The other day, DeafPundit, a regular DeafDC commenter, posted the following blog on her own site: http://deafpundit.wordpress.com/2007/04/09/i-wonder/
After I posted a reply to another reply for that blog, I started thinking about what it really means. The original reply, written by MishKazena, said:
I think our blogs and vlogs will be archives and studied carefully for decades to come, more like specimen under microscope by social scientists, linguistics and ASL/Deaf Studies students. With the rapid utilitization of cochlear implants and future implementation of genetic engineering to repair the deaf genes, the Deaf Community as we know will shrink.My own reply:
That leads me to the following...
I’m not so sure that the Deaf Community will shrink. I think it will change — it already IS changing. No cultures or communities are stagnant, anyway. I think it would be a huge mistake to try to keep the Deaf Culture “as is” at this moment in time. Think about how much we’ve changed in the last 5-6 years, thanks to the advent of two-way pagers, the Sidekick(tm), Treo(tm), BlackBerry(tm), etc., high-speed internet, videophones, digital cameras with video capability, and of course…
Blogging seems to be the new Deaf Club. And there’s no bigger “Deaf Club” than DeafDC right now.
The Deaf community/Culture as we know it is constantly changing. We can hardly say that things have stayed the same as 100 years ago, much less 20 years ago. For many of us, we no longer regularly have to "plan in advance" our meetings, our get-togethers, our times to catch up. With a few keystrokes on a wireless device, it's now possible to meet up at a bar, a friend's house, or even a park, for some catching up time. Just last week, I imed a friend about 3 hours before the DC DPHH started to see if she was interested in getting together for a bite to eat beforehand. She was. We did.
No longer are the long-goodbyes needed; instead, the reason we take forever to leave a place is because we want to say goodbye to everyone we know there. And now it's "see you next month," or "I'll email you tomorrow" or "oh, send me an email, we can figure that out." The goodbyes themselves are relatively quick. A hug, a smile, maybe even a peck on the cheek, and away we go, knowing that we will see each other in the Online World.
Is that a good or bad thing? Do we still need the real Deaf Clubs? Do we still need a "home base" where we can get together on weekends, shoot pool, hang out and commiserate with one another? Or is a happy hour once a month, on Friday evenings, sufficient? And are the happy hours really welcoming to those in our large Deaf community who may not be comfortable because they don't drink (for various reasons -- religion, addiction, etc.)?