Did You Listen to Coronation Street??
By Barry Hill
Before about 1982, we didn’t have the politically correct brigade banging their drum in defence of disabled people. There were some horrible phrases that were widely accepted. I am grateful to those who fought to tone down the language into something much more considerate. Still, PC can go too far.
We now seem to be conditioned by left-wing do-gooders to make it impossible not to offend SOMEONE by our misuse of language. The most innocuous of wording used in pure innocence will be ok right up to the moment when some social justice warrior points out that it might be offensive.
Just because I’m blind doesn’t mean the vocabulary I use has changed. When I was sighted I would always say ‘See you later’ and I still do. ‘Hear you later’ just doesn’t work. I’d also ask to have a look at something. That was and still is normal vocabulary. Now that I’m blind if I want to check something out I still ask to have a look. What I really, really don’t then want is some smart-arse auto-correct PC warrior saying , “Don’t you mean feel?” What I’d like to do there is to smack them up the side of the head and ask how that looks.
Avoiding any vocabulary that involves using words such as see, watch, read or look assumes that I am so hyper-sensitive about my blindness that I will fall down sobbing like a four-year-old prima donna being denied a Kinder Surprise in a supermarket if you don’t use appropriate vocabulary. In fact, I’m more likely to break down in tears if you ask me if I ‘listened’ to so-and-so on TV yesterday.
To be precise, I can’t watch TV and movies, I can’t see my mates (apparently not a bad thing), and I can’t look at, well, anything, but do I really want to make an issue out of it? If we were all pedants, we wouldn’t use metaphor or simile. Is it really fishy when something isn’t right? Exactly how did that bull get into the china shop anyway? Are you really dying of thirst on the way to the pub?
Although ‘listen’ and ‘feel’ are accurate, what using this sort of pc auto-correct vocabulary does is to highlight the fact that I am blind. Rather than it being understanding and showing empathy with my disability it’s making an issue of it. It’s pretty much saying “Oh silly you Barry. Have you forgot that you’re blind?”
“Well bugger me. I just thought it was a particularly dark day… every day. Thanks for that reminder and implied suggestion that I’m not an equal member of society.
As I am a cynical person I also wonder about the intention of some Social Justice Warriors. Do you really feel that justice is being done by correcting the accuracy of my vocabulary or is it more that you are looking for personal validation? Too harsh? Well don’t marginalise me and I won’t kick you in the ego.
Of course, I’m being unkind and ungrateful to the genuinely well-meaning soles whose intention is to use vocabulary that does consider my sensitivity. Thing is thanks but stop it. I’m not sensitive to words that allude to the world that I can’t see. If you were to edit them all out your speech could be dangerous. Picture the scene:
I’m strolling along with my cane and miss the drop kerb onto the road when a private hire taxi slowly (yeah right) comes around the corner towards me. You shout “Barry loo…. Oh, erm wat… oh erm… oh shit it’s hit him.”
It doesn’t matter that you think you can pull off the natural cadence when asking if I have ever listened to ‘A brief history of time’ by Stephen Hawking? It doesn’t sound natural simply because the normal usual and natural thing to say is “Have you read…”. I mean you wouldn’t have said to the amazing Stephen Hawking “I didn’t catch that. Can you get your speech synthesiser to say that again?” You would have simply asked him to say it again well you would have if you weren’t an SJW arse.
I can live with sympathy and even ignorance. What riles me is using PC language as a pointed stick. Let me give you an example. I know a blind woman who objects to being asked if she watched something on TV. “I can’t watch TV; I listen to it.” Would be her spikey reply. Ok fine. If you want to be treated differently like a pariah from society then you carry on with your divisive language. Actually, scratch that. Whether we like it or not every vi person represents vi people. Not all Conservative politicians are self-serving hypocrites but shit sticks. Likewise, if a vi person has a chip on their shoulder the size of an iceberg then this shit will stick too. For Pete’s sake stop it woman! You’re only endorsing the overuse of being politically correct. If you want to be exclusive dye your hair bright pink and wear a leather catsuit.
Sadly, this small minority of visually impaired people are "professionally offended". They are angry and bitter and are desperate for people to use language that they can then object to and scream hate crime. It is unavoidable that they represent a community and in doing so portray all vi people as prickly and aggressive. This results in people being less likely to engage with the nice visually impaired people like me (when I’m not ranting in a blog) for fear of a backlash.
Let me just say for the record: For most visually impaired people ‘watch’ ‘look’ and ‘see’ are inclusive don’t highlight any issue in normal language. If you come across one of these professional pricks (that’s what you call a prickly person isn’t it?) they do not represent me, or most visually impaired people so do not listen to them. In fact, you could go so far as to tell them that they are just making an issue rather than being like everyone else.
There’s even worse than this even worse. Last week I was in a social gathering (no not a pub) when someone said to me "Did you see Coronation Street last night?"
From out of no-where a SJ warrior butted in saying "No of course he didn't see Coronation Street; He's blind; how can you be so insensitive?"
Ok she was right. I didn’t watch Coronation Street but that’s because I don’t like Coronation Street not because I’m blind. I’d like to have retorted with something in that vein, but I was embarrassed for the innocent enquirer and wrongfooted by the incredible presumption so the smug idiot who'd got it wrong went off even more smug thinking they'd just done a good bit of virtue signalling.
If you want to fight for my civil rights, then fight for access to the internet, letters from the DWP and hospital in an accessible format, less clutter on the streets and more audio description on TV and do it without wanting a pat on the back, then yours is the Earth my son and everything in it.
Did You Listen to Coronation Street??