As promised, here’s a little personal anecdote from my life away from this blog that will give you some idea of why I’ve been so busy for the last couple of months. I also thought it might be fun to share this with you since it pretty much proves that reading comics has actual benefits, even though the ways in which I was able to turn my love of Daredevil into a marketable skill might seem a little far-fetched.
In my everyday life, I work for a political party where my usual job is to provide “communicative support” (which in practice translates into writing articles and speeches) for two members of the national parliament. When election time rolls around, which it did recently with the elections for European Parliament last week, most of us on staff pick up additional duties as well as the whole organization shifts gears. Very unexpectedly, I was called up to my boss one day and offered a project manager position which had to do with translating campaign material into other languages as well as making it accessible for people with disabilities. I suspect the reason I stood out from the crowd when being more or less assigned to this job was the mention in my resume of having worked as a translator and the fact that I had studied no fewer than two sign languages. Needless to say, I had made no mention of being a Daredevil fan.
Now, I should say that before I started reading Daredevil, my knowledge of blind people was no better than anyone else’s. I didn’t even know you could write Braille by hand (if you didn’t know either, don’t feel bad). While I always found Daredevil’s unique trait to be an appealing and exotic aspect of the character, I had never had any specific interest in blind people. In fact, the only reason I had originally become interested in the deaf (as one might be able to deduce from my past adventures as a sign language student) was because I was a language nerd who at the age of fifteen had fallen in love with linguistics and later become fascinated with the three-dimensional grammar that characterizes languages that are signed rather than spoken. But reading Daredevil did pique my curiosity, even though the character’s blindness is rarely mentioned. Getting to know fellow Daredevil fan Alice (who sells custom-made braille T-shirts) also helped make me more aware.
So, sitting there in my boss’s office I already felt a plan forming and two years of gradual insight into everything from the demographics of the visually impaired to accessible web design suddenly find an unexpected outlet. I knew right then that I wanted to kick ass at that project. The fact that I’m genuinly interested in civil rights and liberties, which is what accessibility really comes down to, helped make me even more motivated for the job.
And, I’m happy to say that I worked my little ass off on that project. I added subtitles to YouTube videos, made high-contrast versions of web documents and kept hounding the IT department to add “skip to content” links on our website. And that was just the beginning. I was on fire. At the end of the day, I’m not sure I won us any extra votes, but I’m very proud of my efforts and I know that they were appreciated.
So, thanks to my readers for being patient for the last couple of months. I haven’t had as much time to devote to real quality content and you’ve had to contend with word balloon contests and erratic news roundups. As of now, I’m back in high gear!