Is Christopher Reeve An Actual Fucking Saint Yet?

I know I keep telling everyone this, but I’ll say it again unless someone missed it: I’m 23, have Spina Bifida & have been a paraplegic for my entire life.

What the fucking hell is with the media canonizing Christopher Reeve just because he became a quadriplegic? Jesus Christ, if I see one more fucking story about his “triumph over adversity”, I’m going to projectile vomit.

Now, don’t get me wrong here; I’m not saying it’s the man’s fault. What happened to him was awful & I’m very sorry that it did happen; being significantly physically disabled can be a real bitch.

What pisses me off is the implied media message: He was this big, strong, movie star guy & now he’s a cripple, but he hasn’t crawled under a rock or killed himself - what an indomitable spirit. I hate the fact that disabled people are put on pedestals because we have to deal with some really difficult shit sometimes. Disabled people are just as varied as able-bodied people.

Along those lines: Are physically disabled people to be fucking congratulated for living their lives the best way we can? Is it really so goddamned remarkable that we can be productive, happy members of society?

I know what people mean when they say things like, “You’re so strong, I don’t know if I could do it”, but the message behind a comment like that seems to be: “Wow. Your life must really suck. I wouldn’t want to be you”

Thanks a whole fucking bunch. For your information, I’m doing just fine, although I’ve had my share of ups & downs.

So all those media types who think Chris Reeve is so great just because he’s now disabled, I say, get a fucking clue.

It wasn’t that he was a big, strong, movie star. The thing is that he played Superman and that tugs on some folks emotions.

The “Man Of Steal” is no longer that, but he is fighting it and apparently winning.

Man of Steal? :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m with you, Cosmo. Sure, the guy’s had a struggle, but when you come right down to it, all he did was not die. Hell, I do that every day. Where’s my Time Magazine feature article?

I mainly appreciate the way he’s sort of the spokesman for spinal cord injury. He helps do a lot with fundraising, (no, don’t have a cite. Just read some things in magazines and the like) and every little bit he accomplishes, draws attention to the fact that with money, help and hard work, much can be done.

I agree with your sentiment, but I don’t think of him as a saint. I see him as somebody that is trying to help not only himself, but anyone that has the same problems he has. Being a celebrity has only aided him in this, IMO.

I don’t know if spina bifida research would benefit from any of the causes he endorses, but from what little I know, it seems like it might. Correct me if I’m wrong. I am known to be wrong! :slight_smile:

I felt exactly like you did about a year or two after his injuries, because it was like he was the only person on this planet who was suddenly a quadreplegic. He was on my last nerve. But I have mellowed (yes, with age!) and really do think now he is only trying to be of help. Sure, he probably wouldn’t have thought twice about being a spinal cord injury spokesperson before the accident, but it usually takes a rude awakening before somebody does something.

My tuppence.

C’mon, he played Superman! All you did was get a lousy magazine named after you.

Just kidding. I’ve never looked at him like a saint, rather just some poor unfortunate bastard whose fame might help him and others afflicted with similar problems. I don’t think of Michael J. Fox as special, either, though he is raising awareness and funds for Parkinson’s sufferers.

He’s not a saint.

However, Kurt Cobain is.

I’ve never been much of a fan of ole Chris. As an actor, I think he’s a hack, and I intrinsically dislike celebrity spokespeople.

It’s like now all of a sudden that he suddenly speaks for all people with spinal injuries.

Not to mention that he probably has a Viper. :wink:
Seriously, the thing I dislike most about Christopher Reeves and a couple of other celebrities is their horseback riding. I own horses, I worked as a cowboy, I trained horses (including the two I own now.) When I was a kid, I got into trouble and had to go to this after school military thing run by ex-cavalry officers, and that’s where I learned to ride, and as a low-income kid I made it to the Junior Olympics on a donated horse.

I take horsemanship seriously.

Christopher Reeve, Bo Derek, and a couple of other celebs make a big deal about their recreational equestrian activities. What they do is spend huge amounts of money on superior, finely trained horses. They hire grooms to take care of them, and trainers to keep the edge on the horses and correct what damage they do when they ride.

Then, what they do is take their mediocre skills and these supremely trained, magnificent horses, and they enter competitions. A lot of times they end up winning, because they’ve purchased the victory through the horses and the training the horses have received. They win in spite of their shitty skills.

The fact is that they have no business being out there, at all. They don’t have the skills, and they don’t know their own horses well enough to ride them in a competition.

I’ve literally probably fallen off of horses a thousand times. I used to practice it. More importantly, I learned how to stay on. I had the muscle development, and the habits (which run counter to instinct,) to allow me to maintain my seat. I could handle a refusal, and knew how to ride and knew my horse well enough not to get left behind.

My understanding of Chris’s accident (From talking to somebody who saw it,) is that he got left behind in the first element of an in and out (this means that the horse jumped before the rider was ready, and the rider got thrown backwards.) He then made the classic mistake of rebalancing himself by pulling on the horses reins, and lifting his legs up. Pulling on the horse’s mouth like that confuses it, and gives it the signal to slow down which would be contrary to what the horse would be expecting as it prepared to jump the second half of the element. When he raised up his legs to pull his balance forward this raised his center of gravity. The horse refused the second element (this means it stopped suddenly right before the jump.) This threw Christopher forward and he pitched over the horse headfirst.

IIRC correctly, this is pretty close to the version reported in People magazine after the accident, so I have no reason to doubt the analysis.

Christopher Reeve was the victim of his own stupidity. He attempted a potentially dangerous competition for which he was personally woefully unprepared and it bit him on the ass.

I’ve been the starter at several three day eventing shows in my youth, and this is not an uncommon scenario.

Just because you’re a celebrity or you have the money doesn’t make you qualified for the competition.

I certainly wouldn’t risk such an injury on anybody, and in spite of his stupidity he does have my sympathy. But, there’s also a lesson to be learned here.

Regarding the OP, A FUCKING MEN!

Cosmopolitan, congratulations on triumphing over adversity and writing such an insightful OP.
:: ducks and runs ::

I think the reason we keep going over Christopher Reeve is because he is a sympathetic figure. I saw him recently on Larry King Live and it’s hard to watch another human being struggling to breathe (even though he has, apparently, improved). Such serious, life-changing injuries (or diseases) fascinate us because we naturally put ourselves in such a position; when celebrities fall afoul of such thing, we pay heed. (Look at Michael J. Fox, among many others.)

The media keeps covering this because we, the public, are interested, and saying that Reeve “triumphs over adversity” is a whole lot better than saying that he “fascinates, and yet terrifies, the viewers”. I respect that he’s trying to do what he can with the hand he’s been dealt.

On a side note: Scylla, I understand if you feel passionate about the subject of horsemanship, but a little sympathy might be in order. Your post came off as rather snide and heartless. You may be right that Reeve made a stupid decision, but that doesn’t mean that we have the right to be nasty about it.

I think it’s because from what I understand, he beat the odds by not dying-I remember when it happened, they said it was pretty much a given that he would die.

And he hasn’t, and he’s not bitter about it. He’s made so much freaking progress.

In short, he IS Superman.

I think part of Cosmopolitan’s view may come from the fact that he hasn’t known what it is like to be non-handicappped. To him, living life is simply that - he’s never known the joy of running down a hill, of leaping over a wall, or the simpler things we take for granted like simply standing up with ease.

Now, before you beat me up - I’m blind in one eye (since birth) - and when I hear people on television lamenting about how they might lose an eye, or might go half-blind, I honestly find it hard to sympathize with them.

My first thought is “Hey, I do it everyday - get over it - so my depth perception sucks. I can’t play baseball for sh*t. And parallel parking is always an adventure - but get over it and live your life!”

I also happen to think that those thoughts are wrong of me. They’ve had something in life taken away from them which I am completely unable to tacitly appreciate. They have, indeed, lost something of great value - and I have to remind myself of that.

As for Christopher Reeve - would people prefer if he were not getting media coverage for what he is doing? Would we prefer that he not push for stem cell research and other technological advances, even if they are for selfish reasons? Would we prefer that he just go away and live his life as if he didn’t have the ability to make a difference in the grand scheme of things (you know, like most of us do)?

If so - and in the end his exposure, contributions, and awareness-raising results in funding for a cure, I trust you’ll refuse it out of principle.

“That’s right, Peg. Feed the bears.”
– Alfred Bundy

Damn…I wrote a deep, insightful post…for once.

Effing hamsters…

I’m of two minds on this (frightening, because I’m so rarely of ONE whole mind.)

I applaud any celebrity who uses his or her fame to humanitarian ends. There are probably lots of people who wouldn’t be aware of the research being done for spinal injury were it not for Reeve talking about it. Same goes for Fox, with Parkinson’s. Awareness is a good thing, and it can lead to progress in terms of medicine.

However - Reeve has it pretty good, comparatively. Most spinal cord injury patients aren’t lucky enough to have money in savings to help defray medical costs (I am aware that even a very large bank account is not sufficient to cope with this kind of disastrous medical problem, but it can’t hurt to have SOME money.) And Reeve is very much in the public eye – so his doctors and caregivers are as well. It’s unlikely that his doctor is going to tell him he is only allotted one catheter per day because that’s all Medicaid will cover, for instance. He is going to GET whatever treatment and therapy is available, and he is going to have access to any experimental or revolutionary treatment options – this is not the case for most people. Unfortunately, those who are NOT dealing with major injury or illness see this and make the assumption that all such patients are getting the same care that Reeve is, and lemme tell you, it isn’t so.

All that said, I do have to comment that I am kinda tired of people who assume heroism when they see a handicap. I know at least one disabled person who thinks the entire world owes him a living, and his whole life philosophy is “I’m handicapped, so I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do.”

Geez, just rub it in, why dontcha?

Yeah Scylla, those rich people who can afford to hire grooms and trainers have no business riding. The only REAL equestrians are poor people. Those rich people entering competitions are all frauds and bribed their way in. Good photo ops. Yeah, that’s it.

Strawman much, bunnygirl?

I think I remember reading that Reeve acknowledges that his treatment options are superior because he has money and that not everyone is as fortunate. He has full time care, so his wife isn’t stuck with all of it and he does get those revolutionary treatment options. I know that had the same thing happened to me, I wouldn’t be as lucky as he is. He’s also draining his bank account rapidly, though, and his insurance runs out in a couple of years according to recent reports, so if he doesn’t do something soon to make money, he could be in trouble.

I admire him, because he’s proving something that I’ve long thought possible: the body is far more powerful than we think, and our ability to heal ourselves is greater than we think.

Scylla, everything I’ve read indicates that Reeve took his riding very seriously. He rode 5-6 days a week and took 3 or more lessons a week. He was not overfaced nor unsucessful at his level (Training level Eventing). His horse was not a “finely tuned machine” about to go to the olympics or anything. Of course it was well bred and well trained. Only an idiot doesn’t buy the best they can afford. Your implication that he handed off a horse to a groom is insulting to eventers.

I have also spoken with some who saw the accident. The horse backed off the fence (translation: started slowing down) for an unknown reason. The fence was a very straighforward vertical, not the first element of a combination. You actually don’t see combinations on Training level courses. Some observers thought the horse was looking at a depression/ditch on the other side of the fence, but its hard to say. This depression (or swale as they are known) was NOT considered an onstacle and not flagged as such. To say it was a combination is just wrong.

He did not "pull the reins and “lift his legs” (whatever that means). What happened is that he jumped ahead, which means he began to move his body towards the jump before the horse did. In other words he was ahead of the motion, not behind it. As all eventers know, riding behind the motion is considered the “defensive seat” and is CONSIDERABLY safer than getting ahead. (Which is a not uncommon fault, and a mistake even the best make sometimes) when the horse stopped, he went forward over its shoulder. Part of the problem was simply his build, which was top-heavy and that does tend to pitch you forward. His hands tangled in the reins, preventing him from breaking his fall. He did “the lawn dart” head first into the dirt. The weight of his body compressed his spine. His surgeons said