Hello again. I hope 2013 is being kind to you so far, and will continue to be. Today is Twelfth Night, the day by which it is traditional to take down the Christmas decorations to avoid bad luck. I took mine down yesterday – does that mean I’m safe? At least I haven’t been beset with partridges, other feathered creatures or assorted dancers for the past few days, so I guess it could be worse. The closest I’ve got to the Twelve Days of Christmas is the iTunes freebies giveaway of that name, But even that had its moments – yesterday it was a video of One Direction, and there was I thinking you had to be 13 to have an iTunes account. Age, that is, not IQ.
My reason for bothering you today is that I’m going to ask a favour of you, before the period of goodwill to all is officially over. As Bill the Bard put it, ‘Twelfth Night, or What You Will’ – so, out of the kindness of your heart I’m ‘Willing’ you to help me. Yes, I know that sets me up for the ‘Contrived Link of the Year’ Award, but I’ve had worse in my time!
After my last post, I was thinking about what I’d said on mockery and abuse, and how that happens in many different ways. I looked – as usual – at Twitter and found a few comments/jokes which were, at first sight, sometimes witty or funny. But underlying them was an insensitivity towards those who might suffer from the ‘affliction’ which was being joked about. I’d be the first to accept that I’m probably more sensitive since I was ill, but I’d like to think that is towards others as well as just about myself. To give you an example of what I thought might be hurtful to some: on one day there were a couple of the #hashtag games about older people, one on songs and the other on movies. Many of these were quite clever and amusing, at a superficial level. But they all relied on stereotypical views of older people which some would find offensive: they forget things, they smell, they are incontinent, they dribble and are messy, that sort of thing. Alright, these all may be true of what happens to us as we get older, but should we be mocking them? They can’t help it, can they? So I thought it might be an idea to do a follow up piece showing a few instances of how discrimination underpins a lot of what we say and do, either by accident or design. I won’t be naming and shaming anyone, I just want to show some examples to set my words around.
So, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to please let me have some stories to work from. Everything will be anonymised, I don’t intend to break any confidences or reveal my sources! It doesn’t matter where they come from, whether it be Twitter, Facebook or even real life! All contributions will be very welcome, and I hope to be making something from them soon. You can either get in touch via Twitter (DM if you would like total anonymity!) or via the comments box. All comments are moderated before they go public, so nothing will be revealed if you don’t want it to be. Thank you in anticipation of your help, and enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Oh, one final thought. If any One Direction fans think my comment was mocking, abusive or discriminatory in any way please accept my apologies. But you really should try listening to real music!