ridicuLIST: All Deaf People Parties Are Oh-So Quiet

Posted by: Staff Writer on July 16, 2014

Quiet as a mouse. Quiet a sepulchre. Quiet as at anchor in a deaf calm. These are the various analogies that many people may use to describe Deaf people – and their parties. Sometimes this is true – such as at more formal events, daytime picnics, and “voice-off” Deaf Jams. But while poetic, these analogies are, at times, far from the truth.

Just ask any Deaf person who may have had a neighbor call the cops to complain about his house party's upbeat bass music throbbing throughout the night.

Where there's a Long Deaf Goodbye, there's also "We forgot to turn the music off" party time. After all, our bodies are intensely attuned to the strong beat of good music - pulsations and all. You’ll find us at raves (at times, with a balloon to maximize the vibrations), and so you will find us at nightclubs.

Remember the other stereotype - that Deaf people don’t enjoy music? Where there’s good music (especially the electronic kind), there’s just as likely bound to be Deaf people.

If we leave early, the reason is “it’s too dark to see each other sign,” and not “it’s too noisy.”

Nevertheless, the notion that Deafness equates to silence is a persistent one. In 2011, MTV dubbed its short-form series about Gallaudet as "Quiet Campus." A German movie about a talented violinist CODA was titled "Beyond Silence." Star Trek's episode about a deaf peacemaker was titled "Loud as a Whisper," which, in its ironic way, is still kind of quiet.

When it comes to parties, the only thing you can assume is that Deaf partyers will gravitate to well-lit spaces ... not necessarily quiet spaces. Peek into any deaf-hearing party, and odds are good that you'll find the deaf ones congregated in a well-lit kitchen. 

As Dylan Thomas so eloquently put it: “Do not go gentle into that good night.” No matter what the volume is set to, these are words for us to live by when we are surrounded by those in our Community.

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