Sunday, 11 January 2015

Sue Marsh -The blogger, blogged.

"Friends, journos, activists Lend me your ears I come here to bury Sue Marsh not to praise her"

Or rather I would, if I was of a judgemental persuasion. And I'm not, so I won't.

As we all know by now, Sue has decided to accept a job with Maximus and the reaction by some in the disability activism community on line, can best be summed up in the words of another Maximus "I will have my vengeance". many are angry and giving vent to their rage.

I'm writing not about Sue's decision, but about the response to her decision. All I can say is it wouldn't be my decision, but I'm not Sue and neither is anyone else. She's explained her reasons in her blog which she didn't have to do, either.

But she did and the backlash has demonstrated why she must have agonised before making her choice.

The problem with the on line abuse is that it negates a reasoned discussion around changing the system from within. Whilst everyone is still too shocked and confused they may lose sight of the fact that we can't negate the efficacy of Sue's new job, until some time has passed and she is able to have the chance to effect change.

It's too soon to decry this out of hand.

People feel so hurt and wounded by the system and its hand maidens and they have every right to these feelings. What isn't a right is to dictate the life choices of others, removing their autonomy over their own lives. That's what we've all been fighting against ultimately.

Neither do we have the right to spread rumours and gossip, any of us, no matter how angry. I've been sent some of this after I spoke out against the verbal abuse targeting Sue. I don't read it and it doesn't change the fact that Sue has made her decision.

I don't listen to gossip. If we take a stand against the propaganda waged against sick and disabled people and carers in the tabloids, then we must apply those same rules to ourselves by not furthering opinion dressed as fact. Otherwise we get into bed with those who tout the notion of us "all being in this together"

Verbal abuse no matter what the reason behind it, is wrong, destructive and damaging. I've endured many savaging verbal attacks on line by those who claim to know my reasons, motivations and feelings and they don't. These are opinions but when these are touted as fact it just looks like angry gossip.

I like Sue on a personal level and I wish her well. She has endured a great deal and has continued. We've benefited from her writing and her campaigning and irrespective of whether we agree with her choices or not, I feel she deserves at least to be free from targeted verbal abuse.

We all do.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Kicking back.

Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo to those of a non-internet persuasion, host the hugely popular and repeatedly downloaded film review show on R5 live. 

Their fans are many, their show is excellent and their reviews and interviews are superb. The notion that the BBC's mission statement is to educate, entertain and inform is found in abundance here. If there is a BBC spectrum with Top Gear at one end (for arguments sake the very, very bottom then Wittertainment is the other end (top top top)

Today in posting his BBC News film review round up for 2014, Mark Kermode commented that one of his reviews had "made a "kids author" decide I needed a good kicking".

Unpleasant, to have read and much worse to have been in receipt of.

So I'm going to post an email I wrote to the show in November. Carers rights day to be be precise. If your tastes run to the cynical then I advise you don't read any further, if in fact you made it this far.

If not then please see this as my offering some balance and grateful thanks because we tend not to do that enough in my opinion and I felt it warranted a rapid response.

Dear "I'm a man" and "well nobody's perfect",

Writing today to say thank you and to ask if you can say thank you on my behalf.

The value of film has been written about and "wittered" about and contemplated and theorised over, ever since the medium began and your show exists for this very good reason, as well as keeping two old grumps like yourselves off the streets.

Today is carers rights day and having been a carer for 21 years I wanted to express another life enhancing element of film which may not always have been considered.

The redemptive, recuperative and respite producing element of immersing yourself in a film.

When you live a tricky life, of high level pressure, the pure joy of taking time out from that, is beyond measure. Sometimes film addresses the lives of carers and those they love and when done well, it also offers support and recognition. 

I've always found immersing myself in the lives of others to be beautiful and useful. Even a "bad film" offers time away from challenges. 

So I wanted to say thank you to film makers and to your show for this. We live in cynical times where saying thank you is more often superseded by complaint, or met with censure but it's nicer to be nice I've found.

Wittertainment seemed like the very best place to send my thanks.

Hope that's ok,

Nik x