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  1. I imagine there has been discussion of this topic on this board before, though I don't really know how to search for it. I've been watching old episodes of Siskel and Ebert on YouTube, and I came across their discussion of Voices: Around the 22 minute mark, Ebert mentions that there were "protests" in San Francisco because the portrayal of deafness was not "technically" accurate and because a hearing actress played the main (deaf) character. What is interesting for a viewer today is how quickly and cavalierly Ebert dismisses such protests. Today we live in a world where it seems like every other movie has some controversy about an actor or actress not being part of the demographic group of the character. In principle, it seems like a good idea to have opportunities for actors who are parts of underrepresented groups on the screen, so I understand the cultural appropriation argument and the representation argument, and I'm sympathetic to them. But I also wonder if there is a line to be drawn somewhere. Can teachers only play teachers? What if the quality is not incidental to the part? (I think, for example, that the only reason Joey Lucas in The West Wing was deaf was because Marlee Matalin was playing her and not vice-versa. Is Ebert's argument wrong here? Or just out of date?
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