Monday, 19 May 2008

Reviving “Spastic”

I’m currently involved in a few different campaigns, several of which have stemmed from this very blog here. Among other things, I’m currently waiting for Robert Mugabe to accept my challenge of a fist-fight, pushing my religion “Vagueism” for tax breaks from the Government, and debating the need for Jenny Lewis to marry anyone else while I’m still here. Well I’m going to put on my campaign trousers again, friends, because I’ve discovered another cause which I feel is vital and worthy.

Bring back the word “spastic”.

Now I realise that in the past the word “spastic” was used to refer to people with disabilities, and was a mean-spirited slur which was highly offensive to people. The word was created after the medical condition spasticity; which refers to people with tight joints. Cerebral palsy is one of the diseases which is in part caused by, or features as a symptom, spasticity. To help people who suffered from this, the Spastic Society was formed, but this term quickly became a tool for the general public (or at the very least, children of the general public) to attack people who annoyed them. “You spastic” or “you spacker” (a derivation of the term caused in no small way by Blue Peter – seriously) became a common insult on the playground, used on people who weren’t very athletic, or when somebody did something that was perceived to be silly.

To combat this the Spastics Society changed their name to SCOPE in 1994, which effectively shut down the term as an insult against the disabled. Although some people continued to use the term, it had lost all meaning and became effectively worthless as an insult. To call someone a spastic now has no effect, because people with learning disabilities are no longer looked after by the Spastics Society. It’s like “ITV digital” – gone. Kaput. There’s no use for the word anymore.

And I want to change this. I like the feel of the word spastic, the spelling, the way it sounds when you say it. I want to revive the word spastic and give it a meaning once again, a meaning which will obviously have nothing to do with people who have learning disabilities but will instead be focused on the general silliness that it causes. For the word spastic, in my opinion, sounds like a word to describe a friend who is messing around and being funny. Someone who is spastic shall from now on be someone who is inadvertently funny. I’m reclaiming the word from the icy void it was sent to, giving it meaning and purpose in the world, and I strongly urge you to join me. Together we shall make spastic a word to be proud of! If we all work together, then we can do it.

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