Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Interview, The Thugs and The North Side of Down

Creativity seems to attract bullies.  Like many other movie buffs, I have watched with interest as Seth Rogan's new film, "The Interview" was yanked from its schedule, caving to apparent non-specific threats from an angry Korean bunch.  One could only feel the pride of patriotism when Sony was verbally spanked for this decision by everyone who mattered, including the likes of George Clooney and President Obama.

In what amounts to either the biggest international scandal ever caused by a film, or the smartest publicity stunt ever concocted, "The Interview" is due to release right on schedule.  But the message is clear:  We don't negotiate with terrorists.

While this scenario was unfolding, a similar situation (on a much smaller scale) was happening in my own life.  However, "The Interview" is a work of fiction.  Our story is all true.  On Thursday, December 18 at 9:14 pm, I received a barrage of text messages from a family member.  "I strongly recommend that you remove, 'The North Side of Down' from public review.... Others will strike back."

They went on to say that Amanda would lose her guardian, and I would lose all assets including any horses, dogs and vehicle, and face potential jail time. 

Amanda and I had anticipated a reaction like this.  After all, our story unfolds within a volatile, belligerent family.  But we had decided that our message was too important to ignore: That people with disabilities need to have a voice.  That it is important for people to get their affairs in order, to make their wishes known in a legal, undisputable way.  That just because someone is a blood relative, they don't need to be in your life.  That no one has the right to take your happiness.  That real love can withstand anything.

She knows I have a lawyer standing by, and that our manuscript was scrutinized with a fine-toothed comb before release.  As my attorney said, "The truth will set you free."

I waited through most of the texts, which went on and on.  Then I replied with, "You had better treat Amanda with nothing but kindness and respect from now on", and, "Please stop contacting me."

After the texts stop coming in, I looked around at my four dogs, sprawled around the room and panting happily, and wondered how in the heck they qualify as "assets."  Have I missed something?

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