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Ha Ha - that is SO funny!

Jokes are supposed to be funny - at least that is the general idea. But a bad joke is not funny. This blog is going to be about two 'jokes' that were made this week that really made my blood boil. The first I am going to tell you about i think the tellers genuinely thought was funny - though clearly it did not go down well with many. The other 'joke' however I do not believe for one second that the teller thought it was a joke when he said what he said, but when it went global and clearly people were seething by the pure evilness of what he was saying he came back and said, it was "only a joke".

"Joke Number 1"

Chronologically this is actually the second joke, but it is the less offensive of the two.

So here's the background to the joke. England's newly appointed Team Manager for the England Football Team is Mr Roy Hodgson. Mr Hodgson has a slight speech impediment that means he mispronounces R's as W's. So here's the joke guys - I hope yu are ready to fall off your seats laughing.

The Banner headline in the Sun newspaper that almost fills the tabloid's first page read as follows:
"Bwing on the Euwos (See you in Ukwaine against Fwance)"

Apparently he is known affectionately as "Woy" and that's all well and good. I have nicknames too - and when my friends use them, I'm quite happy. I would not enjoy myself being referred to by my nickname in the newspaper - regardless of the nature of the news that is being told about me - hopefully it would only be good news!!

This headline is making fun of Mr. Hodgson because of something he cannot help, namely his speech. It's pathetic. All the people who struggle with speech impediments, and by extension, people with disabilities in general are hurt by this kind of action,

This is a newspaper, and News International that owns it are currently the cause and subject of a judicial enquiry (The Leveson Enquiry) because of it's unethical behaviour in regard to phone hacking, bribing police for stories.

 Early last year, the same newspaper "exposed" Mr Jeffreys the landlord of Joanna Yeats who was murdered, and whose body was discovered on Christmas Day 2010. For a while Mr Jeffreys was a suspect and put on "police" bail. The paper somehow discovered that Mr. Jeffreys was a suspect and they ran a story about him. The thing is Mr. Jeffreys was in the view of the journalists who wrote the story weird. He was a teacher at a local public school - and his excentricity earned him scorn. They made a thing about his "blue hair" and interviewed former students of his, who said "he was weird." At the time the Attorney General had to issue an official statement stating that the paper was overstepping the lines - in the course of Justice. As it turned out he was NOT the murderer.

While the headline this week was not as serious as the situation outlined above, I do believe that the paper deserved the censure it received from irate members of the public and the FA who rightly described it as disrespectful. Unfortuantely, the notion of RESPECT is not a popular in today's culture. This I believe is a fundamental reason for many of the problems we have with youth crime. For too long, the message has been you don't have to respect anyone except yourself. The problem with that is that if you don't have respect for others, you cannot respect yourself.

However not only was the headline disrespectful to Mr. Hodgson, it was hurtful to people with speech difficulties. People, especially children who cannot pronounce words "properly" or who stammer are either mimmicked or teased, and the message that is sent to them is you are not normal, you are not really one of us, you are not one of us. It happens in most schools, and it is wrong - and schools and education departments around the globe are vexed by this problem of bullying - but these are children and we can kind of understand it - and many times we can reason with children as to why they should not do it. However, all anti-bullying measures get undermined when newspapers behave in just the way we tell young people they should not. For the sake of all people with disabilities Government and media NEED TO BE SPEAKING WITH ONE VOICE on bullying and EVERYONE needs to take stock that their own behaviour is not, AND CANNOT BE PERCEIVED AS, bullying. In this regard, The Sun newspaper failed.

"Joke Number 2"

If you think I was cheesed off with joke #1 - It is nothing to compare with my outrage at joke #2.

I'm in a dilemma here, because while I do not really want to have to infect my blog with this outrageous and agonizing (I'm really not exaggerating) speech - if I don't report what he said - you won't know what has got me so animated.  Sean Harris is the pastor of Berean Baptist Church of Fayetteville, North Carolina. Preaching he said the following:
“So your little son starts to act a little girlish when he is four years old and instead of squashing that like a cockroach and saying, ‘Man up, son, get that dress off you and get outside and dig a ditch, because that is what boys do,’ you get out the camera and you start taking pictures of Johnny acting like a female and then you upload it to YouTube and everybody laughs about it and the next thing you know, this dude, this kid is acting out childhood fantasies that should have been squashed….Can I make it any clearer? Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch. Ok? You are not going to act like that. You were made by God to be a male and you are going to be a male.”
So, at this point I bet you wondering what the joke is. Me too! But apparently it was a joke. So Harris told the interviewer - he claimed he was just using hyperbole. The thing is about a joke - even when it delivered in the most deadpan fashion, there is something about the situation that makes it clear that it was meant as a joke. In this situation it was only when video of the offensive so called sermon went viral and he was interviewed that he claimed that what he was joking - nobody is laughing.

Where I come from the actions recommended in that sermon, not only the ones in the excerpt above but in other parts of the message as well are child abuse. Child abuse is simply not a suitable subject for joking. His excuse that Jesus used hyperbolé does not hold water, as the example he gave where Jesus said "If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out" may have been extreme - but Jesus was not saying that if your neighbours eyes causes him to sin, pluck it out - he was pretty safe in saying what he said as, as a general rule, people are not nearly as harsh on themselves as they are on others. This man was not telling people to break their own wrists, or punch themselves.

The sad thing is there are individuals who will take their pastor at his word, and will do exactly as he has instructed them. They may already be punching their child, but now - well the pastor said I could - so they will go on doing it. Children die from physical child abuse - if they don't die physically they die internally - a seed of hatred can be sown - and they may grow up to become abusers themselves and generally dysfunctional. To make it worse, the parents become a stumbling block to these children knowing the REAL JESUS. The one who loves and accepts them for who they really are. Too often I read of young GLBT who believe Jesus either does not exist or if he does he hates gays.

The thing is, this man was not talking about young people experimenting sexually, - no he was talking about children being children - children play - and when children play they learn. Unless the play is going to endanger them, should they be stopped. YOu know, if they are playing in the road, and are in danger of being run over, or they are playing a computer game that has inappropriate content for their age (you know the games I'm talking about), but playing dress up - that is just children being children. Interfering with that imagination and play is far more likely to cause harm. If you aren't comfortable with the little boy putting on is sister's dress and trying on his mum's high heels, then sit down and calmly explain this to the child (though I think that you'd be wrong - but to suggest that it would be okay to PUNCH a child or to "crack his wrist" is nothing short of child abuse.

Harris claims that nobody in his church complained about what he was saying. There are a few possible explanations for this - that he has them in a zombie-like trance and they do whatever he says, or, more likely, they are too scared of what he might do to them if they dare contradict him out loud. A bit like the inhabitants of North Korea who were all supposedly devastated at the passing of their dear leader - until you get them out of their own country - and you learn that they had to pretend to be devastated or face the wrath of the DPRK's police.

Well - I'm going to post his - I will add some links to both stories soon.

Please feel free to comment.  

Here is the link I was referring to.


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