Friday, September 22, 2006

John Paskievich and his Unspeakable

At the BSA conference, I went to the screening of Unspeakable, a documentary by John Paskievich: you can see short videos on this website. John is a well-known documentary maker who made his way to the Cannes Festival: here is a list of his documentaries at IMDB. His movie is mostly about the social impact of stuttering from his personal experience and life. I really like the documentary for its clear and uncompromising view on what it can be like to be a person who stutters. A powerful movie to share our experiences and feelings with the general public.
However, when Unspeakable deals with causes of stuttering, he is adding ketchup to a chocolate cake. He puts forward his own opinion indirectly by interviewing Darrell Dodge on the causes of stuttering who is absolutely not representative of the research community, in fact he is not even part of the research community. Moreover, Dodge's theory of "stuttering as a self-inflicted disorder of speech, communication, and awareness" is not supported by evidence, but in fact I would argue that latest genetics research contradicts it. But, I have to be fair and say that I agree with many individual statements / insights on his website, but not with his general conclusions which just show to me that he never did research himself i.e. like the pope talking about sex! By not clearly sticking to his own experience and giving his view of why people stutter John does a colossal disservice to himself, Unspeakable, and the people whose experiences he wants to get across.


Anonymous said...

Have you ever seen this other documentary, "Spit It Out" of Jonathan Skurnik and Jeff Shames?

I think that we need a documentary that deals specifically with the scientific side of the issue (genetics, dopamine, basal ganglia, dystonia, Dennis Drayna, Per Alm, Gerald Maguire etc).

Since these breakthroughs are relatively new, nobody still boarded the subject in this way.

Have you ever thought in doing a documentary so to fill out this gap?

Tom Weidig said...

No, I havent. But I will check it out. Thx!!

I have no clue how to make a documentary. If you provide the know-how, I'll do the talking / stuttering! :-)

Jaan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jaan said...

It's a great film, except when it comes to promoting Darrell Dodge's theories about the nature of stuttering.

What would be useful would be a film about stuttering by an experienced documentary filmmaker who is knowledgeable about current research about stuttering and treatment -- including advances in the treatment of preschool children who stutter, such as the Lidcombe Program.