Thursday 29 November 2012

I’d Give My Left Arm for That

There was a woman asking some children how they would prefer to be mutilated on the radio this evening. “If you choose a disability that you had to live with, what would it be?”

The first answer was from a young boy who said that he would lose the use of his left hand. Sensible answer, he clarified that he wanted to keep the hand but it would have no use. I like the fact he didn’t go for something very difficult. Not that I mean to belittle the hardships of of people with a ‘dumb hand’. Jeremy Beadle is a notable figure who succeeded where many with two completely functional hands failed. Plus he added that he was right-handed.

But why were the BBC broadcasting this odd programme where children were justifying which part of their body they would lose if they had to? Was it a new move by the Radio 5 Live team to appeal to a younger-yet-more-morbid audience? Other boy was settling for a harder bargain, “I’d settle for losing both my legs – but below the knee so I could have legs like Oscar Pistorious.”

The woman hosting the chat asked for a girl’s thoughts: “Mine would be below the knee as well.”

The host asked her if one or both legs.

“One.”

Do you think watching The Paralympics changed your minds about it actually looks quite cool? Rather than oh gosh that looks terrible?

“Yeah…and I think you’d just get more respect.”

Quite. Now, clearly this was a para-athlete talking to children rather than some strange quiz. And I am all for positivity about disabilities. But it seems strange to hear people kind-of-wishing that half of their limbs would be hacked off as they might gain more respect or that they would look quite cool with Pistoriouesque prosthetic shin-feet. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is fucking brilliant that the Paralympics had such a seismic change on the outlook of these children that they had fantasies of getting used to life with prosthetic legs – or a left hand that didn’t work. It’s just odd to listen with.

And then the parathlete was asked how she lost her arm. “I managed to chop my own arm off in a sausage machine.” Turns out this has happened when she was two and her mum felt really guilty about it because she was in the room – they lived on a farm. I suppose rooms have sausage machines on farms. I think I would feel quite bad about it if I was her mum as well. I mean not now – the woman (the swimmer, yes, she was a swimmer) seemed pretty fucking chuffed with the way her life had turned out. So, in a way, her mother’s negligent parenting around a machine capable of cutting off a toddler’s arm had paid dividends. (Is that better or worse parenting than being a member of UKIP? Ohhhh, I can be so bloody topical when I want to be.)

In summary: it’s fucking brilliant that people having disabilities is just seen as people being different. And it’s brilliant that these differences are being celebrated and there is no negativity around it. Sometimes it is just odd to hear someone say their arm fell off in a sausage machine.

Levy Some?

I don’t really know too much about the Leveson thing. I watched some of it. I read some about it – so I know stuff. I also know that the stuff some areas of the popular press get up to is fucking appalling. People who accepted the closure of The News of The World and Rupert Murdoch pretending he was ashamed as the end of phone hacking and similar are few and far between I’m sure – and they are fucking stupid.

The main thing seems to be that if some laws are imposed on the press as a result we will lose a free press. The press suggest they can police themselves. Yeah, but you can’t though can you (press)? And surely these selfs who could police the self-same-selfs should have been policing themselves when they were listening to the voicemails of the parents of murdered children. Or indeed the voicemails of anyone.

I’m a big fan of freedom and liberties and such. But sometimes I can’t help but be suspicious of some people who hold them up as some kind of shield. I’m not that bothered about carrying an ID card. Or having my fingerprints on a database. Then again it’s an easy thing to say when you’re not being persecuted or wrongly imprisoned for a crime I didn’t commit.

The freedom of the press seemed to be the freedom to take liberties with many people’s civil liberties and behave in a way that was morally reprehensible. Not everyone of course. There are many brilliant journalists and newspapers and media outlets. But there is also The Sun. Perhaps instead of blaming the papers and the journalists who do all this horrible shit the true power of the people is to stop buying the fucking rags that do this horrible shit. Just a thought.

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