Have I Got News For You

Well, no, actually, because I’ve stopped watching the UK political satire show Have I Got News For You.

It happened a few weeks ago, I wanted to let the dust settle, but still feel as strongly now.

The incident which precipitated my decision happened online, rather than on tv. They posted a photograph of the Tory leadership debate. At the time, Sajid Javid was one of the contenders. The photograph showed him sitting awkwardly on his stool. The caption read along the lines, “And you trust him to run the country?”

Here, I make the leap that running the country requires a degree of intelligence. It is a leap of faith, I know. But the point of the joke was to imply that somebody with this physical “foible” (beforehand, I never even knew there was a proper way to sit on a stool) he was unfit to do this intellectual task.

I’m afraid I thought of all the disabled people who have been told they are not fit to do a job because of their disability. Of all the black people who’ve been discriminated against, simply because of the colour of their skin. That they are disqualified from something, for reasons totally unrelated. That it is dressed up as satire does not make it right. This is real life, not satire. Past and present tense. These words harm real people.

So, I said something.

You should have seen the hatefulness of the responses! Because Javid wasn’t disabled, attacking his physical characteristics was ok. Even if they were unrelated. (I have no idea whether Javid has some kind of disability or not, if he does, he certainly doesn’t disclose it, but he might quite reasonably hold the view that it is nobody else’s business).

Even that for finding this not-at-all-funny, I was an example of everything that was wrong with the country. I wonder how much charity work that guy did? how many people he helped each week? (Actually, I knw the answers to these without even asking, since nobody who does voluntary work would describe someone in such a way.) The comments reminded me, I’m afraid to say, of people who joyfully laughed at nig-nogs on Seventies UK TV, until society told them it was wrong. Wrong is wrong, something might be commonly acceptable, but that doesn’t make it right.

There is another point, here. At what point does fun (satire, say. Sport is also a good example, I’m old enough to remember when we’d never play with the South Africans) stop, and you take the matter more seriously? I leave that one for you to ponder.


…I’ve made a few, but then again…

I looked this morning at which of my posts have been most recently read by people, followed the link to the post itself. Almost immediately, I found a typo.

I do, of course, try not to make spelling mistakes in the first place. In fact, my spelling is good – very, very good – so if you see a typo it’ll most likely be a slip of my finger, or tapping the keyboard too lightly to register a stroke (happens a lot). I run my potential posts through a spellchecker, of course, (every little helps!) but I often find myself falling into the trap of running the spellchecker, re-reading something, deciding it can be better-worded, re-writing it (complete with typo) and not re-checking. Another favourite is writing a typo such that it spells a perfectly good word, albeit the wrong word. That’ll fool a spell-checker every time!

The reason, as you might guess, is stroke-related. Certainly a part of it is that, being one-handed, my one hand has to traverse the entire keyboard. So, especially writing key combinations, Shift + P for example, some agility is required. On the few times I’ve had to type them, the Euro symbol (on a UK keyboard, it is Ctrl + Shift + 4, I think) is a particular demon.

There’s another factor too, though. Occasionally, my brain just says “Fed up working out which key to hit, so just hit the closest one”. Of course, I know immediately that is a typo, so can correct it. Mostly. But it makes for slower typing. My foot does the same, not that I try typing with it! I will often end up standing on things, for no other reason than my brain says “Down. Now.”. I suppose with my foot, balance comes into it as well. Unless I have two feet firmly on the ground, I am likely to topple. I might do that anyway. I like to think that any falls (i.e. onto the ground) are long behind me but I still need to be careful. I’ve been down a bit on soft grass, even once quite recently, just when the unevenness has tipped my balance as I put my foot down.

So please, if you see a typo in one of my posts, forgive me. If you let me know, I will correct it. When I spot it anyway, I will correct it. My friends tend to be very forgiving if they encounter one of my mistakes, but for me it is pure embarrassment, because I used to do so well. Bear in mind, too, that I’m not brilliant at spotting things these days, either.

Can’t Win…

I did one of my voluntary gigs yesterday. We’re very aware of fraud these days, and one of the clients mentioned that she’d had a phone call. She didn’t recognise the number, so didn’t answer.

Exactly as I’d advise.

Only now, she’s anxious in case the call was above-board, and she missed something important.

I go by the mantra that if somebody wants to speak to you, and it is above-board, then they’ll leave some kind of message. If they don’t, the call is instantly forgotten. If it is important, then in the very worst case, they will write.

It just goes to show how somebody from the previous generation might think. I’m sure that when we hear about people being scammed, a lot of it is because they’re too open-minded.