Ricky Gervais is new to Twitter and seems to have spent the first couple of weeks mainly posting pictures of himself pulling the kind of faces that school children pull to parody the disabled and calling people "mongs". Obviously some people picked him up on it as he tweeted "Just to clarify for uptight people stuck in the past. The word Mong means Downs syndrome about as much as the word Gay means happy." He didn't care to clarify what it does now mean and the accompanying pictures made it easy to assume that it had been broadened out to mean any disabled person. He added "ie I never use the word Mong to mean anything to do with Downs Syndrome. Just like I never use the word cunt to female genitalia." So I guess he means that the word "mong" has just become short hand for idiot. I must have missed that meeting. I agree that when people say "cunt" they more often than not are not thinking of female genitalia at all, so would agree that that word has changed. But when I hear the word "mong" it always makes me think of people mocking disabled people, usually with an accompanying turn.
Herring's blog, 2011-10-10
The worst threat in their lives was not sexual violence or gender bias, but "censorship" - the idea that anyone could ever stop them from their right to speak. As young, generally-white, straight males, they have never had their privilege truly challenged. Their perception of themselves as cultural outsiders who do not have to follow the same rules. They view themselves as lacking cultural capital in the sense that they are not the richer, more powerful alpha males of the world. They saw themselves as victims of the women who were not sleeping with them, victims to the world that told them they were lesser beings than the richer, more masculine, more powerful men who stood above them. And while they would just as quickly claim that their actions/behavior had no effect on the dominant culture, I would like to point out that the entire marketing industry is driven almost wholly by their demographic. If that's not cultural clout, I don't know what is.
He didn't make clear what it was he imagined 'mong' now meant, and undermined his position ever so slightly by posting photos of himself doing a 'mong' face.
The same face that was pulled in my direction all through school by people who seemed to think it hilarious that my brother was born brain damaged.
I remember coming to class once, and everyone was waiting for me. The floor had been cleared to make way for two girls, one sitting in the teacher's swivel chair, the other pushing her along, like she was in a wheelchair. As she was pushed along the girl in the chair did the whole 'spaz' act; stuck her tongue out, twisted her limbs up, made noises, drooled. All in my honour. Then everyone laughed at me. Like I was the one worthy of being mocked in that scenario!
When I would go shopping with my family, kids my own age would follow me and my brother around laughing at him, pointing and saying 'spastic' 'mong' 'retard'.
I dunno, maybe I just don't have the winning sense of humour that Gervais does. Maybe they too were masters of irony.
This will admittedly sound cynical, but I believe Gervais has deliberately fomented the current controversy. He briefly tried Twitter two years ago, then swore off it, doing many articles and video pieces about how much he hated it. With a new show to produce – Life's Too Short on BBC2 – he's suddenly decided to try it again, quickly announcing that he's in love with it. This despite initially following no-one on there, and only eventually doing so because of the barrage of complaint tweets he received about his own self-absorbed usage of the medium. He doesn't involve himself in the discussions either. He uses it as a marketing tool, as many, many people on Twitter do. That's fine, although makes his talk of "loving" a medium he clearly doesn't understand look a bit insincere...
And I still say people need to toughen the fuck up a bit. You shriek and tut and whine about how offended you are by a word and you give it more power, and the people who'll thank you for that are those who like to use the word to hurt in the first place.
Disability hate crimes rose by more than a fifth last year, figures showed today.
Police recorded 1,569 incidents where the victim thought the alleged crime was motivated by their disability in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, compared with just 1,294 in 2009.
But the overall number of hate crimes dropped by 7% from 51,920 to 48,127 in 2010.
The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) said disability hate crimes had been "significantly under-reported in the past".
Chief Constable Stephen Otter, the ACPO lead on equality, diversity and human rights, said officers were committed to "building victims' confidence and improving our recording practices so that more victims can access the service they deserve".
Iqbal Bhana, deputy chairman of the Government's hate crime advisory group, added: "It is good to see progress but there is still a long way to go before we can be satisfied that hate crime victims are properly protected."
The latest figures also showed there were 39,311 race-related hate crimes last year, 4,883 motivated by sexual orientation, 2,007 crimes by religion or faith, and 357 by transgender issues.
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