We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE


Deaf Identity and Internal Revolution

Christophoer Jon Heuer

Publication Year: 2007

Christopher Jon Heuer lost his hearing early, but not before “being able to hear a lot as a kid.” He also received a good education, both in a speech-oriented setting and a signing environment. These varied experiences provided him with the perfect background to write about biases he faced, not only those of a mostly oblivious hearing society, but also those of ideologically restrictive members of the Deaf community. BUG: Deaf Identity and Internal Revolution combines new work of Heuer’s with his best columns from The Tactile Mind Weekly and the National Association of the Deaf’s Mind Over Matter. He addresses all topics – exit interviews, baldness, faith healing, marriage, cats, Christmas trips, backyard campfires in boxer shorts – with a withering wit that spares no aspect of life and deafness. Being “bugged” for Heuer began early: “When I was growing up, my mother’s response to every problem I had was: ‘Well, he just needs to adjust to his deafness.’ Bloody nose? ‘Chris, you need to adjust to your deafness.’ Homework not done? ‘I know it’s hard adjusting to your deafness, honey, but ....’ Acne scarring? ‘Lots of teenagers get zits, Chris. I know it’s hard for you, dealing with this while trying to adjust to your ....’” He rebelled then, and continues through his even-handed irreverence in BUG, a bomb that should go off in everyone’s consciousness about being deaf and Deaf.

Published by: Gallaudet University Press

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (196.2 KB)
pp. 1-17

Well . . . that’s not exactly true. The publication I would write for was to be called The Tactile Mind Weekly (TTMW)— so yes, the column had to be a weekly one. But John never actually specified that my column had to be about something that was “bugging” me. All he really said was that it had to be about deafness. But you see, to me, those two things were one...

read more

Deaf Man Killed by Flying Golf Ball—A Eulogy of Small Accomplishments

pdf iconDownload PDF (68.3 KB)
pp. 18-23

However, there are times when my writing skills are used to justify others’ arrogance. I remember one day about eleven years ago . . . I was working as an educational assistant in an oral program. I was arguing with one of the teachers. I don’t remember exactly what she said, but it went something like...

read more

Chris, Amy, and the Floating Motion Sickness Pills

pdf iconDownload PDF (161.0 KB)
pp. 24-44

Over and over I get these kinds of comments from my single friends. Over and over, I fail to understand them. I’ve been married for seven years, and I can tell you that the very thing single people seem to be the most afraid of—giving up their own way of doing things—is the best part of marriage. My wife Amy, in entirely unplanned and indirect ways, is the person...

read more

One Guy vs. Seven Billion! Can He Win? Can He?!?

pdf iconDownload PDF (58.2 KB)
pp. 45-47

You’re saying you don’t have to learn to sign, because that’s the way of the world! (Translation: the same tired old argument that this is a hearing world, not a Deaf one, and in a hearing world, people speak, not sign!) That is essentially the argument you’re making, no? All righty! The way of the world! Fair enough. If that’s the better argument, it should be able to...

read more

Praying for the Hell’s Angel

pdf iconDownload PDF (99.5 KB)
pp. 48-53

Now see, this is bad. A stall door closes for two reasons: One, it’s probably occupied by a 300-pound Hell’s Angel (complete with a Viking helmet on his head—not the football kind) and logging chains wrapped around his knuckles, or two, it swung shut all by itself, and there’s nobody in there...

read more

Value beyond ASL, Value beyond Breasts

pdf iconDownload PDF (52.5 KB)
pp. 54-55

She was a model—I can’t remember the names of any of the magazines she appeared in, but this is because my brain had to make a choice: look at her portfolio and see the bathing suits she was wearing in the pictures, or carefully memorize the titles of the magazine covers they were on. Guess which choice...

read more

Plastic Souls

pdf iconDownload PDF (40.3 KB)
pp. 56-58

When we were kids, we played with dolls. As adults, we still play with them. Girls had the obvious Barbies. But hey, even the guys had dolls. Those little plastic World War II soldiers you tried to knock over with rocks at ten yards? They qualify. And the Spider Man action figure you swung around your head with twine (and accidentally tossed high into a tree branch...

read more

Point A to Point B Should Bea Straight Line

pdf iconDownload PDF (70.8 KB)
pp. 59-62

At 5 p.m., the people waiting with me get up and form a line. I get in this line. There’s a TV screen above the door leading to the plane. The TV screen lists three different flights. I catch the eye of Desk Girl and raise my eyebrows as if to ask, “This one, right?” She smiles and gives me another thumbs-up...

read more

But I Don’t Want to Buy a Deaf Person!

pdf iconDownload PDF (76.8 KB)
pp. 63-69

Based on the luck I’ve been having lately, I just know that someday the relay operator is going to relay the following conversation over my TDD...

read more

Have Cell Phone, Am God

pdf iconDownload PDF (96.8 KB)
pp. 70-79

Situation: a guy driving down the freeway (at, say, sixty miles per hour) speaks into his cell phone to a friend ten miles away. “I heard you!” he shouts into the phone. “I’ll meet you in front of McDonalds in ten minutes!”...

read more

One Roll of Tape and Your Whole World Collapses

pdf iconDownload PDF (51.1 KB)
pp. 80-84

What we’ll do is offer a point system! Ten points for every hour they can go without taking the tape off. Twenty-five points for realizing why a cup with a handle is superior to a glass without one. Fifty more points for every successful bathroom trip that requires toilet paper. A hundred points for every disturbed expression received while shaking hands. And...

read more

Minority = Pathology?

pdf iconDownload PDF (50.8 KB)
pp. 85

Saying that deafness is a pathological condition is simply a few synonyms away from saying that deafness is a medical condition. That, in turn, is only a few synonyms away from saying deafness is a biological condition...

read more

The Real World—Bigger than You Think

pdf iconDownload PDF (48.7 KB)
pp. 86

Regardless of what Hearing America would have you believe, the “English-speaking world” (as opposed to the ASL-fluent one) is not the “real” world. There are around 190 nations on this planet. Only 45 of them, or about one-fourth, list English as their official language...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (32.7 KB)
pp. 87

Since birth, one masked doctor after another clutching at your ankles, holding you upside down. In a breeze of fluttering eyelids, groups of trembling medical students look up to you, gathered around your head in a huddle...

read more

Cash My Check, You Flying Brick-Headed Rat-Pole Witch!

pdf iconDownload PDF (38.7 KB)
pp. 88-89

Network censors seem to be taking advantage of the very lipreading fallacies that author Henry Kissor discussed in his book What’s That Pig Outdoors? (Do you notice how that looks exactly the same on the lips as “What’s that big loud noise?”). “F-ck you,” for example, seems to have now become “Forget you!” in the captions. “Suck my d-ck” has become...

read more

What Criteria for “Well-Meaning?”

pdf iconDownload PDF (65.4 KB)
pp. 90-92

Cochlear implants are advocated for by well-meaning but ignorant hearing audiologists. The actual surgery is done by well-meaning hearing surgeons. The children are then educated in oral schools by well-meaning but destructive hearing teachers, who, in turn, are backed up by well-meaning but whatever (pick an adjective) hearing speech therapists, psychologists...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (61.7 KB)
pp. 93-96

Quite a few times in life, I’ve had people say, “Quit feeling sorry for yourself!” or “You’re so full of self-pity!” Usually the people who said this with the most force were, at the time, people I considered to be close friends...

read more

He May Not Understand, but He Still Ranks a Five

pdf iconDownload PDF (50.5 KB)
pp. 97-101

Okay? You win. All of your helpful analogies have convinced me (“To understand childbirth, swallow a gallon of water, hold it for nine months, then lay on your back and try to pee with your feet set in stirrups.”). There isn’t one more episode of Oprah I can watch that will help. For all men everywhere, I surrender...

read more

That’s You, That’s Your Beer—Keep Them Separate

pdf iconDownload PDF (60.8 KB)
pp. 102-103

I see this again and again: A mother confides in me that her mainstreamed Deaf child has low self-esteem because he doesn’t have any friends. My Deaf friend tells me her self-esteem is currently low because her boyfriend just broke up with her. A Deaf student blames his shattered self-esteem on the “F” I just gave him on his paper...

read more

Guess What? My Hearing Ancestors Had Sex Too!

pdf iconDownload PDF (46.5 KB)
pp. 104-107

Look, don’t get me wrong. If you’re proud of your family and your heritage, that’s great. If your great Deaf grandmother out-drank Wyatt Earp and convinced him to fund the Dodge City Signing Saloon, good for her. And that’s a story I don’t want you to skip...

read more

Backstabbers Aim for Your Back, so Why Cover Your Ass?

pdf iconDownload PDF (76.4 KB)
pp. 108-112

People complain that backstabbers in our community are so brutally efficient at what they do because nobody ever sees them coming. Well, take that reasoning one step further. Why don’t you see them coming? Could it be because you’re too wrapped up in being extra careful? (Translation: covering your ass...

read more

He Wrote about Ring Bologna and Disappeared

pdf iconDownload PDF (74.6 KB)
pp. 113-118

My version of hell: I’m condemned to float around for eternity on a giant piece of ring bologna in a huge subterranean cavern that’s half-filled with ring bologna juice. The steam rising from the bottomless depths sticks to my skin like a wet rubber hospital glove. I have nothing to eat except lukewarm ring bologna...

read more

You Don’t Have 100 Percent to Give

pdf iconDownload PDF (69.0 KB)
pp. 119-127

“I expect 100 percent out of you at all times!” he would simultaneously roar and sign at us. “If you can’t give me 100 percent, then I want 110 percent!” Then he would drive his golf cart to the top of this humongous three-story hill that overlooked WSD’s football field, get out, and glare down at us in the...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (54.0 KB)
pp. 128-129

Fallout is a bitch, isn’t it? You’re left wondering—why do people, especially your friends, hold things back from you? Are you unapproachable? Or are they taking the easy way out by avoiding conflict? Plus now you’ve got the added complication of Friend #2 (who just told you that Friend #1 was mad at you). Do you act like you don’t know? Or do you burn Friend...

read more

Advice on Tennis and Pain

pdf iconDownload PDF (50.9 KB)
pp. 130-134

Get three games into the first set so the number of lobs wind down and the hard cross-court shots start coming. Get a return pattern going. Feel out weaknesses and strengths. Run like you’re still 18 instead of 36. Or even be careful about it—it won’t matter. Play enough, and you will get hurt...

read more

Institutionalized Just Like You

pdf iconDownload PDF (63.4 KB)
pp. 135-138

In fact, pretty much everything built by humankind is an institution. A church, for example, is an institution in both the physical and abstract sense (i.e., the Church). You don’t technically even need an institution (a building) to put your institution (an organization) in, just to have an institution (an abstract concept)...

read more

Research—The Best Way to Avoid Real Answers

pdf iconDownload PDF (115.5 KB)
pp. 139-145

I’m a dissertation away from a Ph.D. in adult literacy and educational counseling, so trust me when I tell you I no longer breathe oxygen—I breathe research statistics. I no longer eat food—I eat research papers (and drink the black typewriter ink they are printed in). When I sleep, I dream of setting alpha levels and checking for Type II errors...

read more

Guys in Ties? One Tug Closer to Strangulation!

pdf iconDownload PDF (102.2 KB)
pp. 146-153

Explain this to me: The first thing a guy takes off after he gets home from work is his tie. In fact, most men can’t even wait that long to finally chuck the damned thing across the room. Want to know how to identify the car of a man? Look in the back seat. There’ll be eight crumpled ties back there, scattered amongst the empty 7-11 Big Gulp...

read more

Engineering Efficient Institutions

pdf iconDownload PDF (96.8 KB)
pp. 154-159

What we’ll do is genetically engineer all junior faculty for limited lung capacity. Since nobody listens to them anyway, and for their own job security, we’ll only allow them to retain three seconds’ worth of oxygen. In addition to this, mandatory speech training from birth onward will be provided, and it will teach them to say only one...

read more

Visible Scars

pdf iconDownload PDF (40.4 KB)
pp. 160-162

I come from what you would call a “working-class/poor” background. My father was a farmer until we lost our farm. After that, he was either a farmhand on somebody else’s farm or a factory worker until the day he retired (when we didn’t have any money, sometimes he was both simultaneously). My...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (37.5 KB)
pp. 163-164

I personally learned the prayer from Al-Anon when I was about fourteen. For those of you unfamiliar with Al-Anon, it’s a support group for people sharing a part of their lives with an alcoholic. In my case, that was my Dad. In somebody else’s case, it was a husband, a wife, a brother, a friend. The only...

read more

The Starving African Children Ain’t Got Nothin’ on Us

pdf iconDownload PDF (111.5 KB)
pp. 165-177

Now I, for one, have never understood the logic behind these kinds of statements. What, exactly, is the significance of starving African children when we’re discussing, say, the crappy condition of Deaf education in the United States or the fact that a deaf person might have a harder time finding a job than...

read more

“. . . Anything Except Hear,” Including Believe Inspirational Bullshit

pdf iconDownload PDF (62.8 KB)
pp. 178-179

When it comes to literacy, there are two interpretations for the word can. In one interpretation, can is conditional. If you are exposed to an accessible language from birth onwards—and by that I mean truly accessible, something that you can absorb easily—chances are higher that you’ll acquire the linguistic...

read more

Another Problem with “Deaf People Can. . . .”

pdf iconDownload PDF (66.8 KB)
pp. 180-188

Here’s another thing I hate about the saying, “Deaf people can do anything except hear.” What about all of the supposedly “deaf” people who can hear? I know quite a few who still have some remnant of that pesky sense left in their skulls. I see them on campus all the time, I-Pods jammed in their ears, practically...

read more

On Being Brave

pdf iconDownload PDF (62.6 KB)
pp. 189-190

I’m tired of being surrounded by cowards. I hate them more and more every day. Always working behind the scenes; forever picking their battles. Always taking issue with how something is said, but somehow never around when it’s time to speak up on the issue...

read more

I Thought You Were KGB!

pdf iconDownload PDF (49.2 KB)
pp. 191-194

My grandfather’s good friends, Karl and his wife Gretchen, were still living in East Berlin when the deconstruction of the Berlin Wall began in 1989. The citizens of Berlin (both halves) played no small part in its destruction, attacking it enthusiastically with sledgehammers for nearly a year until it was all gone. Rumor has it that this was the only way they could get...

read more

Strip Club Literacy

pdf iconDownload PDF (60.2 KB)
pp. 195-197

Every night, millions of international businessmen end up in strip clubs near American airports. It matters very little whether or not they can speak or read even a single word of English. From Japan to Hawaii (in either direction), everyone knows that Paradise Oasis isn’t a fruit-drink store. The blinking neon Exotic Dancers sign...

read more

Let’s Bring Back “Deaf and Dumb”

pdf iconDownload PDF (89.9 KB)
pp. 198-201

Let me specify something. In my experience, you can divide Deaf people who refuse to learn English into two general groups. One group is comprised of people who were never exposed to a primary language of any kind before the age of two— either English or ASL—thus it’s not even a question of “refuse to.” They can’t learn English because they lack the linguistic...

read more

Parenthood in the Blizzard

pdf iconDownload PDF (40.3 KB)
pp. 202-204

I approach the dynamics of successful weight loss from what you might call the loser’s point of view. My idea of exercise is climbing out of my lounge chair to get a popsicle. And believe me, when I can afford one of those new chairs with freezer units built into the armrests, I’m buying one...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (72.6 KB)
pp. 205-208

I used to work with this kid, Junior. He was a pain in the ass from day one. He had no language ability whatsoever, meaning he could barely spell his own name. He was immature as hell, too . . . around anyone he happened to be with. Teachers, other deaf students, hearing students, you name it...

read more

The Economy of Love and Paying Attention

pdf iconDownload PDF (72.0 KB)
pp. 209-218

Ah, but then some idiot screwed everything up with Love. Love is free, you see! Love is patient; love is kind! There’s no scoreboard; friends don’t keep track! It isn’t a competition and it isn’t a war, except maybe for male actors in chick flicks playing cynical Wall Street yuppie businessmen who nonetheless melt and fall in love with the girl by the end of the show...

read more

Final Notes for Hearing / Nonsigning Parents

pdf iconDownload PDF (52.4 KB)
pp. 219-220

For safety’s sake, the Deaf community should have an equal say in how deaf children are raised by hearing parents. How these parents teach their children to perceive themselves directly influences how hearing people in general come to perceive deaf people in general. Therefore if a deaf child is not taught self-esteem skills, he will become an easy target for hearing bullies...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (59.5 KB)
pp. 221-227

The introduction to this book was completed sometime in the beginning of April 2006, approximately one month before the Unity for Gallaudet (UFG) protest began. I was tempted many times throughout the protest to change what I had written, especially in light of the way the phrase “not Deaf enough” was being used to distract the public from realities that had...

E-ISBN-13: 9781563683886
E-ISBN-10: 1563683881
Print-ISBN-13: 9781563683572
Print-ISBN-10: 1563683571

Page Count: 244
Publication Year: 2007