Seth Gore, he came in with a BOOM. That experience was definitely Buzz worthy.
When interacting with Seth in the class and seminar, and hearing his responses to the questions our class gave him, I learned that his main point when writing his short story Buzz Buzz Boom was that we are all human, and as humans, we can all communicate. He showed this point when answering a question, “Were any of the characters of a different race in the Buzz Buzz Boom?” Seth responded that he didn’t intend for any of them to be of a different race, but that doesn’t impact the story either way. I find that statement very powerful. “I hear with my eyes” was another quote of his. Besides the poetic factor it holds, it has several underlying meanings to it. One being that Seth doesn’t lack the ability to hear, he gains a sense. When you see the world how he does as a deaf person, you gain more about the world. This was most present when he showed the seminar class a video without any sound, and hearing my classmate’s opinion of the video showed that they were able to gain another perspective. For example, there was a scene where waves were flowing through a cove and crashing against the rocks. A reaction to the scene would be vastly different depending on if you could hear or not. One would be tense after watching and hearing the chaotic waves, but on the other hand, without the sound of the crashing waves, and just witnessing the water provides a person with relaxation and serenity.
Steph, during the seminar spoke about how our society is so close-minded, and we only pay attention to the familiar, but that needs to change, because sometimes the things that aren’t familiar, the “different” in the world, is important. This fact that our society gravitates to what is familiar to us is an example of narrowcasting. Steph then began to say how it is a very white statement to say, “We are all equal.” Seth seemed to agree. Our society needs to bridge the gap of being in a world that isn’t equal.
Seth made a point to our class that he has a gift rather then a condition. He is broadcasting that being deaf isn’t a lack of; it is a gain, a gift. He told our class if he had the opportunity for a day to hear he would take it, but if he could be a woman for a day, he would as well. It wouldn’t make sense in his mind to change the life he has.
Seth was proud of ASL as a language, and how it is superior to English in many ways. One being that in using ASL, a person can better understand communication systems because ASL uses visuals. Seth stated that in using visuals, it is easier to get an abstract point across, where as with words, it is harder. Seth and Steph both mentioned during the seminar that in ASL there is sign, signified, and sense. Steph applied a communication concept learned that sense and signified will always be the same if looking at the building block approach.
Another point that was pointed out during class is when ASL is being communicated between the signer and the interpreter, words get lost in the translation. That holds true in English, but more on the lines of miscommunication. In a conversation between two hearing people, an example of miscommunication is present when a person’s tone is not communicated well. In ASL though, tone is shown through facial expressions, or the speed in with the signer is signing. An example Seth gave in how translation is lost is: a signer will sign “to the store I go” but the translator will say, “I went to the store.”
What truly hit home was seeing the deaf community at Hampshire College react to him. The joy they had in how he presented his pride in being apart of the deaf community. One woman signed to him how happy she was to be able to learn the wisdom he had to share.
Having Seth and Ruth visit our class has really opened my eyes to the beauty the outside world has, and that language is powerful, but at the same time it is a bad vehicle that we have become accustomed to. Having a fishbowl experience with Ruth before Seth came was also enlightening because we had a chance to know her point of views on the way technology is beneficial for the deaf community, and specific examples of how it helps her life.
Hearing Seth laugh was beautiful to me, but also just being able to interact with him personally on napkins at Berkshire Dining Hall after the seminar was also an experience to cherish. When he was in Berk, he wrote to me that he was sorry for being so distracted, but he is taking in all of the architecture and structure of the building. I found that interesting, I thought he would more pay attention to how chaotic and crazy the dining hall was with all the college students, but he saw the interior structure and building itself. I walk away from this experience knowing the other perspectives to consider when living in society today, and how Seth, being part of the deaf community sees in his everyday life, as well as his views on technology.