Amazing Technology: Disabled Musicians Make Music With Their Brains

Technology is amazing. Sometimes I forget it does more than blogs, social media, and addicting video games.

In this case, it helps disabled musicians make music again, this time using brain-computer interfaces. I’ll let this video explain:

Technology is fascinating. I’m so glad we have it to help people regain (or gain) the musical parts of themselves.

This also shows me that the brain is even more fascinating than any piece of computer. And when you combine brain, technology, and music, you’ve got something special.

On Accessible Seating, Is Lincoln Financial Field Breaking The Law?

First, let me just say: I’m not a lawyer.

But to me, the laws on ticket sales for ADA (“accessible” or “handicap”) seating read straight-forward.

“Venues are required to sell tickets for accessible seats in the same manner and under the same conditions as all other ticket sales. Tickets for accessible seats must be sold…during the same stages of sales (pre-sales…) as non-accessible seats.” – ada.gov

Here’s what happened.

My wife was in charge of reserving pre-sale Coldplay tickets for a group of us, including my brother Ian, who uses a wheelchair. The concert is at Lincoln Financial Field (LFF) and tickets are also available through Ticketmaster.

She found that ADA seating was not available during pre-sale. Both Ticketmaster and LFF told her this. Legally, Ticketmaster may be off the hook because the law says “venues,” not “third parties.” So LFF is the one in trouble.


 

Screenshot 2016-01-30 10.44.01
Accessible seating not listed on map. Button at top right is for ADA seating requests, which prompts an automated email.

Let’s talk about Ticketmaster first. Even if they’re not legally responsible for selling pre-sale ADA seats, it’s unethical and discriminatory not to.


 

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Email from TM to my wife

My wife posted on Ticketmaster’s Facebook page, tweeted at them, and got no response. At the same time, she was making phone calls.

Hours later, she got the tickets through LFF, which probably makes them legally protected too.


 

ticketmaster_fbscreenshot
FB user’s name and locations hidden for privacy

Screen shot 2016-01-29 at 1.38.49 PM


The problem is that it’s a hassle for folks who need ADA seating to get their tickets, and it’s not just at LFF. This is a common occurrence (see the Facebook comments above).

To me, it feels like Ticketmaster and LFF are saying, “You’re in a wheelchair? Oh, you have to wait in line behind all of the able-bodied people.”

To me, they’re ableists (for another example, see here).

Why can’t people who need accessible seating buy tickets when everybody else does instead of waiting an extra week?

Do those people have fewer rights?

Kanye West and Ableism

The below video from September records Kanye West saying:

“I can’t do this song, I can’t do the rest of this show until everybody stands up. Unless you got a handicap pass and you get special parking and s**t.”

After he and the crowd pressured these folks to prove that their bodies would not allow them to stand, he said, “Alright,” and jumped into his next song.

Now, wait a minute. I just have a couple thoughts.

Kanye and the fans at this concert didn’t think first.

By saying “handicapped pass” and “special parking and s**t,” that makes it sound like the wheelchaired life is the high life because you get special treatment.

It sounds like an ableist mindset. That inconsiderate vibe bled into the crowd as they starting booing and chanting, “Stand up, stand up!” One fan even shouted, “F*****g stand up!”

At this point in the video, I wanted to throw up.

RELATED: Disabled musicians make music using their brains

The people chanting and booing assumed that the people holding up their fun were perfectly able to stand but just chose not to.

If it’s at all possible that someone has a “handicapped pass,” don’t start chanting “Stand up!”

Kanye and the crowd put the spotlight on the people sitting and were even laughing at them. Those sitting couldn’t be like everybody else, and were made out to seem like a hindrance.

Why did those fans have to prove they couldn’t stand? And why didn’t they have better seats?

After an uncomfortable minute, Kanye said, “I’ve never had to wait this long to do a song,” while his bodyguards went to confirm the fans’ disabilities. “Now if he is in a wheelchair, that’s fine,” he said.

Well, if they had better seating, Kanye might have been able to see from the stage that the fan was in a wheelchair.

1410580478574_wps_2_man_waving_prothetic_limb
fan waiving a prosthetic leg (via Daily Mail)

One fan even had to waive their neighbor’s prosthetic leg in the air for proof.

Maybe it’s just me, but you should never have to detach your leg at a concert then waive it in the air just to get the artist to keep singing.

And look at the photo above — those fans are way up there. If you have removable legs, you get the front aisle.

RELATED: Music Is Like A Time Machine For Ian Murphy

Some people, like Kanye, may think that those in wheelchairs and with prosthetic legs get special treatment. The only reason for that is because the world is tailored to “normal” folks who can stand and walk.

If we were all more wheelchair-friendly and if places were easily accessible for all types of people, “special treatment” would just be everyday life.