Slavoj Žižek in The Guardian, has, I believe, penetrated the laughter, outrage, posturing and other noisy responses to hear the true message of the fake sign-interpreter at the Mandela memorial:
Those of us who hear well and do not understand sign language assumed that his gestures had meaning, although we were not able to understand them. And this brings us to the crux of the matter: are sign language translators for the deaf really meant for those who cannot hear the spoken word? Are they not much more intended for us – it makes us (who can hear) feel good to see the interpreter, giving us a satisfaction that we are doing the right thing, taking care of the underprivileged and hindered.
He follows with:
All the crocodile tears of the dignitaries were a self-congratulatory exercise, and Jangtjie translated them into what they effectively were: nonsense.
The point, then, is that a potentially dangerous, severely troubled fraud was put in a high visibility role in a global spectacle without vetting because he was part of the set decoration, not one of the actors. And that holds true for all of the audience, as well.
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