Monday, July 27, 2009

Today I received a Facebook friend request from "Marty Riemer Show"

which is not a person but rather a program on KMTT 103.7 FM in Seattle. I opted for "ignore" on this request. It wasn't because I don't know how one can be friends with a show. It was because when I used to hear the show, it behaved in a way I thought unfriendly. I think if an entity wants to be treated as a person within online social networks, it should expect the same treatment given to human beings. Here's what I wrote back to them:

I deeply respect and admire all you've done to promote comedy but I cannot accept you as a friend because you offend me. (feels weird to talk to a show as if it were a person, I understand the show and Marty are different entities).

I no longer live in Seattle but when I did I was a regular listener to the 5:20 Funny. But on more than one occasion, I would hear jokes using the word "midget". That's a word seen as offensive to many people, including most in the little people community. It has its roots in 19th century freak shows and the people who use it today tend to mean it in that same demeaning, dehumanizing way. It's not funny, it's cruel, just like any racist or homophobic joke would be.

I would occasionally write to you when one of these jokes aired but rarely got a response. I know that not everyone is going to love every joke and I know that shock and offense are sometimes part of comedy. But you wouldn't air a racial slur meant in a cruel way so I don't think you should allow slurs that demean people born with an anomalous genetic condition.

I think if one of my real life friends repeatedly used the word "midget", they would cease to be my friend. My daughter was born with dwarfism and anyone who demeans her is no friend of mine.

Sorry, Marty Reimer Show.


Anonymous said...

Go John go.

Did you happen to see the episode of last season's Celebrity Apprentice where the celebs had to make "viral videos" for All "Small and Mighty" Detergent?

Sad testament to the depressingly poor grasp on language on this point.

john said...

I didn't see it but I heard about it.

susansinclair said...

Thanks for this--a colleague and I have been working on getting first-year college students in our classes to be more aware of the language they use, to understand how their choices impact others. I'll add this one to the pieces I have them read...

Jennifer said...

The Marty Reimer Show FB page is generally Jodi Brothers, morning co-host. I am glad you wrote a note along with your declination. People need to know how these things. It's important stuff.