Hate isn’t Funny, part two

To recap: On Wednesday I went to see Omid Djalili do a warm up gig.  I really wish I hadn’t because not only did he used the R word in one of his jokes he also did another which was the most horrendously ableist joke I’ve ever heard.  On Friday I posted a blog about that – Hate Isn’t Funny. This is the last I’m going to say on the matter.

That blog post got a lot of attention on twitter and facebook (and in comments here).  It’s also had the most hits of any of my posts on this blog in a very long time (I’ve not seen the stats but in terms of shares etc I think actually my recent post over on Bea Magazine has had more of an impact but not by much). And I’m glad because it means that people are hearing the point about disability and hate and how it isn’t funny.

It also received one negative tweet but that was just #nosenseofhumour (hashtag no sense of humour) and frankly if people can’t put more substance into their disagreeing with me than a hashtag then they aren’t worth bothering with, I ignored it and made judicious use of the “block” button.

Following a suggestion from a friend of mine and encouragement from my mum I also tweeted Omid Djalili the link to my blog. And to give him his due he did reply and there was some discussion between us.

His response isn’t what I’d like. But that’s mostly because I’d have liked an apology and that was never going to happen.  Frankly some of it was victim blaming. He claims he said, clearly, both nights “I’m not saying all disabled people are….” before making his horrific joke about a disability stereotype. I wasn’t in there both nights but neither my mum or I remember it happening on the night we went. I tweeted back to him that I felt like he was blaming me for being upset by it and he responded “not at all. Entitled to your feelings 100%”

And “obviously” the thing about not choosing venues with wheelchair access was a joke.  That might have been a bit more obvious if there wasn’t precendent of other comedians cancelling gigs at venues that had wheelchair users in obvious places.

On the whole I’d like to think my blog and our conversation on twitter has made several people think about what is and isn’t appropriate when it comes to disability in comedy. And more importantly I’d like to think that it’s made Omid Djalili think and he might reconsider using the jokes.  I really, really doubt I’ve achieved that because I’m too cynical and hardened by too many broken promises about access and equality for my disability. I respect his taking the time to respond but I don’t think he really respects disabled people any more than it seemed he did at his gig on Wednesay night.

Maybe someday someone else will tell me they went to one of his gigs and he didn’t use disability hate speech or ableist jokes.  But it sure as hell won’t be a gig I’m at because I’m not going to waste my money going to see him again.

>Not Acceptable

>Regular readers of my blog will know that the R word is one that I hate.  I’ve written about it many times before and unfortunately will more than likely have cause to write about it many more times in the future.  An argument I’ve made to many people is “if you wouldn’t use … (insert derogatory term about another minority group) then don’t use the R word”.  It’s hate speech, it’s unacceptable and it hurts.  It actually, physically, hurts.

Unfortunately the R word is alive and well at present as demonstrated by the fact that Caitlin Moran used it in her recently published book which is being pimped left right and centre.  Nicky Clark has written about it here and has had something of a success (Caitlin Moran tweeted something of a pathetic apology and an attempt to justify it and the publishers say any reprints will have the wording removed).

That’s why I was so pleased to see this video (and not just because it includes people from Glee) which will hopefully help towards putting the R word in it’s coffin once and for all.

To help Spread the Word to End the Word, you can visit R-Word.org where you can find information and resources and also take the pledge. Please do so.

>Why is the R word so offensive?

>A few days ago an anonymous comment was left on one of my entries asking why the R word is more offensive to me than idiot or moron.

For some reason that seemed to be a bit of a difficult question for me to answer; I’m not sure why.  I think for me it’s an obvious thing (not that I mean to suggest the person who asked the question is wrong, I should probably make my points clearer when I write).  I’ve been wanting to respond but not sure how to.

I think that both the I word and the M word aren’t used as deliberate insults designed to target and hurt a specific group of society any more.  I’m not sure of their origins as words.  The R word however, that’s no longer used in it’s correct/original useage – to describe someone with a specific type of disability in a medical way.  It’s used to ridicule and to hurt a specific group of people. Disabled people.  And it’s unacceptable.

If you’re going to take one thing away from this entry, you could take anything I’ve written above, I hope I’ve made it clearer than I did before.  But I’d much rather you went and looked at this post about a much loved daughter and the R word.  It says it much better than I ever could.

Or you could go and read about the battle Nicky Clark had with Ofcom and Channel 4 about the R word being used.  750 Mencap members gave evidence of the hurt and hate they’d encountered from the R word. Yet it still took a protest and multiple appeals before anything was done.  As Nicky wrote in her post, if the terms used had been racist or anti religion the apology would have been immediate.  This isn’t a small problem, it’s a big one.  Unfortunately however it’s a big one not many people take seriously.

And I’m one of a group of people who want to change that.  That’s why the R word bothers me more than the I word (idiot), the M word (moron).