The Assassination of Down Syndrome by the Coward Ricky Gervais

‘Monged up’ Gervais.

‘When I use a word,’ Ricky Gervais said, in rather a scornful tone,
‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

So stand up, you, child with intellectual disability and mud on your hands and tears on your dirty face, and do stop making a fuss. Mr Gervais clearly didn’t mean you. And if those other children pushed you to the ground and shouted Mong! at you, it’s hardly the fault of one of the most successful English entertainers of the last fifteen years, is it? No it is not.

Because when he calls people monglets it’s ironic! This is a man with a stellar career. He’s worked with Samuel L Jackson, for God’s sake! Next you’ll be saying that selling millions of box sets of The Office gives Mr Gervais some sort of sway with the impressionable public who, let us all be crystal clear here, are quite capable of deciding who’s a mong and who’s a retard or a spazz, thanks. And anyway, the other kids were at least including you in their activities, no?

Honestly. There’s no pleasing some people.

Yes. Get over it. You don’t see all the gays standing around with dull looks of incomprehension, wondering what’s going on and why they’re being victimised, do you? And it’s not because they can’t go on about it. Christ, the gays LOVE to talk! Nobody can out-talk Graham Norton! But they know it’s not all about them. No homo isn’t saying, like, no to homosexuality. It’s an in-joke, see.

Here we go. I can tell I’m going to have to explain every single thing in this one. The gays are getting on with it. Why can’t you mongs get that? And no, I don’t mean people with Down syndrome. I have friends, some of my best friends, who have Down syndrome. Plus too, this isn’t some bandwagon Mr Gervais has suddenly jumped on. He mentioned mong in his Science DVD, and he even explained there that he doesn’t mean Down’s Syndrome. See?

Really you should be grateful. The more the great Mr Gervais popularises the word, the less power it will have in precisely this situation. He’s doing you a FAVOUR, Down syndrome people. If you weren’t a- if only you hadn’t an intellectual disability you might’ve saved everybody a lot of trouble by figuring that out for yourself.

As it is, the PC brigade has come running. Typical. Bloody Richard Herring. Clueless tool. You lot just don’t get that everyone does it. It’s NOTHING to do with Down syndrome. And the extremist idiot cretins who keep mentioning suicide and abuse of people who have intellectual disability, why do they insist on coming up with this rubbish and then bringing it back to someone who has a huge following and is very successful and has worked with Larry frigging David, ffs? How could the two be related AT ALL?

Mr Gervais is shining a spotlight on the ridiculousness of this PC nonsense. He only ever says mongol to explain that mong isn’t related to mongol, which is a word he would never use. Besides, if for one second anyone could show a link to the popularising of abusive hate language and abuse suffered by people with disability would instantly change things.

If you were to say, just go with us here for a minute of hypothetical indulgence, suppose you were to say that South Wales Police figures show there were 379 reported disability hate crimes in 2010/11, an increase of 214 on the the previous year, well that might be something. But it’s not going to happen because clearly it’s UNrelated.

And besides, it’s Wales.

Ricky Gervais is straight down the line. He has shown respect for nobody, equally, and you’d do well to bear that in mind. He’s torn strips off 84 year old Hugh Hefner. He’s ripped into Hollywood stars. He’s lampooned the holocaust. He’s worked with Kate Winslet, for the love of Christ. What sort of unequal signal would it send out if he started treating people with intellectual disability as if they were somehow different?

Not his style. He is honest. If you can’t take that, do as so many of his loyal fans suggest. Don’t listen. How can it hurt if you just change channels? You won’t have to hear what he’s saying, or what his millions and millions of catch-phrase loving fans will be repeating. Simple, simpleton.

Why SHOULD he apologise? He’s got 450, 000 followers on Twitter alone, and they understand exactly what his high ideals are on this matter. This is a man who has worked with Robert de Niro. If Mr Gervais says Susan Boyle looks like a mong well then I’m at a loss to understand how you could take that up wrong. She just needed a makeover and a bit of a do. Crikey, I hope I don’t get stuck in a lift with you any time soon because it already sounds like your jokes will be TERRIBLE.

But still, the streets are lined with the haters, jealous of the Gervais Midas ways with words. No matter. As the man himself has said, ‘two mongs don’t make a right’ (please don’t make an association there with Down syndrome: there clearly is none). It’s easy to forget that he didn’t have to have a character in a wheelchair in The Office. But he did it. No word about that now though, oh no, Nicky Clark. Now it’s all ‘Ooh you can’t say that’, and ‘What would Richard Herring say?’ Who cares what Richard Herring would say? I mean, look at what he says on his blog:

I am not offended by Ricky “reclaiming” the word “mong” (though I don’t think it’s his position to attempt this), I just think it’s a bit odd and pathetic to be doing what he’s doing and I don’t agree that the word is harmless. But no one is trying to ban anything – I have used the word “mong” in this blog (oh, I’ve done it again). And as I’ve also said there’s loads of comedy in disability and our attitudes towards it. But ironically enough, by Ricky’s 300,000+ followers taking his lead and using the word against people (including me today) they are demonstrating why it is misguided of him to use the word in the first place. I don’t think he has found a way to make it mean something different, but his fans definitely haven’t (here’s the latest example – “Who the hell is Richard Herring? I’d call him a mong, but I don’t want to insult mongs!! :-)” – is that man using “mong” to mean something other than disabled? Don’t think so). And the term is suddenly proliferating, which is making life uncomfortable for the disabled people I have been in contact with. Which seems a shame. I guess having done these two Objective shows on the golliwog and the wheelchair has made me more acutely aware of how these names affect people.

What. A. Mong. (No disablist.) Richard ‘Softie’ Herring has quite clearly never co-starred with Orlando Bloom in ANYthing. Also, Ricky loves his fans. Really loves us. How could you, whining on and on about being PC, possibly hope to understand real love? Have YOU worked with Ben Stiller?

I did not think so.

Update: Gervais replies to Nicky Clark following her emotional reaction on a BBC radio show. I can’t hear it in Ireland, unfortunately, but maybe you can. It’s here.

And thanks for a link to a more reasoned response, from comedian Robin Ince here, thank you Moloch50.


SNAs: sacrificing the neuro-atypical

Disclaimer: I am not in a good mood with the people driving the bus. If you’d prefer sunshine right now, maybe come back another time.

It’s a big, scary world when you’re a little person. Things just are. They’ve always been. They don’t change. Big people know best and must be trusted. Daddy’s hand and mummy’s arms are the safest places in the world.

Occupy Wall Street for as long as you like. Just don’t get cocky.

If you’re lucky, you get to hold on to that trust for a few years. You get your disappointments handed to you in bearable increments. You might even get to sensible, middle-classed middle age before you get the shock of being arrested for peaceful, legal protest in the land of the free. in your home town, as Naomi Wolf was in New York last night. ‘…if DHS [the Department of Homeland Security] now has powers to simply take over a New York City street because of an arrest for peaceable conduct by a middle-aged writer in an evening gown, we have entered a stage of the closing of America, which is a serious departure from our days as a free republic.’ Lucky you, Naomi, in one bitter sense, that you got quite so long out of the illusion. Don’t worry. You’re certainly not alone. We’re through the looking glass with you.

Kicking our SNAs out with the baby

Closer to home Anonymous Writer, posting on The Anti Room, is under no illusion as to what his or her son is losing now that the IMF, ECB and EU are telling us in Ireland what to do but not how to do it. The how we’ve been figuring out ourselves. Special Needs Assistants are being sacrificed, and the needs of the most vulnerable among us are being stripped to show what they are: expendable fringe elements. The autism, dyspraxia, severe receptive language issues, below-average IQ, motor issues and assorted other issues that Anonymous’s 15-year old son must live with, and take the scorn of his classmates for, are first on the forgettable list when it comes to squaring our debt with our external corporate masters. In his parent’s words,

But credit where it’s due. Well done Timothy Geithner, Goldman Sachs, Christine Lagarde, Jean-Claude Trichet and all the rest. You’ve taught our son a good lesson: divide and rule is a tried and trusted strategy. It allows you to slink out the door with all the world’s wealth while ever-willing, ingratiating foot-soldiers at the coalface get on with finishing your dirty work for you. (Funny how those foot soldiers are never in short supply, isn’t it?)

Anonymous has no doubt been keenly aware of the imbalance in life for quite some time. Speaking of foot soldiers, it doesn’t exactly give me a warm glow inside to know that our Finance Minister Michael Noonan, a man in his seventies, can mug for the cameras today and grin like a well patted monkey and tell us that the overlords will be pleased to announce tomorrow that we’re doing ever so well in paying them huge sums of money, while back home our damaged kids, and the flimsy routes through life that we’ve been trying to construct for them, will somehow have to make do, because frankly they, like our old and our sick, are lessers. This is our Serengeti migration, folks, and devil take the hindmost. The government is doing well under difficult circumstances and we all have to make sacrifices and things are improving and blah blah bullshit. It won’t save the weakest ones. And if we’re to reach above ourselves for even the merest second, we’ll do it by holding out our hand to the weakest ones. And yes I’m biased, and yes I feel it all more keenly because I have a son with special needs, but the feeling of aloneness in the face of what you once simply trusted is no different that the lurching realisation that Naomi Wolf felt in her marrow yesterday when her police came to take her away for doing no wrong.

…unfortunately, my partner and I became exhibit A in a process that I have been warning Americans about since 2007: first they come for the “other” – the “terrorist”, the brown person, the Muslim, the outsider; then they come for you – while you are standing on a sidewalk in evening dress, obeying the law.

So no, the trust is no more. The realisation that you have to fight for it all stays with you. And it makes you tired. You get inspiration and you find friends and you have brief moments when you can stop thinking about keeping the roof secure, whatever about the rattling windows, but what you do not want, what you absolutely cannot tolerate, is wanton cruelty from respected people in privileged positions. But that’s in the next post.