I owe AMI-tv an apology.

AMI, which stands for "Accessible Media Inc.", is a television station that broadcasts all programs with open described video and closed captioning. I have passed a number of hours with the station because for a few, brief, fulfilling weeks it showed Magnum P.I. reruns on Friday afternoons, and it continues to air Perry Mason on weekends (Raymond Burr calms me). At first I was startled when I discovered that these shows were "open described" and that "open described" meant that a sonorous voice explained what was happening while it was happening ("Magnum smiles cheekily at the scantily-clad waterskier'), but now I've gotten used to it.

The only problem is that now and again, the sonorous voice says things I'm pretty sure are wrong. It describes a character as "downcasting his or her gaze", and/or as averting someone else's gaze. I've been known to make mistakes about such things (I know this because my father has the right to make grammarian's arrests as a result of the authority vested in him by the Oxford English Dictionary), but I searched the internet, and the only people using "downcast" as a verb appear to be those writing Sonic the Hedgehog fan fiction (not kidding) and unsolicited sequels to Pride and Prejudice (also not kidding).

I have been cultivating described-video-related indignation for a while now (and withheld-described-video-related indignation, in that AMI has now replaced Magnum with one of those Law and Order spin-offs that doesn't star Richard Belzer), but, as is so often the case, I've come across something that makes the downcasting of gazes seem downright adorable.

Dancing on Ice, a British reality television show that presumably features both of those things, has recently come under fire for close-captioning the dancing and the ice in such a manner as to confuse, insult, and concern deaf viewers.

The National Deaf Children's Society has called ITV (the network involved) out for providing such captions as:

  • "Across the ice and the Samaritans and speedo you."
  • "Right is affecting their partnership. Pulled your ball up."
  • "The jump just walk straight in the fridge."
  • "...dolomite go horribly one when you got your Blades Court..."
The BBC, unfortunately, is not in a position to feel smug, as it has, in its close-captioning past: a) referred to the Labour leader as the "Ed Miller Band", b) called the head of the Church of England the "arch bitch" of Canturbury, and c) indicated during a report on pigs that the pigs "like to nibble anything that comes into the shed, like our willies."

So maybe I shouldn't feel so aggrieved when the smooth-voiced AMI man averts my gaze; at least he's not telling me to pull my ball up.

POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough.

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