Mayer Shevin is dead. R.I.P.


I only talked to him a few times, but he seemed like a decent guy, and I always looked forward to seeing him.  He talked to me a lot about Fey.  He once asked me if she was my familiar.

He is most famous for his poem, The Language of Us and Them.  Which is based on an actual person he knew, so here is the story of Barney and his Harmonica.

He also wrote an article about fluency privilege that is really important for anyone to understand in dealing with nonverbal people.  He talks about a time he was in the hospital and couldn’t talk, had to throw a notebook at someone to get them to suction him (and thereby save his life), and they treated him as just this nasty patient who attacked them.  I can identify with that situation way too much.

Anyway, I wish I could have talked to him again, I wish I could have met him again, he was a great guy, and he will be missed.

I just learned this news tonight, as I’ve been absent my hometown of Syracuse, where Mayer lived and worked. Thank you for this touching tribute.

I wish you had known Mayer better. Your instinct about him is right; there is simply no better man, no greater loss. I knew him for over 20 years, fairly well for a significant part of that. I knew his strength and his determination, and I knew his kindness and his love. He was a tireless advocate for everyone, withheld his gentleness from no one, without for a second questioning what side of every fence to stand firmly on as an example to everyone working for justice.

I’ll try to write something after I have a moment to reflect, but I wanted to expressed how pleased I am to have found this when searching his name. Thank you.