blog today that really got me thinking about disability and political correctness.
The writer talks about an incident at a Frankie Boyle gig, in which he told a lady who was offended by his "jokes" aimed at people with Downs Syndrome to "f**k off" (the lady's daughter has DS).
Frankie Boyle's hostility towards the lady is shocking and he clearly felt no remorse at mocking a group of people who have no hope of defending themselves.
But what really bothered me is that I can only assume that most people in the audience felt that people with Downs are fair game for ridicule, since it would appear that no-one supported the lady.
I went for a walk around the hills of Monaghan this evening when my Angel Lorraine arrived, and I was busy whacking the grass away from the verge when it struck me that I felt angry (regular readers will know that it takes a while for my synapses to snap).
I thought "why are people with disabilities reviled???"
The basic unfairness of it is unspeakable.
The fact that there is a need for support groups and advocacy agents is proof enough of society's intolerance of those less-than-perfect.
And I was REALLY pissed that I loved Frankie Boyle on Mock the Week, while he was making a living out of making cheap swipes at a vulnerable group.
The school yard bully makes good...but it's chilling to know that he has an audience willing to pay good money to laugh at his jokes. And that they think it's OK for him to swear at the upset mother of a Down's Syndrome child in his audience.
Maybe I've been living in a happy little bubble, but boy did it burst today.
Perhaps it's hit me so hard because I would have paid money to see Frankie Boyle perform if he came here, and I had to ask myself the deeply uncomfortable question "what would I have done if I was in the audience?"
Maybe anger would get the better of me and give me courage, though, I just can't tell.
While I was abusing the sorry greenery, it also struck me that intolerance of those with disabilities is ingrained in our histories.
When I was a child, there were no kids around with disabilities....because they were ALL institutionalised. They weren't spoken of, and they were never seen. Ergo people with disabilities must be something to fear and loathe, right?
Even the bible talks about unclean spirits and possession by devils... vilifying those who are 'different' as being evil.
There are religions who believe that those born with a disability are paying for their sins in a previous life (which also neatly absolves them of any responsibility towards them) and breaks open the ugly path towards abuse and derision.
eugenics movement which involved not only Nazi Germany exterminating all who were considered undesirable, but also saw Sweden enforce the sterilisation of 62,000 people with learning disabilities for fear that they would breed and contaminate their race.
It is deeply disturbing to know that this practice was not only acceptable, but actively encouraged...bringing me back to the Frankie Boyle audience.
Do people who find humour at the expense of the disabled also believe that the world would be a better place without them?
Historically, infanticide of disabled children was practised, and even enforced, in some societies but we like to imagine we have moved on since then.
When derision is poured on our babies by the likes of Frankie Boyle, and when audiences pay to be amused by this derision, it puts a chill in my heart.