I'm having a too much to blog day. There is so much stuff in my head I want to slam down into the blog that it's all a bit too much. I've not blogged for a couple of weeks so it was bound to happen.
This week's busy-ness is down to recording the next podcast (slightly early cos Mat Fraser is zooming off to the states on Monday) and also Tiger Woods didn't help.
It was a weird week, my Assistant Producer was away on annual leave and suddenly the heavens broke. I was working ridiculously long hours - wednesday I worked 5am til 10pm.
Tiger Woods. I have to say I don't particularly care that he said spaz though I am minded of the whole little acts of degradation debate that Ragged Edge are having at the moment.
I posted an article late Tuesday morning soon after the news broke. Within 3 hours we were receiving approx 1 email per minute about it. WE must've had hundreds now in the past few days. The vast majority were from non-disabled people all keen to a: rubbish us for mentioning it and B: point out that spaz isn't a disability related word in America "it just means idiot" wrote one person. "it describes someone who is a klutz, lacking balance, undignified, clumsy and uncoordeinated" wrote another (I paraphrased that last quote).
Isn't this the whole point though? Do I need to say more?
Clearly language changes though. Idiot in Britain was, if I recall correctly, far more offensive 200 years ago ... referring very specifically to people locked away for being mad? We now use it in a friendly way. It has no real sting. But then I spoke to some Americans who were offended by it. We're aware a journalist got Tiger to repeat his phrase replacing the word 'spaz' with 'wreck' ... so what does that say? It must've been very quickly understood that it was offensive, no?
The hundreds of emails we received were from the "political correctness gone mad" brigade. The tone was unpleasant. Particular kudos to the person who wrote calling us cunts ... and the other person who cleverly said that Ouch was more of an offensive word to him. Brilliant.
It's all been an intersting debate though ... but maybe I'm finding it interesting for the wrong reasons. I'm fascinated by the human response to what I wrote.
On Wednesday I wrote a very balanced and fair article which summed up the situation to me.
Amazing response. Yet more emails. I'm told almost half a million people read that article in its first 24-hours of being live on the news site. Certainly Ouch's hits quadrupled too.
I'm told we made Popbitch and B3ta websites and newsletters too. And also the Drudge Report???? (I've yet to find reference to it on that site though, if anyone could help that'd be appreciated).
Course, with a name next to it, the emails got that bit more personal towrds me. But above many things I've written recently, I'm really quite pleased with that BBC News article. I hope it places the whole language thing in a context, of sorts.
As a journalist you want response so I was very pleased. I'm aware people probably clicked and read it more because they were surprised to see the word 'spaz' on a BBC news website. Oh and many more uses of the word spaz to be heard on Radio 4's You and Yours programme this Monday when they review the Ouch Podcast. Incidentally presenter John Waite loveds the podcast.
Have lots of other things to say. Very impressed by the whole Blogging Against Disablism idea that Goldfish has come up with.
Talking of blogs, Ouch's own weblog is about to get updated. At the moment it's a little bit of an unsatisfactory user experience as you have to wait hours if not days (if it's a weekend) before your comments go live. Well, we'll soon have a 24-hour moderation system in place which means it can be a truer live'er blog. And we really hope that disabled bloggers will be keen to post that bit more because we love having those links back to your personal blogs ... it'd be great to grow that disabled blogging community some more and intertwine and cross reference it all that little bit more. We all know there are lots of experiences from disabled people that just aren't shared ... never see the light of day ... the blogging community could be a powerful source, a powerful POLITICAL source of growth, pressure and appreciation around disability matters and our lifestyles. I've tried to arrange protests before and there is a real issue with getting disabled people physically into one place at the same time for so many reasons. Cost is another reason. Doing things adhoc in real life non-webspace is an issue. SO hail to the Goldfish and congrats for that mention in The Guardian.