Monday, 21 February 2011

You’re Being Equally Inconvenienced With Everyone Else, Aren’t You?

Dea Birkett is ‘a writer and broadcaster on social issues’, according to her ‘Guardian’ bio.

She’s also a breathtakingly un-selfaware whinger:
There's a major cultural institution my family can only enter through the back door. We pass buckets of cleaning materials, staff health and safety notices and piles of cardboard boxes. We're checked in to the building at the same desk at which a stationary package arrives, and are handled as if we were one. This place is Tate Modern. And my family have been relegated to accessing this high-minded cultural institution through the tradesmen's entrance because my daughter is disabled.
What!?! That’s outrageous!

How long has this been going on? Why has it not been front-page news in…

Ah:
We used to be able to enter by the same door as every other visitor. But when work on the Tate's £215m extension began last year
That’s the sum total of your complaint? That there’s building work being undertaken, and so you are temporarily inconvenienced?

And for this, you compare your experience to apartheid?

Congratulations, Dea. It’s not often that anyone manages to unite nearly all CiF commenters, from all sides, against them, but you’ve managed it.
When Tate Modern opened 10 years ago, the disabled community cheered. Here was a building of national and international significance whose entry was a whopping great ramp.
And now you are whining because it needs repairs, or improvements? Did you think it would last forever?
In another place, when one section of society was condemned to a different, less attractive, unseen entrance it was called apartheid.
One of these things is not like the other, you insensitive cow…
Tate Modern also defends removing the disabled parking bays by pointing to all its special events for disabled visitors. It brags of workshops for the learning disabled and tours for the visually impaired. But these acts of largesse for the needy ("We like to help the needy," the Tate guard told us as he chaperoned us through our special entrance) is not access; it's the opposite. It's compensating for the lack of any real access and hoping we won't notice.
So you get special treatment that you don’t want, and feel free to complain about it in the pages of a national newspaper.
I don't want special or different for my family; I want what every other visitor takes for granted – everyday access to art.
You’ve got everyday access to art. You just – for the time being – have to put up with a little bit of inconvenience while work is carried out. Just like everyone else.
The cultural sector needs to use its creative powers to see us as part of their audience and let us in through the front door.
Once the building work is complete, you can. And not until then.

19 comments:

banned said...

The Tate Modern is offering a selective service to these people just because they are different. That's discrimination and I'm gonna sue, cheers Harriet.

Ian B said...

I like her snobbish disgust at being treated like a mere tradesman.

Edwin Greenwood said...

The woman has no imagination. If I were wheelchair-bound and had to go in through the "tradesman's entrance" I'd take pleasure from being treated as an "insider" and getting privileged access behind the scenes.

Huge resources have been poured into improving access and support for the variously disabled over the past couple of decades. Stupid bitch needs to develop a bit of perspective about what is after all a pragmatically unavoidable temporary inconvenience.

Literacy alert: "... the same desk at which a stationary package arrives." I would expect that once it has indeed arrived, it stops moving, yes.

English Viking said...

A 'stationary package'?

So it wasn't moving then?

Katabasis said...

Want to get back at the Guardian?

Here is your chance:

http://www.monbiot.com/2011/01/07/spring-and-summer-speaking-tour/

Pass it on...

Lynne said...

What's the silly cow on? Hyperbolic steroids?

George Speller said...

It won't get any better for smokers.
and (off topic, sorry):

If you smoke why not declare it as a religion in the next census.
Just put "SMOKER"
Half a million Jedis are now recognised. We can do the same.

NickM said...

"The cultural sector needs to use its creative powers to see us as part of their audience and let us in through the front door."

Isn't that more a job for the engineering sector?

Tell you a story. I knew a bloke who was involved in financing light rail schemes. He worked on this idea to re-use Beeching axed rail stations in Edinburgh.

Got kicked into touch because the old stations could guarantee disabled access.

His line was, "They made the mistake of confusing 'best' with 'good'". I mean reducing traffic congestion in Edinburgh would benefit everyone, right?

Oh and the apartheid analogy is just sick. I agree with Ian's line but that is what you get from such people. She reminds me of the posh mother character from the Catharine Tate show.

James Higham said...

Why does the term leftwing gently form in the mind as we read this?

David Thompson said...

Julia,

Ms Birkett has managed to avoid addressing any of the criticisms from readers and has instead turned on them, saying:

“As so often is the case, it’s shocking to see such hatred against people with disabilities.”

She doesn’t offer any actual examples of this “hatred,” despite being asked repeatedly, and I didn’t spot anything that would qualify. But she’s definitely miffed at something.

Possibly the fact the punters aren’t buying her victimhood shtick.

allcoppedout said...

I suspect the writers of South Park's 'Cripple Fight' have better general sensitivity to real disabled issues, than bleeds from liberal hearts.

Left dangling said...

"Not much happened. I am outraged."

The usual Grundad line. (yawns)

Captain Haddock said...

Silly Cow !!!

Anonymous said...

With all the hype and millions spent on spinning Equality & Diversity propaganda to the masses it must come as a terrible shock to some people to find that...actually...they aren't very special after all. They are still more special than most but not nearly as much as they expected to be.

Mrs Erdleigh said...

That article must have been a parody, perhaps she wrote it for a bet. Surely no one can produce such outrage over so little.

JuliaM said...

"I like her snobbish disgust at being treated like a mere tradesman."

Someone pointed out at David Thompson's site that it was very unlikely that it was called that by the Tate, so her use of the term revealed a lot about her...

"...I'd take pleasure from being treated as an "insider" and getting privileged access behind the scenes."

Some people are unable to see their glass as half-full, rather than half-empty...

"She reminds me of the posh mother character from the Catharine Tate show."

Spot on!

"But she’s definitely miffed at something. "

I think that's her default state.

JuliaM said...

"I suspect the writers of South Park's 'Cripple Fight' have better general sensitivity to real disabled issues, than bleeds from liberal hearts."

It's telling how an inability to laugh at one's situation marks a person out as the worst of the worst...

"That article must have been a parody, perhaps she wrote it for a bet."

I looked at a few of her other offerings. It's pretty much all the same.

SadButMadLad said...

Dea "...made The Devil Amongst, a documentary on the late 1990 paedophile panic, for Channel 4."

Says it all really.

Rob said...

Here's a more apt "apartheid" comparison: i walked past the East London Mosque on Sunday, they had two doors - one for men and another for women.

Funny how you don't read articles about that in the Marxiad.