Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Laughing At The Disabled

I work within a stones throw from the world's largest building site by which of course I mean the new Olympic stadium which I obviously can't actually throw a stone at because I'd be strafed by a UAV. As such I have engaged in many a conversation about the upcoming sporting malarkey and have to admit that I am moderately looking forward to it all. I'm particularly looking forward to the diving as it's the event that has the highest possibility of serious, and therefore hilarious, injury. When it comes to the Olympics I'm going to wind up watching a whole bunch of events that I don't give the slightest stuttering fuck about, in these cases I'm hoping for the most entertaining turn of events. That brings me to the uncomfortable subject of how to correctly watch the Paralympics, and more importantly how to correctly laugh at the Paralympics. Oh yes that's right it is entirely acceptable to have a chuckle at both the thrills and/or spills of the differently-abled. Allow me to illustrate that point with this video from the Beijing Olympics...

What did you see there? Did you see a bunch of disabled people in trouble? Because when I watch that clip I see a group of highly trained athletes involved in a hilarious accident. If you think that It's wrong to laugh at that ask yourself if you would laugh at the exact same accident if it involved able bodied athletes. Of course you would it's hilarious. Therefore if you didn't laugh you are prejudiced. You horrible, horrible bastard. I hope you feel terrible about yourself. You see there is a popular opinion among people who don't understand the true nature of dignity and respect. I personally find a guy a wheelchair falling over funnier than an able bodied person falling over just because of the sheer amount of extra difficulty involved on getting a chair to fall over. That's not got anything to do with them being disabled. I find a person in a wheelchair falling over funny regardless of whether or not that person can walk or not, because a person travelling at speed in a metal chair that then flips over is inherently amusing. It's much much more amusing if that person is the kind of person that should be taken seriously, like say... a professional athlete.

This is what the top rung of our society
looks like. Good work team mankind.

Basic comedy theory tells you that when serious and dignified people end up looking stupid it's funny. The only reason that you wouldn't find the idea of a bunch of professional highly trained athletes slamming into each other at speed is if you didn't see them as having dignity to start with. True equality is the right to be laughed at for the exact same stupid reasons as everyone else. There is no reason not to laugh at the disabled... as long as you're not laughing at the disability. So there you have the official guidelines on how to laugh at the Paralympics. Don't laugh at the silly equipment, don't laugh at the funny way they run and don't laugh at the looks on their faces but if they do something that is objectively funny and you don't laugh then you are a prejudiced bigot.

Pictured: You... you dick.

Unfortunately disability is a sliding scale. There is nothing funny about a recently disabled man falling whilst engaged in the arduous physical therapy that is required to move on with his life. However if you're at the point where you get to compete in the Olympics, have sponsorship deals and regularly appear on Blue Peter your life is actually significantly better than mine. You could argue that if my laughter is fuelled by spite and petty jealously and still I'd be a million times more respectful towards the disabled than those who withhold laughter from the misfortune of the handicapped through pity. So go laugh at the disabled with joy in your heart and spring in your step and know that you are an honest and decent person. You know as long as you're not laughing at them indiscriminately... I mean that's not cool. Just when something funny happens to them. Clear. Good.

eddie <only slightly emotionally disabled>

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