Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bleeping Button

As many readers have noticed, I've written a lot about bullying and teasing over the last few days. This is part and parcel of blogging about my life as it happens. And, as it happens, I did a string of workshops over a four day period in which part of every day was devoted to the daily experience of social violence that people with intellectual disabilities experience. Listening to stories as told by people with disabilities, by parents and by professionals was draining. I am honoured to hear 'truth' told. But the truth about 'truth' is that it does not always set you free - 'truth' can make demands, 'truth' can be a harsh task master, 'truth' can demand responsibility.

So, we arrived in Ottawa on a Saturday afternoon after driving almost 1000 kilometers. We were both tired. It had been planned that we'd have pizza with Mike and family but all were sick or recovering and the meeting was put off to the next day. We went out to get some fresh air and ended up in a bookstore, we picked up a couple books and then went for tea. The place was packed. We turned to leave. I was disheartened, I wanted the tea, I wanted to be out amongst people, I wanted somehow to come to believe again in the goodness of the human heart. Two women noticed us turn to go and called to us to share their table. They got up and moved over, clearing a place for us. We nodded our thanks, they smiled back. They resumed their conversation, we chatted about books about tea and just enjoyed. On our way out I thanked them for making my day brighter. They blushed, both of them, but I meant what I said and they knew it.

That evening we turned on the television, flipped around and marvelled at all the stations. At home we get basic cable (why flip through 200 stations to find nothing on, when you can do the same thing 10 times with 20?) so we kept flicking and flicking and flicking. Finally we settled on a movie that would be kindly called a 'low brow' comedy. Perfect for our mood. We'd seen it years ago and enjoyed it then. It was on a station called 'MUCH' which I think is a station aimed at youngish people. Forgive me for being old and no longer caring much about the exactness of the flood of media options. Anyways the movie was laced with 'blue' language and therefore was often 'bleeped'.

Then something wonderful happened.

Suddenly I remembered that the movie had a particularly vile use of the 'r' word. I remembered just before the character came to say the word. The remote was out of reach so I braced myself. But I didn't have to. The word was 'bleeped'. Like all the other obscenities and 'adult' language, it didn't air. Joe spoke first, 'My (bleep) they (bleep)ing bleeped the word.' 

People in the next room probably wondered at the cheering coming through the walls. For the first time ever in my experience the word was treated as it should be ... inappropriate and unacceptable ... and it was gone. I know I'm going to get yada yada about censorship but I don't care. I hate hate speech and I'm OK with it being gone.

I don't know if this is a policy at MUCH or if the person in charge of the bleep button was acting on personal convictions. I'm not sure that right now I care.

All I care about is that for the rest of the movie, I sat back and relaxed. I could laugh without fear that the humour would turn mean. That means something.

Doesn't it?


Kristin said...

What a great moment.

Erin said...

SO glad they BLEEPED the BLEEPING word <3 I often don't watch movies with the "r" word I often tell my friends it's only socially acceptable to be that cruel to two different types of people ... those disabled ... and those in the LGBT community ... after I started saying that my friends have started to boycott anything and everything that hates on both!!! Wonderful post!!!!

Jen said...

Hope you don't mind a comment from a long time lurker who's enjoyed your posts for a while.

Anyway - Star Trek: The Voyage Home (the one where they go back in time to collect two whales because a probe is destroying Earth in the present day) still remains one of my favorite movies from childhood. Unfortunately it's got the r-word in it [used by a character who encounters one of the Enterprise crew who's trying to convince them to let him go] which I hadn't really paid attention to until I started reading your blog and others. It was actually on TV a few weeks a go and unfortunately still not bleeped out here.

Star Trek isn't perfect but I wish they'd go back and at least bleep out or muffle that word because it's not what Star Trek is supposed to be.

Jen said...

Apologies - to clarify - when I said I didn't really pay attention to it I mean I didn't really notice it in the movie itself. It was never a word I would have used but when it came up in movies I didn't really think it needed to be changed - now I think it should be removed from older movies where possible.

Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

Home after a hellish drive - checking emails etc.

Maybe the bleep means that the r word is recognized as hate speech - or at least obscene. Woohoo! Progress is being made.


rickismom said...

Wello, d(bleep) good for them!

Susan said...


schmulie said...

That's so awesome! I would have cheered too.

moplans said...

awesome! so glad to hear the 'r' word being treated as it should be.

as for your comments above, I do really appreciate this blog and hope you keep writing.
I commit to commenting more regularly.

jeters_mama said...

Awesome to hear that the r word was bleeped. Thanks for sharing that!

I am new to your blog and have really enjoyed reading you past posts thus far.

Just so you know a little about me...I am a mom of 2 wonderful young men, Vincent and Joseph, who have autism. Your work has help them have the quality of life they want. Thank you for being you!

Melissa said...

I love that the word was bleeped!