Thursday, February 02, 2012

What's Your Take? -New Mobility Magazine Selects Artie Abrams of Glee as its Person of the Year

Nothing like a little controversy to get the special needs juices flowing. That's what New Mobility magazine has generated with their cover of Artie Abrams from Glee as its Person of the Year.

For starters, Abrams is a fictional character on the ever-popular program, Glee. He's portrayed by able-bodied actor Kevin McHale, who's become a teen pop-phenom in a role that many actors with disabilities feel should have gone to someone with the cast member's disability. In short, many believe that casting of such roles with able-bodied actors takes away the too-few opportunities to make a creative living by actors who live the realities of disability each day. I believe that's the harsh reality.

On the other end of the discussion is the reality that the role, regardless of who's in it, has generated huge awareness and discussion and perhaps greater understanding and acceptance of those with special needs by the millions of viewers watching the show each week, and that's priceless.

So what's your take? Should a television actor without a disability who's portraying someone with special needs be honored in this way? Does Abrams/McHale's performance and the attention to the subject matter warrant such recognition, or does this choice add fuel to the justification of taking away key acting roles from those with real disabilities? Weigh in. Raise your voice and write the editors of the magazine and tell them exactly what you think.

New Mobility editorial staff admits that their intention was to rattle cages and create controversy with their choice of the cover teen.

Mission accomplished.

Read the piece here.

Special Note: Lauren Potter's role of Becky Jackson on the Glee has also become a phenom. Potter plays a character with Down syndrome, a disability the actress has.

Courtesy cover.

1 comment:

Toni said...

First off, let me say how I love Lauren Potter! She is such a good actress on gLee (a show I fell in love with last year). Kevin McHale is one of my favorites on the show as well. Should he be person of the year...well, I just don't know. Being a special education teacher I feel as if the role were played by someone who actually had the character's disability, it would mean more to be "Person of the Year" for New Mobility Magazine. At the same time I like this character because of the attention it has brought to people with disabilities. Kevin McHale does an outstanding job portraying Artie and I feel he has helped bring to light the need for acceptance for all people with or without disabilities. So my final decision would have to be based on the fact that the article is more revolved around the "Artie" character being person of the year. With all the young people who watch gLee week after week, Artie is showing them that no matter what you can or can't do physically does not determine everything in your life. Artie is a sweet, caring person on the show who helps his friends in any way he can and treats others with respect. He doesn't feel sorry for himself and he still sets goals that he strives to reach. I really don't see any harm in that. If Kevin McHale's character helps one person see past someone's disability to the person they are on the inside, that is a job well done. Of course, this is just my opinion.