I had to check the date at the top of the newspaper this morning to make sure I hadn’t slipped into a time warp and landed on April Fools Day.
US judge rules Netflix subject to disability act
A federal judge in Springfield has ruled that Netflix and other online providers that serve the public are subject to federal disabilities laws, a decision that could require TV shows and movies streamed over the Internet to include captions for the deaf or other accommodations.
On Tuesday, US District Judge Michael Ponsor rejected Netflix’s argument that it is exempt from the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA. He declined to dismiss an ADA lawsuit against Netflix for failing to provide captions on much of the content it streams to subscribers.
Web-based businesses did not exist when the disabilities act was enacted in 1990, the judge wrote, but the US Congress intended the law to adapt to changes in technology, and it should apply to websites.
The complaint was filed by the National Association of the Deaf, the Western Massachusetts Association of the Deaf and Hearing Impaired, and Lee Nettles, a staffer at the Stavros Center for Independent Living in Springfield.
Nettles said Netflix discriminates against the hearing-impaired, forcing them to to avoid its streaming service and pay for more expensive DVD rentals to ensure the movies and TV shows they rent are equipped with captions. “It has to be equal accessibility to all people using it,” he said. “It has to be 100 percent equality.”
100 percent equality. Think about that for a minute.
If everything in life has to be made 100 percent equal for everyone…
— Professional sports should be forced to change their rules and practices to accommodate overweight couch potatoes who want to play pro basketball, or baseball, etc. Instead of choosing players based on ability, we should have random drawings from a pool that includes everyone who wants to play.
— All bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers should be unisex.
— Movie producers should be forced to provide “descriptive service” (essentially, a verbal description of what is happening onscreen from moment to moment) for every movie. And all old movies on DVD should be recalled so both subtitles and descriptive service can be added to accommodate those who are blind as well as those who are deaf. For that matter, they’ll also have to figure out something to accommodate those who are both deaf and blind.
— Comedians should be forced to take time to explain each joke after they deliver it for those humorously challenged, or too slow, to get it.
— Websites should be forced to provide descriptive service for each of their web pages. No matter that it would effectively bankrupt many of the companies behind the sites.
— We should eliminate elections entirely, since the ability to smile and raise money and lie come easier to some people than to others, which makes the election process inherently unfair. As with sports, each position should be chosen at random from a pool of people who want the job. The same with judges and all other public positions. It should not matter that a person has no experience with electricity. If he or she wants to be an electrical inspector, he or she should have a fair shot at the job. And there’s even precedent for that since that’s the standard we applied in the last presidential election.
The only thing I think would have to be exempt from the 100 percent equality rule is reproduction…unless scientists can figure out way for women to impregnate men and for men to carry and deliver babies. But everything else should be fair game for it.
Yes, I know how stupid all that sounded, but it is no more stupid than forcing Netflix to do things it determines will not be profitable just to accommodate a small number of subscribers.
The plain, simple fact is that life is not fair. If it was, I’d have a voice like Frank Sinatra’s, looks like Matt Damon, a physique like David Beckham, a bank account like Bill gates, and be hung like a porn star.
But life is not fair. It never was and never will be. And these efforts to force fairness are absurd and destructive as well as being unreasonably costly in many cases.
I’m sorry that some folks are deaf or blind or have mobility issues or are intellectually challenged or anything else that hold holds them back. But my disability should not create an obligation on you or anyone else to do anything. I believe we should help in any way we can if we are so inclined, and I believe the vast majority of Americans would do so willingly, but forcing everyone to pay for other people’s problems is what lay at the root of the decline of America and most other nations in the civilized world.
Life is not fair. It’s time we all accept it and get over it.
What do you think? Am I being unreasonable again?
What other things would have to be “fixed” to accommodate 100% equality?