting interpreters when needed or something else education/work related.

    Then somewhere along the line I realized that sometimes the small battles are just as important as the bigger ones. Sometimes you need to make a small difference in one area to lead to a bigger difference later on. Maybe getting someone to listen and understand in one area will lead to that person to becoming an ally when we need them somewhere else down the road. You never know. It also shouldn't matter if it's "just entertainment" - as entertainment is in some ways entertainment can be just as important as work and education.

    I don't watch anything on AMC so I haven't been directly effected. However, I don't like it any more than you do - so I do see it as something worth bringing up and fighting to change. Especially if it's now happening on USA network as Lidell Simpson said above - I hadn't noticed it ever happening on the two shows I watched but it's I'll keep an eye out for it.

  11. (e

    Just a thought - if you continue to get stonewalled, you might try going after AMC’s pocketbook. Several years ago, my local cable was dropping captions across several channels regularly. I e-mailed each time and somewhere in each e-mail I reminded them that “no captions means no viewers for your corporate sponsors in this entire household.”

    Corporations do not want a reputation as sponsors of discrimination. If you can dig out the information on corporate sponsors over the entire AMC network, then contact the ones who spend the most at AMC. Tell them that they are sponsoring discrimination and send copies to AMC. If that does not work, organize a boycott of AMC’s biggest advertisers (advertisers over the whole network, not just ‘Breaking Bad’). If you can dig out the information on corporate sponsors and organize enough people, you can make a dent.

    Hope this helps. Let me know if you decide to go the boycott route, I’ll give you my support.


  12. Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. I was hoping you woudn't take it the wrong way. I was just curious and now you have put things into better perspective for me. I am deaf and I guess I just don't let the censoring bother me. But its nice to see your perspective and see why you would feel the way you do and others as well. More power to you in making a difference and God speed.

  13. Thanks, David. Did not think of contacting the sponsors. I'll contact you when I can use your help. Thank you!

    Thanks everyone else for your support.

    Anonymous - I always welcome criticism and questions. I thought you asked a good question. You were not alone in wondering why I was making a big deal about this. I did not take it the wrong way; I understood where you were coming from. If anything, it made me think more about why this is so important to me.

    Thanks. :)

  14. I have heard of Breaking Bad, had not watched it till tonight when I flipped channels. That kind of captioning is NOT acceptable!!! I do watch Walking Dead and it is on AMC, I don't think I've seen similar captioning on Walking Dead. It's hard to follow what they're saying, without the cussin words. It's confusing. So, I turn the sound up higher and it's better. But, what about many who can't hear?


  15. Candy, yes, you have to see it to really understand. I am glad that you had the chance to see why it is a problem.

  16. @Candy. The Walking Dead does it as well. I live alone and didn't know about the sound/censoring, I thought it was both, issue until I posted a comment on The Killing. I bought the first season on DVD - rent next time - but they don't censor on the DVD. So basically it's a big "yuppers" AMC does this on ALL of their shows.


Keep it civil.