Follow @philly on

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.