Obama Inc. Orders Movie Theaters to Install Technology for the Blind


Forget pivoting to the economy or to Asia. For that matter forget gun control or Syria. Obama has finally found what he needed to be doing all along.

Forcing movie theaters to install technology for the blind.

It’s like we’re living in a Jonathan Swift or Kurt Vonnegut story all these years. And there isn’t even a hope of escape until 2016. All can we do is follow the old Soviet dissident model and mock the insanity of the lunatics running the asylum.

The Obama administration is nearing completion of a proposal to require that movie theaters offer technology so blind and deaf people can go to the cinema.

Disability associations say that the new regulation will make sure that blind and deaf people can appreciate the latest blockbuster just like everyone else.

But theater owners worry that a federal mandate will force small, rural and struggling theaters to close given the costs associated with the rule.

The upcoming proposal from the Justice Department is expected to require that a certain percentage of the more than 40,000 movie screens across the country offer headsets that provide a running commentary of visual action for the blind, glasses that display closed captioning for the deaf or other devices to explain what’s happening onscreen.

“All of this sort of comes down to choice for us,” said Eric Bridges, the director of external relations and policy at the American Council of the Blind. “We would like to have a choice in the movies that we go see that are video-described.”

In March he released a bill calling for all theaters with two or more screens to provide the services for all movies at all showings. At the time, he said that requiring the technology would “allow these Americans with disabilities to have the same access as everyone else.”

What is the actual legal basis for this insanity? Equal access isn’t an issue. This isn’t even disability accommodation. The same insane logic should demand that all bookstores stock Braille books and that zoos have a running commentary describing the elephants.

There is no right to have a movie theater accommodate customers who can’t experience a movie. It’s senseless. We’ve gone from equal access mandating that lunch counters have to serve everyone regardless of race to equal access mandating that movie theaters accommodate those who can’t see.

But watching theaters close across (red-state) America is, of course, a miniscule price to pay for regulating all Americans — requiring technology that will flash bright closed-caption LEDs in other patrons’ eyes and loudly narrate all the ongoing visuals, minute by minute.

Heck, it’s bad enough having to listen to the cell-phone conversation of some ninny two rows up, having a loud argument with his girlfriend about leaving the seat up in the “reading room.” In the immediate future, we’ll also have to listen to several sonic devices for the blind bellowing out, “Frank enters the room! He sees Manya! He throws a peanut-butter sandwich at her head!”

If we’re going full Kurt Vonnegut here, let’s stop pussyfooting around Instead of trying to make the blind see, why not just blind everyone?

The Justice Department can mandate that all movies be blank and be based entirely on descriptions. Not spoken descriptions because the deaf can’t hear. But not written ones because the blind can’t see. Maybe they’ll be descriptions you have to imagine for yourself while looking at a blank screen. And paying 20 bucks for the privilege.

For equality.

  • benjabo1machal

    Today he orders the Theatres of what equipment they must have.
    Next step, he’ll order them what movies the must show & the snacks they’re allowed to sell at the candy booth

  • JamesJ

    All Hail Obama!
    All Hail the State!

  • CaoMoo

    All hail the Dumb A** in chief

  • DogmaelJones1

    Recall that special phone tax for the “hearing impaired.” If there are any theaters that survive the theater mandate, a special “vision impaired” tax will probably be included in the price of admission. Will anyone be able to afford going to the movie? Nope.

  • gman213

    Water and fruit approved by Moochelle

  • Randy CA

    Why so upset. Think how wonderful things will be. Logically all art galleries will be required to have running audio describing all the paintings and sculptures and stores will have the same, describing the visual qualities of all their products. And of course, just to be fair, and that is what we are all after, all government buildings will have visual interrupters outside to describe the visual experience of the architecture to any visually impaired passersby.

    A just society will demand nothing less.

  • Zersiax

    It’s rather stupid that this has to be a regulation now. The notion that blind or vision-impaired people do not go to the cinema is of course quite preposterous, I am blind myself and enjoy a blockbuster as much as any other guy on the block. Let’s keep things in perspective here though:
    The access aids discussed in this article, while fancy and futuristic, are by no means a necessity for vision or hearing impaired people to enjoy a movie. It may add another dimension, but so do 3D glasses, and you don’t see people clamoring for those at each and every movie. Much like these 3D glasses though, the aids won’t be intrusive to the fellow moviewatcher.
    So although I do not agree with this kind of thing being mandatory, I do think the author’s putting it on a little thick when it comes to the after-effects of introducing such technology in cinemas.

  • Lolaga

    This is exactly the kind of crap you would’ve heard coming out of Hugo Chavez’s mouth. Exactly.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    We must assume that these disabled people have a right to demand we pay for things like this. Why else would the savior require it?

    Never question dear leader.

  • Aaron

    My blind daughter loves going to the movies and the only thing wrong with it is I fear when I or her friends are describing the movie we are disturbing the other patrons ability to get immersed in the story. Making sure this tech is in theater is wonderful news, Thank you Obama.

  • Justin

    Stop believing everything you read….and even if this was true…its been sitting dead for 3 years….read around for all the facts people….man the tea party will eat anything as long as its anti government….