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Wednesday News: One of the truest, most inspiring love stories you...

If you are so moved, you can send Taylor and his girlfriend a care package.

Taylor Morris,
General Delivery/WRNMMC/Postal Ops
8901 Wisconsin Ave, Bethesda, MD 20889-560

Recent research suggests that heterosexual men’s (but not heterosexual women’s) cognitive performance is impaired after an interaction with someone of the opposite sex (Karremans et al., 2009). These findings have been interpreted in terms of the cognitive costs of trying to make a good impression during the interaction. In everyday life, people frequently engage in pseudo-interactions with women (e.g., through the phone or the internet) or anticipate interacting with a woman later on. The goal of the present research was to investigate if men’s cognitive performance decreased in these types of situations, in which men have little to no opportunity to impress her and, moreover, have little to no information about the mate value of their interaction partner. Two studies demonstrated that men’s (but not women’s) cognitive performance declined if they were led to believe that they interacted with a woman via a computer (Study 1) or even if they merely anticipated an interaction with a woman (Study 2). Together, these results suggest that an actual interaction is not a necessary prerequisite for the cognitive impairment effect to occur. Moreover, these effects occur even if men do not get information about the woman’s attractiveness. PubMed

high cost of printer ink

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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

83 Comments

  1. Ros
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 06:10:26

    I’m not sure I can completely articulate what it is about that true love story that I find uncomfortable. I think it’s partly that I’ve recently spent two weeks watching the Paralympics. It seems to me to be saying that loving a disabled person is somehow better (or in your words ‘truer’, which, huh?) and more inspiring than loving anyone else. And particularly the blog posts by his friend are all ‘Wow, he lost his limbs but amazingly he didn’t have a brain transplant at the same time and he’s still the same person!’ They’re obviously a cute couple and incredibly determined. And yes, he did a tough job knowing the possible consequences. He’s a brave guy and a military hero. But I’m struggling to see that their love story is truer or more inspiring than any other.

  2. Ros
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 06:11:27

    Oh, also, printer ink = license to print money, as far as I can see.

  3. carmen webster buxton
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 07:38:05

    Wow, that research on male distraction is amazing– and an argument for women in executive positions, if you ask me! One thing that strikes me is only mentions straight men and straight women. Does anyone know of any similar research that included gay people?

  4. DS
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 07:53:54

    I have an Epson Artisan 7520 mainly because buying it was easier and cheaper than buying software that would allow the office to fax directly from various computers over the wireless to the fax machine. We get a lot of incoming faxes and the software with this printer allows us to save the faxes to one file for review before determining whether it needs to be printing.

    However, this wonderful machine (and I do like it better than any other ink jet device I have ever owned) releases a little of the colored ink in order to “keep the jets charged” so even if I am just using the black ink I eventually have to replace the other cartridges also.

    I also have a Lexmark that I hate with the heat of a thousand suns that was supposed to do the same thing but I never got it to work on the wireless system. It had the added horror of chips on the ink cartridges that had to be reset if you wanted to refill the cartridges. I keep this monster where I see it often to remind me never to buy another Lexmark product.

    I suppose I should donate it to a charity if I am even solicited by one that I particularly dislike.

  5. jane_l
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 08:17:34

    @Ros: I disagree. Few couples have to go through a life changing event like this and the determination that they both have to continue loving each other is inspirational.

  6. Ros
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 08:27:09

    Jane, a lot of couples go through life-changing events, whether through illness, injury or other tragedy. But even couples who don’t have a particular incident they can point to and say ‘We got through that’, they have to get through life every day. That doesn’t make their love less ‘true’ (I still don’t really know what you mean by that) or less inspiring to me. Obviously different people are inspired by different things.

  7. Mari
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 09:21:49

    Oh for heaven’s sake….ignore the grumpy people leaving comments about Taylor’s story, Jane. As if every couple goes through what they did and remain intact. As if soldiers and sailors at Walter Reade don’t get “Dear Johns” every single freakin’ day from girlfriends, fiances, WIVES. As if every person remains cheerful, upbeat and whole psychologically and spiritually after going through what Taylor went through. The point is, many relationships fail when it comes to the “for worse” part. Many people change for the worse after going through what Taylor did. Friends leave, girlfriends can’t handle it…these things are sadly commonplace.

    This story is not commonplace. Their love is the “truest” because they have been tested in ways most couples will never be tested, thank God. Some relationships just can’t handle the truth that the “for worse” is often far more likely than “for better.”
    It is inspirational because, well…..if your readers are not inspired, what can I say? I was moved to tears myself.

    I like stories with happy endings though. What a woman. What a couple. What a great group of friends. Taylor is blessed. And from this blog post, I think he knows it. And that is the greatest thing of all.

  8. Leslie
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 10:48:49

    @Jane: My husband sent me the link at work yesterday from a post he read online. I was moved by Taylor’s story, but what really got to me was the loving homecoming he received from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. And you’re right this is a true love story. Thanks for posting Taylor’s address.

  9. Mo
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 10:50:58

    Thank you Mari. You said exactly what I was thinking.

  10. Kim in Hawaii
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 12:33:12

    Aloha, Jane! Thanks for the link to Taylor’s story. It is inspiring because we often gripe about things that really don’t matter. His story, along with others who have overcome diversity, reminds us that love can conquer any challenge.

  11. MrsJoseph
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 12:59:23

    @Mari:

    You never said a truer word. My cousin was diagnosed with Sjögren’s Syndrome a few months before her marriage. That marriage never took place – he dropped her within two weeks of her diagnosis.

    Way to Go Taylor and Danielle! That was very inspiring.

  12. Lynnd
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 13:03:20

    Thanks for the link to Taylor’s story Jane. I have practiced both family law and personal injury law for almost 20 years and stories like this always restore my faith in humanity. Injuries such as Taylor’s irrevocably change a person’s life and it is often harder on the spouse because she or he not only has to deal with the physical injuries, but also the psychological issues that arise. Anyone who thinks that this is just another “run of the mill” life event that challenges a couple should sit down and really consider what such profound injuries like Taylor’s really mean for both he and his wife. I wish them joy and happiness.

  13. Katie
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 13:09:32

    I always try to see other peoples POV but I don’t know how anyone can look at those photos and not see beauty and love. She has his back. How wonderful and rare it is to find someone who will stick by you when life throws a shit storm your way. If only everyone could love and be loved that way.

  14. Leslie
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 13:22:29

    http://timdoddphotography.com/blog/did-you-see-my-friend-taylor-come-home

    Jane: This the link my husband sent me, it is for Tim Dodd’s website. He is the friend who took most of the photos. Check it out.

  15. Ducky
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 15:51:55

    @Ros:

    I disagree with your comment. If this love story between these two were so common and his and her attitude so unremarkable there wouldn’t be so many dear John letters (and often for much less than the tragedy that befell this young man).

    And in general couples sadly often don’t make it through a life-changing tragedy intact – be it the loss of a child, or cancer, etc..

    So, yes, I think a love like this is special and should be celebrated.

  16. Ridley
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 18:51:03

    I’m DA’s resident cripple, and Ros said what I’ve been thinking ever since that photoset first appeared.

    I’ve be uncomfortable with all the rubbernecking and the “oh, this makes me cry” reaction to this couple’s story but didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to deal with the blowback. Nobody likes having their privilege pointed out to them, and I wasn’t in the mood to unpack everyone’s bags for them. I’m not comfortable with seeing Ros on an island, though, so I’ll chime in now. Her post is the only one that isn’t patronizing, objectifying, privileged or just plain insulting.

    The disabled don’t exist to give the able bodied perspective. My marriage isn’t an inspiration. My husband’s not doing me a favor. I am not a “test” or a “challenge.” I am a woman.

    Furthermore, every time you make his experiences define her character, you belittle him and minimize his individuality. He’s not a symbol. He’s a man.

    The comments on this post exemplify every problematic theme I’ve ever run across in romance. Congratulations.

  17. Jane
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 19:35:16

    @ridley – for me it has a lot less to do with his disability and a lot more with the recovery and sacrifice. Ie she has given up whatever ambitions she has had to be his caregiver and while that might be a paid position (albeit not a super generous one) it is still a sacrifice. And I think that whenever a life changing event happens during a relationship, those couples that make it through are ones by whom we can be inspired. Marriages are tough or 50% of them wouldn’t fail. Marriages that overcome obstacles are inspiring.

    I’ll accept your congratulations for being inspired even though that wasn’t your intention.

  18. Ridley
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 19:45:14

    @Jane: How is lionizing her sacrifice instead of his not dismissive?

    He willingly joined the military while we were at war, went to Afghanistan on extra dangerous missions, has rallied from a serious injury, and her rearranging her schedule for the summer is what impresses you?

  19. azteclady
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 19:53:26

    Where did you get that we are not impressed by him too, if I may ask?

    Or is even asking insulting and patronizing?

  20. Gennita Low
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 19:55:20

    All Jane was pointing us to, along with Taylor’s best friend, was a love story. This, to me, is about a love story. I’m not sniffling over a cripple and the sacrificing wife. I don’t feel sorry for them or look at him or her as any kind of symbol.

    I was just touched by the love of this couple, what happened to them, and the happy ending. He lived, she didn’t leave him; they got married. The whole town celebrated a hero’s homecoming. I loved this true life story and the pictures that celebrated a unique love. It doesn’t make me respect other handicapped people with other life struggles any less.

    Each of our experiences define us, by the way, physical or emotional; we are the sum of our experiences. How we react to our experiences also define our characters.

    Congratulations, too, to Taylor and Danielle’s wedding.

  21. jane_l
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 19:57:07

    @Ridley: I think his rallying from a serious injury is inspiring. He’s obviously got a great attitude about it. I think her being his caregiver for however long it takes is inspiring. I think the two of them deciding that while this wasn’t the path that they may have dreamed about when they got together, it’s the path they want to be on together is inspiring. It’s inspiring like the story about the guy who went to every one of his wife’s breast cancer treatments that Sarah from SBTB related to on her blog. I find it all very inspiring.

  22. Ridley
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 20:00:01

    @azteclady:

    Where did you get that we are not impressed by him too, if I may ask?

    Because no one’s mentioned it. They’re too busy nominating his girlfriend and friends for sainthood.

  23. Moriah Jovan
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 20:10:27

    Far be it from me to speak for Ridley, but this is how I see it:

    This is what honorable people do every single day. Him, her, their friends, their family–are all clearly honorable people. No one’s discounting that.

    But I think that honor comes in a lot of different colors of sacrifice and this happens to be one that is a) a bit more extreme and b) publicized. Most people just keep on keepin’ on. Quietly. Usually without asking for assistance.

    I dunno. Maybe it’s because we’re so constantly bombarded by example of people’s DIShonor that we can’t help but think that this sort of honor/sacrifice is rare and special. I don’t believe it is.

  24. Sunita
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 20:15:19

    When I saw Ros’s comment, my instinctive reaction was to disagree, but I see her point better now. I did find the story inspiring, not because she still loves him, but because when a couple overcomes a major challenge it feels good to hear about.

    But then I remembered that people told me (and my husband) that they were inspired by the way we dealt with my cancer diagnosis and treatments, and it seemed odd, because we were just doing things the only way that made sense to us. I taught my scheduled classes and fulfilled other obligations as much as I could (with backup for emergencies) because I couldn’t imagine what else to do. I didn’t feel brave or inspiring, I was just doing what *I* wanted.

    The Husband came to every one of my chemo treatments and he wouldn’t let anyone else substitute for him. He came to quite a few of my radiation treatments too, but they were much easier on me and I had to go most weekdays day for nearly two months, so sometimes I went by myself.

    He says now that he thinks maybe he was being selfish by not letting other people help out more, but he just did what seemed right to him at the time.

    I didn’t feel patronized or objectified and certainly not insulted, but I also didn’t think that their reactions had as much to do with me and how I approached my circumstances as with their own perspective on illness and trauma. I did what worked for me. If taking to my bed and/or becoming impossible to be around had been my reaction, I would have felt totally justified in doing that. But I don’t think people would have found that inspiring.

  25. jane_l
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 20:20:16

    @Ridley: If I had commented on how I found the soldier’s sacrifice and recovery to be inspiring, you would have criticized me for focusing on someone whose disability didn’t define him. No matter what any of us would have said in praise for him or her, I think we would have failed you in some way. Indeed, I find him to be tremendously inspiring. I read today about a mother who is her son’s caregiver and she said something like “I gave the Army my son in the best physical condition of his life and he was returned to me in pieces.” (paraphrased) There are no words I can use to express my gratitude, appreciation and deep admiration for those who have volunteered and gone to war, even if it is a war that I don’t believe in or that they never believed in.

  26. azteclady
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 20:25:34

    @Sunita:

    I didn’t feel patronized or objectified and certainly not insulted, but I also didn’t think that their reactions had as much to do with me and how I approached my circumstances as with their own perspective on illness and trauma.

    And there is nothing wrong with that, I think.

  27. Shiloh Walker
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 20:32:05

    @ Ridley, I hope I’m not wading into dangerous waters here… and no, I can’t say I speak from experience where you’re at, but I do understand- to the best of my ability- what you’re saying.

    Although I think there’s something inspirational about both of them, both Taylor and Danielle. It’s the love overall that gets to me, but I find him more inspiring, yes. For his sacrifice and the fact that he’s forging on ahead with his life-you and I both know there are going to be people who’d decide to either do that, or left the misery get the best of them.

    There are able-bodied people who do that and they aren’t going to have the challenges ahead of him that he’s going to have.

    And yes, I do…well, I can’t so much as ‘admire’ her…because if it was my guy, damn straight I’d stick with him. That’s what love does. I guess you could say I’m happy to see it. I’m happy to see that love there, that the two of them are there, that’s she with him and staying with him…that her love didn’t change. Nor should it have-the man he is didn’t change.

    True life sticks it out. It fights it out. I followed the links on the photo story and read more about Taylor and his girl, and yes, I’m more impressed with him, but he’s battled so hard and come so far. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t see strength in both of them, though.

    It’s the love that stands out for me, though. It’s same sort of thing that gets to me when I see a photo story that follows a couple from their teens up until their nineties.

    This guy has a woman who sees him as a man…and loves him. He loves her. That kind of love just makes me happy.

  28. Shiloh Walker
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 20:35:12

    @Moriah Jovan:

    Very well said…maybe that’s why stories like this hit home so hard.

  29. Sunita
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 20:39:50

    I agree. If people could gain something for themselves from what I was going through, all the better. But my experience, however difficult, ended eventually. I think I would have become weary of people finding me inspiring. Because when someone says “I find you/your approach to life/your courage inspiring,” they’re the subject of that statement, and you’re the object.

    That said, a lot of people enjoy being inspirations more than I did.

    [ETA: The comment was in response to @AztecLady's comment.]

  30. Ridley
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 20:43:46

    @jane_l: @jane_l:

    If I had commented on how I found the soldier’s sacrifice and recovery to be inspiring, you would have criticized me for focusing on someone whose disability didn’t define him. No matter what any of us would have said in praise for him or her, I think we would have failed you in some way.

    Well, don’t let that stand between you and “inspiration,” I guess. That’s much more important than treating people with disabilities as individuals.

  31. Dabney
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 20:44:16

    @Moriah Jovan: Perhaps the issue is that our culture is fond of the zero-sum game as an analytic tool. If one thinks there’s a limited pot for genuine admiration, then one must pick who is the most deserving. I found this story to be lovely and I find joy in the idea that someone–Taylor–who got blown to bits because he was fighting for his country is now loved and feted. I don’t, however, find it more worthy than a million other love stories out there. Pain and joy aren’t easily made relative and I think we do run the risk of diminishing every day greatness when we venerate one kind of love story over another.

  32. azteclady
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 20:46:06

    @Sunita: I understand what you mean–being forevermore an object (of admiration or pity) is definitely not what anyone would want, but I’m not sure it’s entirely inappropriate or a priori offensive to feel inspired by the fact that the love between these two people shines through despite the fact that life threw some very heavy pianos on their heads.

  33. Moriah Jovan
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 20:48:30

    @Dabney: I would agree with that.

    But I also wanted to add that IF such honor is NOT rare and special, then that’s an awesome thing.

  34. azteclady
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 20:48:49

    @Moriah Jovan:

    Maybe it’s because we’re so constantly bombarded by example of people’s DIShonor that we can’t help but think that this sort of honor/sacrifice is rare and special. I don’t believe it is.

    I work on retail, maybe that explains why for me stories like this are indeed rare and special. YMMV.

  35. Moriah Jovan
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 21:00:40

    @azteclady: Occasionally I find my faith in humanity is a bit…plump.

  36. Susan
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 21:46:56

    We might like to think that most people would stick by a partner who became sick or disabled, but a lot of people ditch. (Sadly, some statistics show that men are far more likely to leave a sick partner than women are.)

    Given the statistics for both men and women, I do give credit to Danielle for sticking with Taylor. And I also admire Taylor for how he’s dealt with his new reality. Congratulations to them both, and I hope they have a wonderful life together.

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/12/men-more-likely-to-leave-spouse-with-cancer/

    http://www.oprah.com/relationships/Why-Men-Leave-Sick-Wives-Facing-Illness-Alone-Couples-and-Cancer

  37. Ridley
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 22:05:52

    @Susan:

    I do give credit to Danielle for sticking with Taylor

    Why is that a credit to her? You make it sound like she’s done something difficult or dutiful, or that she’s doing him a favor.

    Staying with someone you love isn’t a hardship, and if someone’s sudden illness or disability makes you realize the relationship isn’t for you, you owe it to them to get gone. Staying in a relationship out of pity or duty is disrespectful. It’s patronizing, dishonest and cheats the other person out of a partner who sees them as an equal.

    This “dutiful wife” concept is what made Meghan Hart’s Broken so infuriating to me. Sadie would have redeemed herself in my eyes had she just divorced Adam. He deserved better.

  38. Ridley
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 22:17:42

    PS I wonder how many of the divorces in those studies were initiated by the “abandoned” spouse. Sometimes serious illness prompts you to look around and cut the dead weight of toxic relationships, and women are more likely to initiate divorce without a replacement spouse lined up than men are.

  39. Anonymous
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 22:32:00

    You make it sound like she’s done something difficult

    Speaking as someone who ditched, I think she’s done something difficult. I think it’s inspiring that, for her, loving him was enough to stay. I didn’t love enough. I could only handle my own burdens, I couldn’t pick up someone else’s too.

    I’m starting to be okay with being the one who ditched (which is a really inadequate word for what really happened), but it makes me happy that there are people in the world who stay, and find joy in staying.

  40. Kaetrin
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 23:07:59

    I am inspired by people and true stories of love and sacrifice many days. Taylor and Danielle’s story is just one of them. I showed the pictures to my son and used it as an opportunity to explain (a little) about war and the horrendous injuries which can occur and the wonders of modern medical science/prostethics and also to talk to him about how after terrible things happen, there can be good things too. I find reminders of those things all the time – sometimes there is a disability involved but not always.

    Personally, when I look at Taylor I am impressed that he kept on, that he didn’t give up when he lost so much. I am hoping like hell that the US Govt is giving him the support he needs. I am thankful that he had his girl by his side and the support of his hometown, and, even though I am not an American, I appreciate the sacrifice he made for his country – and I think of our SAS soldiers over there too and appreciate them.

  41. Alicia
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 01:23:55

    @Dabney: Perfectly stated. You articulated my thoughts so much better than I could. The idea of diminishing others’ love because they haven’t been tested in the same/some way makes me uneasy. @Ridley‘s comment also mirrors my feelings. I think it’s fantastic they have real love. It’s a great love story based upon that fact. I just don’t find myself overly impressed by the fact she stayed. It just means she really does love him, whereas the ones who cut bait and run don’t. It kind of reminds me of that old Chris Rock joke about people who want credit for things they’re supposed to do. That’s what you do for the person you love. Maybe that makes me an idealistic romantic, I don’t know.

    I agree with everyone that I find him, and all our service men and women fighting these wars (past and present), inspiring.

  42. Katie
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 06:01:53

    @Ridley I don’t think sacrifice is a bad thing. And in every marriage there are times when you stay out of duty because relationships are hard work.

  43. Dabney
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 06:15:32

    I also believe passionately we don’t know the interior of another’s marriage. If this relationship is healthy for both parties–and it certainly appears to be marvelously so–then it’s something to celebrate. I have known marriages where someone’s horror–cancer, amputation, drug addiction, profound depression–has made that person so unhealthy for their spouse that the only way the spouse can survive is to leave. We celebrate that sort of strength too.

  44. Meri
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 06:59:04

    I’m inclined more toward Ridley, Ros and Sunita’s views. It’s not that I don’t find the 22 pictures story a beautiful one – but I am uncomfortable with calling it the truest, most inspiring, etc. To me, this is the story of two people who were fortunate to find each other and who faced difficult challenges together. I’m happy for them that they have been able to do that – individually and as a couple – and that they have some wonderful people in their life. But many couples face challenges together successfully. The specifics may be different, but we all know that a romantic HEA does not mean the rest of your life will be perfect and made to order. Presenting this story as a truer love or as a unique case makes it feel like they are defined by his disability and her reaction to it – and I get the sense that Taylor and Danielle wouldn’t view it that way.

  45. Irisha
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 10:21:20

    @ Ridley: Is it really necessary to attack others for feeling differently than you do? We all come from different walks of life, so it is natural that we may view the same thing in a different light. You obviously have strong feelings on the subject, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But implying that Jane doesn’t view disabled people as individuals seems a bit harsh to me.

  46. meoskop
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 10:42:45

    @Ridley:

    Sometimes serious illness prompts you to look around and cut the dead weight of toxic relationships, and women are more likely to initiate divorce without a replacement spouse lined up than men are.

    This.

    The majority of the struggles in my relationship post illness are from my unwillingness to be a viewed as damaged. I’m me. I might not be able to do things the way I could five years ago, but who can do a cartwheel as well as they did at ten? I’m not flawed. I’m unwilling to lower my standards as though I’m a scratch and dent can on the shelf of life. My partner was damn lucky to have me before, and still is. They can get behind that or GTFO.

    The problem with the inspiration is the air of a bullet dodged, the whiff off “Glad that’s not me” or “Don’t know what I’d do if that were” which tosses the people involved on the scratch and dent pile without their permission. It’s no different from saying “Wow, I can’t believe she stayed with a fat ass like that, he used to pack a six pack.”

    @Irisha: Is it really necessary to dismiss Ridley’s point of view as a person who is actually disabled in favor of the dominating abled opinion as an attack? You say there is nothing wrong with her feeling strongly about issues that pertain to her actual life, and yet you object to her voicing them. Weird.

  47. willaful
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 11:09:47

    I’m not sure what the word “inspiring” means. I tend to get irritated by it, because many people have told me I’m inspiring (for losing so much weight, exercising regularly, eating well, etc.) but I’ve never noticed it having the slightest effect on their own behavior. So I can’t helping thinking, “inspiring you to do what?” Or is “inspired” just supposed to be a feeling?

    I think what got to me most about those pictures is that it’s a physical, *literal* representation of one person carrying another through the hard times because of love, yet it was also clear that it was *not* all on her side and the final scene shows them, metaphorically, on an equal level. It was what we all want love to be, yet we know it often doesn’t work out that way.

    Ironically, I think Ros’s “love is not love that alters…” quote is completely in line with what Jane said. It’s the fact that this love did not alter (though almost certainly it did in some ways, but never mind) that makes us say, “hey, this is true love.” Perhaps “truest” wasn’t the best way to express it, but I’ve had people admire me and my husband just because we’ve stayed together 26 year, so I think people just admire those who beat the odds.

  48. Irisha
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 11:21:58

    @Meoskop: I was not objecting to her voicing her opinions. I was questioning whether it was necessary to attack others for disagreeing with them.

  49. Meoskop
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 11:25:25

    @Irisha: Show me the attack. Blockquote the attacking part so we’re on the same page.

  50. Irisha
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 11:42:53

    @ Meoskop:
    “Well, don’t let that stand between you and “inspiration,” I guess. That’s much more important than treating people with disabilities as individuals.”

    Maybe attack is too strong a word, but to me, this is pretty condescending and somewhat insulting.

  51. meoskop
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 11:55:37

    @Irisha: Ok. I think Jane’s comment that Ridely was directly responding to was out of line, which is why I found it weird you wanted to call Ridley out as attacking Jane.

    Quoting for clarity:

    No matter what any of us would have said in praise for him or her, I think we would have failed you in some way.

    To me, that was pretty handwaving. Jane feels one way, Ridely feels another. Jane dismissed her informed POV for Jane’s emotional POV. Both are entitled to POV’s, and to express them, but when Ridley expresses her disappointment with Jane’s dismissal it’s read as improper. I’m not calling you out here to fight Jane vs Ridley – they’re big girls. I’m pointing out how the POV of the person with the minority experience cannot be expressed without the majority dismissing it and categorizing it as combative.

    This occurs in any conversation where the majority feels supported in their un-lived experience.

  52. Carrie G
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 12:26:52

    I’ve been happily married for almost 30 years, but I certainly wouldn’t dream to speak for all people married 30 years. I’ve had five children, but I don’t speak for everyone who’s had more than the average number of children. I was married young to an alcoholic and abusive man, but I don’t speak for everyone who’s been in that situation. I was sexually abused by my swim coach at 14, and I have two children who were sexually abused by a relative, and I lost my second child at birth–but I can’t speak for every person who has suffered those pains.

    We all live lives within ourselves. No one can speak for any group of people. Jane opinions are her own and are valid. Ridley’s opinions are her own and are valid. We can learn from all of them to be more caring and sensitive and inclusive. To spot prejudice and learn to be blind to the exterior. But no one speak for all people of any group or condition.

    One reason able bodied people see those with disabilities as “inspirational” is many have sought to be seen as such. Double amputees have biked across the country to bring awareness to the plight of returning vets, for example. They want to inspire people. We can’t then be slammed for looking at people who overcome the odds as someone worth admiring.

  53. meoskop
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 12:44:24

    @Carrie G:

    But no one speak for all people of any group or condition.

    I absolutely agree. That said when you have many voices not in an experience and one voice with an experience it is the responsibility to the many not to reject the one out of hand, or to consider the one more combative than the many.

    I believe that Jane is wrong when she says no praise could have been given. I think there is a difference between respect and pity, respect rarely brings tears or claims of inspiration.

  54. Ridley
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 16:49:59

    @Carrie G:

    We can’t then be slammed for looking at people who overcome the odds as someone worth admiring.

    You know what? Do what you want. I don’t care.

    I’m just letting you all know that your attitudes are problematic as all get out. I’m an actual, honest-to-goodness cripple and I’m not going to be lectured on what is and isn’t dismissive of a life I lead by a bunch of people who don’t live that life. I’ve let you guys know the score. If you all want to piss people off by continuing to treat them disrespectfully, that’s your problem, not mine. I’m not interested in being Prof. Social Justice for people. I don’t have the vocabulary for it.

  55. Ridley
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 17:19:17

    I’m un-flouncing to post a link: “We’re not here for your inspiration” I hope you guys read it. Maybe it’ll help you understand what I’ve been trying to tell you.

  56. Ann Somerville
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 17:32:21

    It’s disheartening that every time there’s a discussion on this forum – well, on any forum actually but particularly disheartening when the readership is so well educated and knowledgeable – which touches on a dispriviliged group, the immediate response to someone from that group who decides to brave the potential scorn of the privileged majority and speak up…is to heap scorn on that person.

    It doesn’t matter if it’s about race, sexuality, disablity, or whatever. Dismissing the views of the person with the actual lived experience is SOP.

    It would be so nice if the automatic response wasn’t “Why do you have to be so angry?” but “Oh, I didn’t realise this might make you angry. Can you explain more so I can understand?”

    My first response to the photostory was to miss the guy had lost his limbs, and skipped to the end, so I thought it was a tale of a long love like in Up. Then when I looked at it again, I thought, “Wow, that guy went through all that, and he got back up again. Good for him and his team.” (I also thought how sad it is that so many advances in prosthetics have come as the direct result of several horrible and unnecessary wars where brave young people have been put in harm’s way for dubious political reasons.)

    The idea that his girlfriend/wife was somehow sooo amazing never crossed my mind. I’m afraid I don’t think that. The guy’s hot, and presumably has a wonderful personality and determination. Quite the catch.

    If you haven’t read the link Ridley just posted, you should. It’s an eye opener, and says all she was trying to say, with bells on. It’s not just her.

  57. Jane
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 17:35:30

    I had not intended to comment but while others may not want to be inspirations, Taylor and his girlfriend have invited us to view them as such.

  58. Jane
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 17:43:10

    And let me add that praise for the girlfriend wasn’t the focus of my original posting at all. I find it ironic this is being harped on when I highly doubt that was anyone’s first reaction. When I wrote out my comment to Ridley I specifically chose to reference the GF because Taylor’s sacrifice was so amazing and obvious. Should I have mentioned him in my comment? I guess so. I hadn’t realized my not stating the obvious would be so controversial.

    As for my hyperbolic headline, really? That is what also gets the goat? In essence that is what I meant by no matter what I said or didn’t say, it wouldn’t be non offensive. The very idea that I thought this couple as inspirational was problematic. I can’t say Taylor inspirational because then I am treating him differently and disabled people shouldnt viewed as inspirational and if I do not find him inspirational then I am focusing on the wrong party.

    In sum it is simply wrong to find anything heartening in this story but of I don’t place the right emphasis on the right person then I am doubly wrong. Got it.

  59. Ridley
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 17:54:29

    @Jane: I’ll remember this discussion next time multiculturalism in romance comes up here and you’re trying to make someone understand why calling someone “exotic” is poor form.

  60. Meoskop
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 17:54:57

    @Jane: I think in your defensiveness, you’re missing the larger point. If this same conversation were framed in race terms, I think you’d view it differently. I didn’t jump in with comments until the charge was made that Ridley had attacked you, where I saw an opportunity to illustrate how the person who actually cannot win is the minority voice.

  61. jane_l
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 18:07:09

    @Meoskop: The point is in this example, the couple has invited what others like you and Ridley and Sunita object to. I am not saying every disabled couple is inspirational but I’m accepting the invitation sent out by Taylor and his girlfriend to read about their journey and be inspired by them. I believe that the invitation is implicit there. I understand your larger point but am saying that in this case, this story invites the response.

    @Ridley: I can’t wait. I’m sure we will have robust discussions in the future.

  62. Sunita
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 18:21:13

    @jane_l: I agree with this. There are definitely people who want to be seen as inspirations, and there are plenty of people who seek out those sources of inspiration (not talking about the commenters here). It’s one of the things that makes the commercialization of Good Causes so problematic for me. I dislike Pink Month and most things about it, but I can’t and don’t want to deny people who do feel empowered and fulfilled by participating.

  63. Ridley
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 18:31:58

    @jane_l: I’m just going to throw this out: could it be possible that they put themselves out there to support and inspire other military couples going through similar situations and not the able bodied? Conversely, does their seeing themselves as an inspiration to others make my point invalid?

  64. willaful
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 18:44:38

    The articles Ridley linked to made me remember a time I did see someone as “inspirational” — a man at my gym with severe leg injuries, who used a walker to get to the exercise machines. I admired him because I didn’t think I would have the perseverance he showed, in a similar situation.

    And the thing is, I currently have a fairly minor, most likely temporary disability because of a neck injury. And I’ve figured out ways to still get exercise at the gym, because exercise is something I do and I’m not willing to give it up. (My salsa dancing, alas, is right out.) And I would feel damn foolish if anyone thought of that as inspirational, just as I feel damn foolish when people praise me for being the mom of a special needs kid.

    So thanks for sharing those, Ridley. I think I understand better now.

  65. cleo
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 18:44:54

    @Ann Somerville:

    It would be so nice if the automatic response wasn’t “Why do you have to be so angry?” but “Oh, I didn’t realise this might make you angry. Can you explain more so I can understand?”

    Amen

  66. Maili
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 18:54:52

    (Excuse typos and grammatical errors. I’ve been hugging a bucket to chest all day today, no thanks to new drugs. Heh.) @Carrie G:

    They want to inspire people.

    That’s the key issue, isn’t it? Inspire people to do what? When people (or anyone in similar positions) lay themselves out on the line, their goal tends to get people to *do* something. Usually, something practical.

    That goal tends to fail when people only say “Oh, that’s so inspiring” because it doesn’t usually lead to action. When that happens, why do they say it? Inspiring in what way? Inspiring in a sense of “Thank god it didn’t happen to me and my family”, “Oh, that guy doesn’t reveal the ugly reality of living with a disability, good for him!”, “That’s great–I hope I’ll have that kind of [support/strength/or/whatever] if it did happen to me” or what? That’s fine, actually, but how does it help in the long run?

    Let’s suppose this scenario: Taylor feels like going to town to pick up some milk during the hours when his caregiver isn’t working (most work from 9 to 5, and some have two caregivers working on four-hour shifts with two three-hours gaps, usually filled in by relatives or friends), how will he get there? Oh, he could call a relative or friend to pick him up, you say. There you are: inaccessible.

    In a fully accessible world, he could go and get what he wants on his own and any time he wants. Just like any able-bodied person could do right now. As it stands, he can’t jump in a car, drive a couple miles and buy milk from a local shop, can he?

    So it’s down to us all to figure out how to make that world fully accessible, and we should do all we can, however little or huge, to make that happen.

    My brother’s university friend, having learnt I can’t read numbers well, went on to develop a little web browser extension/plugin to write out all numbers of any web page into written words. It’s in BETA stage, but it mostly works. He’s a medical student, but programming is his hobby so he’s contributed to making the society accessible with this little plugin. His contribution means nothing to some people, but it’s made a huge difference to the quality of my online life.

    So I wouldn’t mind the general “inspiring” use if it *does* spur people into action. Such as:

    - Insert a ramp next to every public stairs, outdoors and indoors and an adaptive lift whenever possible.
    - Ensure no able-bodied person could park in parking spaces reserved for drivers with disabilities.
    - Ask councillors to ensure their towns are fully accessible for residents with disabilities or their children with disabilities. Raise some money if some towns are underfunded.
    - Put Braille version under every public sign, every public telephone, anything written, and enlarge keypads whenever possible.
    - Avail transcripts (including Large Print version), audio descriptions and subtitles of all videos, radio interviews, audio pods, TV and films possible.
    - Avail subtitles of every public announcement at every public transport station throughout the country.
    - Vote against every politician and every Act that wants to reduce money and benefits for people with disabilities, hospitals, rehabilitation centres and such.
    - Avail sign language interpreting, note-taking and audio descriptive services in every public arena possible including schools, colleges and council halls.
    - Take a stand against acts of discrimination in every place including workplaces, social/leisure places (cinema, Disneyland, children’s playgrounds, music concerts, etc.) and elsewhere. Act of discrimination = openly denying a person with disabilities the access to use, try or enjoy whatever everyone else has accessed all this time.
    - And that includes ensuring interviewers wouldn’t discriminate against potential employees with disabilities (quite a few veterans with disabilities couldn’t get a job for decades *because* of the disabilities they acquired in the name of their country).
    - Ensure the basic rights of people with disabilities are fully protected and enforced (that includes ensuring no one can prevent them from having access to education and basic health care, bank accounts of their own, being in relationships, marrying, having children, owning homes of their own, and more).
    - Etc.

    The action list to make the society fully accessible is so long that it’s not funny. But if someone finds something inspiring, then it’s truly that when that someone does something to cross one off that action list as a result of that inspiration.

    Having said all that:

    I didn’t have any problem with Jane’s headline. She did frame it in context of romance. I think we know by now that most of us here are suckers for anything that ends with the HEA. So how is it a surprise that Taylor’s story cropped up here?

    In Taylor’s case, it IS inspiring in a sense of “They’re so young and yet they’re sticking together as best as they can”. It reminds us that people in general do have the capacity to see themselves through the worst.

    Whether they remain together in the future, I haven’t the foggiest. And frankly, I don’t care. Relationships end and begin all the time. Even among people with disabilities. For now, that moment is worth enjoying. Like basking in the sunlight for a moment. But it’s still not inspiring. It only gives us an opportunity to enjoy a Feel Good moment. We’re selfish enough to use that opportunity.

    I don’t see anything wrong with that, but it’s a different story when it becomes a “aww, look at his humble smile, even though he’s lost all his limbs only five months ago. So inspiring!” wankfest, making it all about disability, dependence, sacrifices and blah bloody blah. I usually look away when this happens because I just can’t stand it. Like that Tim Dodd essay. Thanks for letting me ramble.

  67. Jill Sorenson
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 19:13:11

    I didn’t comment on this article or feel “inspired” to RT the link on twitter for a couple of reasons. First, I remembered Ridley’s comments when Jane mentioned the Paralympics and I thought this conversation might go the same way. Second, I wasn’t moved by the story and I felt weird about it. My main reaction was one of relief or even recoil–I wouldn’t want to carry my husband on my back. I would not want to be carried on my husband’s back. If I had to, would I? I don’t know. Does this mean I don’t love my husband as much as this woman loves hers? Maybe.

    Anyway, I disagree with the comment by @meoskop: that tears of inspiration are pity-based. I got pretty choked when Obama won the election 4 years ago. It was partly due to my pride in America but also about him being our first black president. I think he did have more to overcome than a white president would have. There is no pity in my inspiration. I don’t know if the situations compare at all.

    I guess what I’m saying is that I understand Ridley’s comparison between “inspirational” and “exotic.” I’ve said this before, but someone once told me my daughter “would be exotic-looking when she grows up” and it was like a lightning bolt of understanding hit me. I never considered the word offensive until that moment.

    Some things can’t be easily understood unless they hit home. If Ridley says “inspirational” is problematic, I believe her. And yet, I can’t think badly of those who feel inspired by struggles and hardship. Especially when my reaction was more like “glad it’s not me.”

    Anyway, this is a good conversation to have and I wish I could offer some solution. What word should be used instead of inspirational, or is it more about the sentiment? Could Jane have linked to this story and simple called it “romantic”?

  68. sarah Mayberry
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 19:37:51

    What I find admirable is Taylor’s response immediately following his injury. He was apparently fully conscious, and when his fellow soldiers attempted to rescue him, he told them to back off until the area was cleared of other ordinance. Apparently his equipment had not detected (obviously) the one he stood on, so he knew there might be more and even though he had seen his legs fly off (that’s almost a direct quote) he was more concerned about the safety of his colleagues and that one of them not go the same way as him. That’s freaking amazing to me, that his sense of duty and responsibility toward his fellow men overpowered his pain and basic human desire to survive. He is apparently one of only five soldiers to have survived a four limb amputation at Walter Reed. He clearly has a bone-deep values system, and I find that truly heroic. When I looked at the photos of him and his girlfriend, I was struck by how much they enjoyed each other, and it really hit home for me that he is still there, and that he is not his injuries. They are, as a loving couple, incredibly lucky (as nuts as that may sound). He went to one of the world’s most dangerous places and took on one of the world’s most dangerous jobs and he paid a huge price yet is still alive. They still get to look into one another’s eyes and make each other laugh and share their lives. An amazing result. I wish them the best of luck.

  69. JoanneF
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 19:44:15

    Remind me never to find anyone or anything inspirational for any reason. Apparently, it’s condescending and it really pisses off those in similar – or completely different – situations that hate inspiring or being inspired by anything or anyone.

  70. Merrian
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 19:51:55

    @cleo:
    Hah! I had excerpted the same words because Ann said so clearly what I wanted to say while reading these comments. Here they are again for emphasis

    “…..It would be so nice if the automatic response wasn’t “Why do you have to be so angry?” but “Oh, I didn’t realise this might make you angry. Can you explain more so I can understand?”….”

  71. willaful
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 19:59:32

    @Jill Sorenson: “Anyway, I disagree with the comment by @meoskop: that tears of inspiration are pity-based. I got pretty choked when Obama won the election 4 years ago. It was partly due to my pride in America but also about him being our first black president. I think he did have more to overcome than a white president would have. There is no pity in my inspiration. I don’t know if the situations compare at all.”

    I agree and that’s a good example.

  72. Gennita Low
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 20:05:23

    This story inspires me. This couple inspire me. Not all handicapped people’s journeys, not all supportive spouses’ either. This one. Those intimate photos, taken by their friend, made me sit back a moment to think and feel. As long as they don’t think I’m disrespecting them, esp. since they have their whole experience laid out in the most public way possible, I’m okay with that.

  73. Dabney
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 20:08:52

    @Carrie G: Thanks for sharing your world.

  74. Ridley
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 20:15:50

    @Jill Sorenson:

    What word should be used instead of inspirational, or is it more about the sentiment? Could Jane have linked to this story and simple called it “romantic”?

    1. It’s more about the sentiment, I think, since no one seems to be able to agree on what “inspirational” even means in that context. If it means “there but for the grace of god go I, so I should count my blessings” then it’s ableist. If it means …uh … I’ve been trying to figure out what else it could possibly mean, and I’ve got nothing. If nothing else, it’s objectifying and conceited. How do you know your able life and marriage is any better or easier than theirs?

    2. They’re a really cute couple, and obviously he’s a strong person, as I certainly believe in nothing so strongly that I’d volunteer to stand in front of guns for it. But, it does really bother me that this story of theirs has been told by his friend, and not Taylor and Danielle themselves. It’s really felt exploitative to me. Everyone is saying what their lives are like and what they represent except they themselves. I guess it’s a nice snapshot of a happy couple, but it seems really disingenuous to claim that this went viral for any reason other than as “inspiration porn.”

  75. Jane
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 20:18:09

    I guess they are self mastubatory since they run their own blog and the photographer’s posts are published in full with his pictures on their blog.

  76. Ridley
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 20:28:26

    @Jane: Well, then I stand corrected on that point, I guess. I didn’t know they had a blog too. I only saw links to the photographer and Buzzfeed.

    Doesn’t make the reaction to them any less ableist.

  77. azteclady
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 23:48:03

    So if I say that their story–because it involves both of them as a couple–moves me, I’m being…condescending, ableist, insulting, what?

    Please note I’m not angry, but I’m feeling a bit defensive for having feelings about it at all–what should my reaction be, in order for it not to be insulting, condescending, etc?

  78. Jill Sorenson
    Sep 21, 2012 @ 10:11:14

    @Ridley: I definitely think my ableist life is easier than theirs.

    @azteclady: Having thought some more about this, the impression I get (as a total outsider, admittedly) is that the default role people with disabilities have in our society is as inspirations. I’m sure someone already made this point upthread, but when a person or group is judged through only one lens, it can feel insulting and stereotypical. Perhaps like “fiesty sexy Latinas.” Or maybe it’s like saying someone is “a credit to his race.” It’s not really about this story or couple, it’s about how we view and label people who are different. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with feeling inspired as long as we don’t disregard the opinions and contributions of average (?) disabled people as unimportant.

  79. Ridley
    Sep 21, 2012 @ 12:13:26

    @azteclady: Why is their story “moving” for you?

  80. azteclady
    Sep 21, 2012 @ 12:21:34

    Because his life will never be the same as it was. Because his spirit is beautiful. Because their love continues after such a drastic change in him–and perhaps this is where I’m ableist and insulting, but I can’t fathom how his injuries wouldn’t change him in some way.

    Love dies or fades away every day. Seeing it triumph over adversity moves me.

    The human spirit is beaten down into mere subsistence every moment of every day. Seeing his shine bright and strong moves me.

  81. cs
    Sep 21, 2012 @ 14:21:57

    I am definitely with Ridley on this whole thing. Nothing about their story “inspired” me. I mean it’s a nice story, but…to be blunt. So what? People go through things equivalent to this couple or even worse. Is it because he served a war? Is his story different from a man who lost his legs due to a car crash? I don’t know. I mean as I said sweet couple, but not going to give them a pat on a back for staying with each other. I understand why Ridley is upset and considering this person knows what it is to live this life, I find it kind of horrible that people are more upset because they don’t get to “feel” the way they want too.

  82. Ridley
    Sep 21, 2012 @ 18:07:31

    @azteclady: Of course his injuries change him, all life experience changes us. The conceit is in assuming it’s a change for the worse.

    I enjoyed seeing their pictures, but they were no more or less powerful for me than the photoset Jane linked before of grooms’ facial expressions. Love is love. Disability isn’t an amplifier.

    (Well, maybe they were a bit more powerful. I did think “Oh, she must be so happy he made it out alive.” I’m also moved to donate again to the Wounded Warrior Project so every disabled vet can get the support Tyler has.)

  83. Kim in Hawaii
    Sep 21, 2012 @ 22:48:10

    @Ridley: Mahalo, Ridley, for sharing your thoughts on this topic. Mahalo for supporting the Wounded Warrior Project!

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