Sunday, November 28, 2004

Silent Heroine

The New York Times sidebar tomorrow about the revolt of the media in Ukraine begins with this wonderful anecdote:

KIEV, Ukraine — The most striking, and potentially significant, public rebellion against President Leonid D. Kuchma and his chosen successor in Nov. 21's contested election began silently.

On the morning of Nov. 25, Natalia Dimitruk, an interpreter for the deaf on the Ukraine's official state UT-1 television, disregarded a report on Prime Minister Viktor F. Yanukovich's "victory" and, in her inset on the screen, began to sign something else.

"The results announced by the Central Electoral Commission are rigged," she said in sign language. "Do not believe them."

She declared that Viktor A. Yushchenko, the opposition leader, was president. "I am very disappointed by the fact that I had to interpret lies," she added. "I will not do it any more. I do not know if you will see me again."

Wonderful! Reminds me of an online comic, sent to me years ago by my deaf girlfriend, about a woman who works in closed captioning for a TV soap opera. The dialogue is so dull she starts changing the words; soon she's rewriting the whole plot, underneath the actual broadcast. Deaf people catch on and soon their hearing friends are hooked, too. It becomes the most popular show on the air, but only with the sound turned down.

Scott Ott, meanwhile, has this reaction: Ukraine Journalists Drop Bias, CBS to Study Idea