What do disabled people, fat people, and indigenous languages have in common? They’re not disposable.

Read ‘Ems for today:

Sunday Telegraph: Quadriplegic left on train

Mark McCauley, a man with quadriplegia, was abandoned on a New South Wales CityRail train for four hours when the train lost power. The ambulatory passengers were all evacuated one hour into the debacle. Luckily, he had his mobile phone on him. His first call, to CityRail, wasn’t so helpful:

“I rang CityRail and told the lady I was stuck . . . and at the end of the conversation she said ‘That’s fine sir, somebody will get back to you in two or three days’.

His second call was to 000. They just rang CityRail and had a manager call him back. McCauley reports:

“She said we can’t get you off the train until we restore power – it could be in the early hours of the morning.”

Mr McCauley was in need of medication by then. Luckily, construction workers volunteered to remove him from the train with a forklift.

CityRail’s apology? Two one-day free rail passes.


Thorn’s guest post series on kateharding.net is heart-rending and beautifully written. I don’t know what else to say about this, except that it’s absolutely essential blog reading – don’t miss it. I’ll let the it speak for itself; links to the three-part series are below the excerpt.

So when I was about 11 years old, and Mom went to see her doctor because of some problem she was having, and he scathingly told her that her problem was she was fat, and not to come back to him until she’d lost 50 pounds? Yeah. It hurt her. It hurt her bad. But she believed in the rules. And so she tried to ignore how hurt she was and focused on trying extra-hard to get back to following those rules.

Fat Hatred Kills, Part One

Fat Hatred Kills, Part Two

Fat Hatred Kills, Part Three


Lastly, a pointer to some blogs I’ve only discovered recently, all by Australian linguists.

1. Wamut blogs at that munanga linguist. One recent post had me smiling: Politics and getting on with it. Wamut describes the way in which the CDEP team is learning to take over most of the linguistics work for themselves.

You know, when I started working in communities, I was probably no different from most linguists when they start off. Fieldwork seemed to be about documenting language from an old person and the function of community members was little more than providing oral language – all the recording, writing, analysis was then done by the munanga linguist. But what I love about my work at the moment is that the guys I work with are doing more and more of everything – transcribing, typing up stuff, uploading sound files, recording, creating materials etc.

CDEP is an indigenous training, employment, and cultural integrity programme providing community development, infrastructure and hope for young indigenous people – but is currently under severe threat from Commonwealth funding cuts.

2. Langguj Gel is doing linguistics fieldwork in Katherine, in the Northern Territory.

3. Jangari blogs at mattjin-nehen and, like Langguj Gel, is doing fieldwork in the NT.

4. And one to watch: Pama-Nyungan reconstruction: Exploration of Australian Linguistic Prehistory, from a newly grant-enabled Claire Bowern. The project is explained here: NSF Career grant. Excerpted:

While we know that humans have lived in Australia for more than 40,000 years, we do not know how speakers of the 250 currently attested languages came to live where they do today. This project uses linguistic evidence to trace the history of Aboriginal people in prehistoric times. Systematic similarities between words in these languages can be used to reconstruct various properties of prehistoric languages. These techniques will be used to determine the structure of the Pama-Nyungan language family, which will shed light on prehistoric population movements.

Categories: gender & feminism, health, history, indigenous, language

Tags: , , , ,

3 replies

  1. Fantastic post – really interesting links.

  2. Thanks bluemilk.
    I’m still amazed that story number one dropped like a stone in the news media/blogging world. A couple of newspaper reports, and a collective shrug.
    I end up wondering: did everyone shake their heads and move on (it being a SotBO[1] that this was horrendous), or do they really not give a damn that this man was just abandoned completely alone, unable to move, and for all anyone knew without a means of communication? Then told someone would be within in a couple or three days, and not even helped after dialling 000? In the middle of a big city – just left?
    But it seems like just about every other bit of outrage, even the SotBOs, get a heap of blogplay. So I can’t help wondering whether people really, truly, just don’t give a shit about people whose legs don’t work.
    Sorry. In a bit of a mood today.
    [1] Statement of the Bleeding Obvious


  1. Disabled in a disaster? Just wait until we’ve helped all the real people, all right? at Hoyden About Town
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