Thursday, April 22, 2010

Note to Self: Never Read the Comments!

I read this post last week about a British woman who was shocked by a comedian's remarks about people with Down syndrome. It is a great post--she has a beautiful daughter and I really like her non-confrontational, explanatory approach.

Naturally, I couldn't stop there. I forgot myself and read the comments--and it was truly painful.

There were many comments  supportive of the woman's experience, but the rest were pretty vile.These are not folks that disagreed with her opinions, these are folks who were furious that she voiced an opinion at all. Disagreement keeps things interesting, but these people didn't say that they saw things differently, they verbally assaulted her.

First there were the folks who feel that people who don' t like something should NOT say so... have you noticed that these folks do not follow their own advice?

Then there were some who needed to blame the victim--her pain is her own fault.

Some shared the comedian's stereotypical view of people with Down syndrome.... and tried to prove themselves right (really???)

Still others made the case that if she wasn't a perfect person she had nothing to say--another group who should show us how this works by example... but they never do, do they?

Lots of forms of  "Just Shut Up!"


My opinion? If someone hurts you, you have the right to say both 'ouch' and 'stop it.' You do not have to just lie there and take it, whether anyone else likes it or not.

Now some might say don't just skip the comments, don't take a stand at all, but I don't agree. It may be small comfort, but there are a whole lot of people talking about disability respect today because of this event who had never thought about it 2 weeks ago...

And, while reading the comments may give you an ulcer, activism actually makes people happier.

Plus, there is a really great disability-blogging community. (We're wonderful... just ask us!)

I hope these small facts will help this mom hang tough!

Words Hit Like a Fist image from Rolling Around in my Head.


Matthew Smith said...

I put up a post about the Frankie Boyle incident and talked to a local radio show about it. Nasty comedy of that sort is very popular in the UK right now and people don't challenge it, usually because they go to the theatre to hear exactly what's being given, and it's only rarely that someone gets offended.

I've also had people coming on my blog and telling me not to post about X or Y, because my blog is supposed to be about issue Z which they in fact have no interest in! I can't understand how people think they can tell someone who's paying for their own blog what to write on it, it's so arrogant.

Terri said...

That kind of comedy is pretty popular--it makes me feel like I did in 7th grade, waiting for a bully to strike so I stay away... but that is me.

I think the mom was caught by surprise and took that on herself (didn't ask him to stop or anything, but did tell him why when he asked--I think that is fair.)

I think some commenters really do get out of line--joining a discussion is good, directing a discussion on someone else's blog is NOT. You're right, arrogant is the word!

(Further than that, I think many folks find a lot of power in being able to bully so the idea that someone might speak up and make bullying stop is very threatening, but that is just my little theory...)