Scruggs’s Blog: Closed Captions on All Screens? Why Not?
A video of a young deaf actor is going viral after he bemoans his experience at a movie theater when it did not offer closed captioning.
Believe it or not, I understand his frustration. Not because I'm deaf, but because I used to live with someone who is: my mother.
My mom was born 75% deaf in both ears, and because of that, our lives were a little different. Whenever she answered the phone at home, I had to make sure I was close by to mouth the words to her that I could hear on the speaker to help her understand. Whenever we talked to someone at a restaurant or at a reception counter, occasionally my mom would look to me to repeat whatever the person had said to her-- maybe they'd been talking too fast or hadn't looked at her when they were speaking, meaning she couldn't read their lips.
And we always, always had the close captioning on the TV.
Maybe that's why I'm biased on the above video-- I know what it's like for my mom to go to a movie and not understand half the plot because things are happening too fast onscreen. I'm used to captions on our screens at home and so they don't bother me-- even now that I live alone, I still have captions on my screen even though I can hear what the actors are saying. Maybe it's a comfort thing...but sometimes the captions pick up things I miss!
My response to captions on the screen, personally, is...why not? Captions are helpful and once you get used to them, unobtrusive. Many in the comments have said captions "ruin the picture" or "ruin the view"...in the video above, Daniel Durant calls BS on that. On the most basic level, how do you know if you haven't even tried them out? Anything different takes time to get used to, and it's worth it to create an inclusive experience for all.
I'm a fan of captions for all...after living with them for years, I can assure you that you'll get used to them. However, if it's really that big of a deal for movie-goers, let's make sure that there are inclusive devices in every single movie theater in the U.S....because the deaf community deserves the same film experience that the hearing community is offered, no doubt about it.