Saturday 10 November 2012

“Look, It’s OK When We Do It!” (Part 459)

Mark Brown on Ed Milliband’s declaration of war on the belittling of mental health issues:
Perhaps unwittingly, Miliband has managed to get to the heart of a gnarly problem when he mentioned privilege – the perceived right enjoyed by people without mental health difficulties to speak with authority about those who do.
The ‘perceived right’? It’s no such thing.

I have an absolute right to speak as I please.

People can disagree, even point to my lack of experience on that particular issue to scorn my words, but there’s no doubt I have that right, no matter how people like Brown wishes it weren't so…

But he’s singing from a very, very familiar hymn sheet here:
I'm sure some of the comments on this article will say: "Why are you pesky people with mental health difficulties always looking to get offended? A joke's a joke!" But gags about people with mental health difficulties are different, because of where the power lies; they too often come from people who are reconfirming the status quo, defending attitudes and structures that prevent people with mental health difficulties achieving our potential. In other words, they are jokes and ideas that help "keep us in our place", out of sight and unheard.
On the other hand, jokes by people with mental health difficulties about mental health are often about the gap between outmoded ideas and lived experience, or about reclaiming common experiences from prejudiced interpretation. Sometimes, the comedy itself is directly confrontational: the live comedy nights May Contain Nuts and US comedian Rob Delaney being brilliant ambassadors of the genre.
Ahhh, yes. We've seen this argument before, haven’t we?
This is a good beginning; I now hope that Labour will continue to pay such attention to who is speaking about mental health and where their privilege lies as their policy development continues.
It seems to me that a lot of the ‘privilege’ now lies with the offence-takers.

So…can we start to ignore them?


Anonymous said...

Oh yes, the famed "I am going to not just make you question being or feeling sympathetic towards me, I am going to stop you in your tracks because you obviously don't realise that by even mentioning my (illness, disability, condition)you are drawing further attention to it, and adding to the stigmatization of people like me". Only I am allowed to mention my (illness, disability, condition), you must always act as if it doesn't exist, all the while of course making due allowance for the fact that it does, but never mentioning this. So of course making reference to it in a jocular or supposedly jocular way, that is absolutely and completely beyond the pale.

Been there, done that, had that
debate with "advocates for sufferers of (illness, disability, condition) which you mustn't ever mention ...."

Noggin the Nog said...

I know, let's, in the interests of equality, let mental cases perform surgery and have sole control of the UK nuclear fleet.

And be immune from piss taking.

My experience of mentalists is that most of them are just moaning wankers. They are not mentally ill, just socially inept.

Nothing should be legally protected from speech, however vile; therein lies totalitarianism.

Dr Cromarty said...

"We are no different from anyone else. We don't want charity or special treatment. Now - I'd like a government grant and monitoring to ensure an over-sufficient employment of my special interest group. And a Xxxxxxx Awareness Day. And a pony"

Brian, follower of Deornoth said...

So it is perfectly fine for the state to kill people (sorry, put them on the Liverpool Pathway to Heaven without the consent of anybody), but a joke that the Guardian doesn't approve of is a cause for outrage?

Twenty_Rothmans said...

Mark Brown goes just mental when people have a laugh at people with 'mental health issues' - crazy people. Still that's what they said about Hitler, right? But hang on, Hitler wanted to kill all the crazies, so I guess he was a homo Jew Polish Gypsy as well.

What morons like Mark Brown don't realise is that the majority of people aren't crazy. So crazy people are like smokers. Give up listening to the voices in your alarm clocks and get with the programme, be like us.

JuliaM said...

"Been there, done that, had that
debate with "advocates for sufferers of (illness, disability, condition) which you mustn't ever mention ...." "

Me too... *sigh*

They give their movement a bad name. But how do you stop these loudmouths from taking over a good cause?

"Nothing should be legally protected from speech, however vile; therein lies totalitarianism. "

I fear that argument was lost long ago - now, we are merely arguing over the degree of it.

Greencoat said...

Lefties like Mark Brown don't really care about the mentally ill, any more than they care about the unwanted unborn, the innocent children they want to sexualise or the old people they'd like to gas.

They just want power over ordinary people - the same evil, Marxist drool that has plagued us for generations.

Fight them, I say. Fight them unto the death (preferably theirs).