I’m currently reading Stephen Hawking’s My Brief History, and found myself surprised, then not surprised, when he noted that people reacted negatively to the cover of his mass market book, A Brief History of Time, because he was a person with a disability writing it:

“The book was intended as a history of the universe, not of me. This has not prevented accusations that Bantam shamefully exploited my illness and that I cooperated with this by allowing my picture to appear on the cover. In fact, under my contract I had no control over the cover.”

What’s so interesting about this seemingly thoughtful concern is that it presumes that a person who presents with the appearance Stephen Hawking did was, as a result of their disability, incapable of making their own decisions on the matter.