Boston Globe, Tom Keane, The curse of 3-D movies, Jan. 2, 2011

Hi Tom,

Your article in today’s Globe where you celebrate your inability to see with stereovision is a fascinating study that I have seen before. For some reason, some people with strabismus believe that they have no disadvantage (and from the standpoint of your article you seem to think you have an advantage) when it comes to how they perceive the world. Nothing could be further from the truth. The ill effects of strabismus have been well documented by noted scientists including Oliver Sacks, Susan Barry, Dominick Maino, Frederick Brock and a host of others. I suggest you Google those names and do some reading. Surprisingly, your “lazy eye” condition might be improved by vision therapy and that might surely change your perception with regards to 3D.

The fact that a motion picture can be seen by an audience in 3D has nothing to do with whether or not the movie is good or bad. However, 3D can most certainly make a movie better as well as worse in the same way digital cameras and projection equipment can make a movie better as well as worse.

Instead of slamming the technology, how about slamming directors and producers for poor implementation of 3D? …And heralding directors and producers for good implementation of 3D? But you indicate you can’t see 3D, so how would you know if the 3D was good or bad?

3D is not a novelty. 3D is the way the majority of the population perceives the world and everyday life. It is one of the ways we distinguish “real” from “referential” imagery. This most certainly, in the hands of a skilled director/producer, can make for amazing motion picture making – and there are many scenes that have been produced in 3D that achieve amazing quality and “realness”.

I’m fine if you want to pan the 3D implementation of a film for having technical problems. However, I don’t see how you would be qualified since you don’t see with stereovision. Indeed, I submit that you are not qualified to write the article you wrote. It would be analogous to a deaf person panning the BSO because the conductor waved his arms without authority. That person might be able to see the string section moving their bows and feel the vibrations of the air around them but I think judging the performance in a widely circulated newspaper would be an overreach.

I encourage you to seek help for your eye alignment condition. A great resource is

Your comment “…2-D versions of the same films are clearer and more engrossing.” is way off the mark for those who can see with stereovision. Nothing could be further from the truth. You do the public a disservice making that statement. Parents need to be encouraged to do everything possible for a child with lazy eye or strabismus as it can lead to a whole host of problems where ADD and learning disability can be misdiagnosed and a child needlessly medicated when all they required was vision therapy.

Seeing with 3D is a very big deal. I encourage you to find out if vision therapy could help you. In the meantime, I suggest you reconsider reviewing anything 3D until you are able to see and judge imagery with binocular disparity (stereopsis).

As to your dismissive tone with regards to Avatar, you really missed what happened there…

Good luck with vision therapy, Tom. I really mean that. I hope you gain stereovision and with it, the ability to write a meaningful article that provides an accurate perspective. Your disability absolutely does not provide you with ANY advantage. In this mindset, you are wrong in my humble opinion (and in the opinion of many others like you who have gained stereovision later in life). It is quite possible that you could overcome your disability through vision therapy. Please check it out.


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Filed under 3D, 3D Motion Picture, stereopsis, stereovision, strabismus, vision therapy

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