What are the narratives of the Paralympics?

Well, if we were any doubt about some of the underpinning narratives of the Paralympics over the last 2 weeks, the closing ceremony has given us a strong clue about one of them: the military story.  The story which emphasises impairment as a result of military action: the story which emphasises heroism; the story which emphasises the successful melding of  metal and human.  Coe himself draws on the 7/7 story to describe why the Paralympics have been important: as closure on terrorist acts (carried out in the name of god only knows what). And  with the director emphasising that we shouldn’t be looking for narratives, this should make us even more alert to what is being peddled under the banner of disability.

So, is there a correlation between achievement at the Paralympics and levels of militarily or industrial induced  impairment caused by  the countries who are at the top of the medal table?

2 thoughts on “What are the narratives of the Paralympics?

  1. Interesting points. However, it’s worth noting the heavy disconnect between militarily and industrial induced impairment in America and their comparatively poor performance at the Paralympics and the even more staggering paucity of coverage on NBC.
    I’d also like to say that as the able-bodied partner of someone with disabilities the Paralympics has caused me to doubt words like ‘impairment’ (and yes, ‘able-bodied’ and ‘disability’). I don’t have an ideological belief in political correctness, but if nothing else it’s provoking both thought and discussion.

  2. Thanks for your feedback. Yeh, the lack of coverage in the US is something thats puzzling some of us over here too. The interesting note to add is that many media commentators are now suggesting that there is no such thing as ‘disabled’ or ‘disability’ given the achievements of the paralympians. You can see what they mean… but the excising of any word out of the language is always something to be quizzical about.

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