How are the announcers handicapped in "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In this futuristic dystopian society, everyone is "made" equal through the use of handicaps that hinder their talents and abilities.  So, good dancers are given weights to keep them from being graceful.  Beautiful singers are told to sing horribly.  Tall people are weighed down, and intelligent people are shot with loud bursts of noise to keep them from thinking straight.  These handicaps also apply to announcers.  Typically, television announcers get the job because they can speak well, fluently, quickly and elegantly. However, in Vonnegut's future, he writes thatas the announcers come on the air with a bulletin,

"It wasn't clear at first as to what the bulletin was about, since the announcer, like all announcers, had a serious speech impediment."

He goes on to describe that it took the announcer so long to stutter out "Ladies and Gentleman" that he just gave up and had a ballerina read the bulletin instead.  So, if you have a serious speech impediment, like stuttering, you were given the job of announcer.  That way, you don't make anyone feel bad because you are too eloquent or well-spoken.

I hope that helped; good luck!