Have you seen the story about the fake sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s funeral? Well, even if you have, you haven’t REALLY experienced the story unless you’ve read Michael K’s version on Dlisted. I will not be satisfied until Michael K takes over all reporting for CNN, Fox News, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He knows how to bring the news to life! Michael K’s report reads, in part:
“How do you sign the phrase ‘zero fucks,’ because that’s exactly as many fucks the no language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial gave about translating the speeches for deaf people. During the memorial, a supposed ASL interpreter stood to the side of the podium and signed the speeches, but many deaf people, including Bruce Druchen of the Deaf Federation of South Africa, tweeted that this bold motherfucker wasn’t signing shit. For deaf people, watching this scammer sign was the equivalent of hearing people listening to Kanye rant. They had no idea what his ass was trying to say. It was all gibberish.”
Last year, Michael K celebrated Lydia Callis, the sign language interpreter for New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Hurricane Sandy reports, as “the Maria Callas of sign language interpreters.” Lydia clearly would have been a better choice for Mandela’s funeral. My personal preference, though, would have been the awesome signer I saw at Lollapalooza in 2011. My sister and I were ready to follow this lady to shows all around the country like she was the Grateful Dead or Phish.
The Mandela story made me double- and triple-check the meaning of my ASL emoji-inspired stud earring just now. For a moment, I got paranoid that my earring was like those Chinese character tattoos that people get thinking they read “strength” when they actually say “pork.” But my earring is okay. It really does say “I love you.”
If you memorize that gesture, you now are more adept in sign language than the Mandela funeral guy! Congratulations.