An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman walk into a pub. The landlord turns around and says: "What is this, some kind of joke?" Boom-boom! An Englishman, an Irishman and a Rabbi walk into a pub. The Rabbi suddenly stops and says: "I think I’m in the wrong joke." Boom-boom! ‘Ere, ‘eard the one about the disabled CBeebies presenter who’s currently the victim of a vicious, nasty, abhorrent, vile and cruel campaign engineered by idiots who, having been blessed with working reproductive organs, are able to call themselves ‘parents’? This is no joke. There is no ‘boom-boom’ to follow. These people say that Cerrie Burnell, born with one hand, is not suitable to appear on the digital children’s channel because she is ‘scaring’ their offspring.
When I was young, I vaguely recall seeing Ironside and Sandy from Crossroads in their wheelchairs and I didn’t really bat an eyelid. However, as thalidomide was often in the news, my mum said that I asked questions about the children who were affected by the drug. "You did say: ‘why does that boy look like that’?" she recalled as we discussed this Cerrie Burnell issue. "I said, ‘when he was inside his mum’s tummy, she took some bad medicine and the medicine did something bad to his arms and legs’." I asked her if I accepted the explanation. She replied: "As a child, all you did was ask questions – it drove me mad. But afterwards, you’d forget all about it and you’d want to watch cartoons!" I asked my mum if I was scared. "No," she responded. "You were always curious."
I think you’re all familiar with that advert for Cancer Research in which a little girl lists what she’s not scared of. She mentions things children are traditionally frightened of: the dark, spiders, clowns etc. Well, I hate clowns and, to this day, I am still freaked out by the public information films that used to air during daytime TV in my formative years. Daytime TV y’know! Cerrie Burnell’s got nothing on the likes of these:
With that in mind, allow me to give you an example of the views about Cerrie Burnell currently polluting message boards near you (please note that I will make no attempt to correct grammar or spelling errors as that would bestow a level of intelligence so clearly lacking):
- "What ever next! Will I be paying my licence fee to watch someone without any legs! Or will they be scaring my kids with someone with absolutely no limbs whatsoever! That’ll give them nice DREAMS won’t it! Give me my money back BBC and Pull your socks right up!!"
Lionel Candsworth, London, UK,
- "Is it just me, or does anyone else think the new woman presenter on CBeebies may scare the kids because of her disability? I didn’t want to let my children watch the filler bits on The Bedtime Hour last night because I know it would have played on my eldest daughter’s mind and possibly caused sleep problems. And yes, this is a serious post."
- "What is scary is the BBC’s determination to show "minorities" on CBeebies at every available opportunity! Before everyone lyches me – take a second aside and actually think about it – I have no problem with it if it happens "organically" in the general making of a TV programme. But every programme seems to have a PC agenda – it has to tick this box and that box"
- I absolutely believe she is entitled to be doing this job, however, I just don’t feel it is necessary to have it "on show". Why can’t she have her sleeve tucked under or something – that way it povokes awareness of her disability without the "scarey" image. At the moment it seems like the BBC are simply "flaunting" her disability, totally unnecessary and does make you question the reason for her getting the job in the first place.
Concerned mum, Berkshire
Just a few illustrations of how moronic human beings can be. In my eyes, it’s a stoooooopidity and crassness that has reached such a low, even Jeremy Kyle would refuse to have them on his show. A BBC spokesman said they’d received nine formal complaints about Ms Burnell; fortunately, faith in common sense is somewhat validated by the huge number of people who have backed her.
The mother of a four-month-old daughter who works as a teaching assistant at a special needs school in London, Cerrie Burnell admitted to being upset by the comments. She branded her critics ‘small minded’ and their remarks ‘terrible’. "Children come up to me in the street every day and say ‘What’s that’?" she said. "I wouldn’t say they’re frightened but certainly they’re inquisitive. I would always take the time to explain to a child. All they want is an explanation. They want to know ‘What’s that?’ and ‘What’s happened?’ and ‘Why are you different?’ And then they will move on."
Got that ‘concerned mum in Berkshire’ et al? Children are naturally curious – it’s how they learn. If your child is old enough to ask the question, they just might be old enough to hear the answer. "Mummy, why does that lady have one hand?" "Some people are born with two hands – like you and me. Some people are born with one hand, like the lady on the telly. Some people have black hair, like you. Some people have red hair. Some people have straight hair, like Aunty Carol. Some have curly hair, like daddy. Everybody’s different." Just what is so bloomin’ difficult about that? Have all you detractors completely lost your parenting skills in addition to your minds?
The ironic thing for all you objectors is that, in all probability, your child may be educated alongside children with a disability of some sort. How will you handle that situation then? Will you insist that the school throw them out so that your precious one doesn’t have to see an infant who isn’t exactly like them? Why stop there? Why not throw away the blind, the deaf, amputees from meningitis, kids with cleft lips and/or palates et al? Heck, why not go all out and keep your sprogs from anyone with bad teeth or bunions? I, for one, sincerely congratulate all you narrow-minded, ignorant, scaremongering bigots. You are the dictionary definition of namby-pamby, cry-baby, fraidy-cat, lily-livered, wussy, yellow-belly, wimpy, milksops who are unable to deal with aspects of society. With regard to Ms Burnell, you give your children far too little credit; they will probably turn out to be more grown-up about her disability than you are.
- If you disagree with me, please feel free to take me to task and explain your stance. Due to the fact that I like to think posters here have more imagination, I am issuing a challenge: see if you can express yourself without using the stock, pat and clichéd, ‘get a life!’ – it annoys the mucus out of me. Come on peeps, do me proud!
Today I am mostly lovin’ – Robert De Niro in sense-of-humour shock at The Oscars. The man who, usually, can barely crack a smile, actually cracked a brilliantly funny joke about Sean Penn: "How did he do it? How, for so many years, did he get all those jobs playing straight men?" Cue laughter from everyone. Wow! Robert De Niro’s funny! And it didn’t stop there. Sean Penn memorably opened his Best Actor acceptance speech with the following: "You commie, homo-loving, sons of guns!" And well done to Slumdog Millionaire and Kate Winslet, of course.
Today I am mostly hatin’ – Sky1’s red-carpet Oscars coverage. I watched five minutes of Fearne ‘rent-a-bubbly-bland’ Cotton and my stomach rebelled; I had to turn over to E! The Americans, headed by Ryan Seacrest, are just as bland, ask da stoooooooopiest questions ("Are you excited to be here?") and their obsequiousness is such, that even Oprah – ‘I just love you! Don’t we all just love him/her, audience?’ – Winfrey would balk, but they’re infinitely less annoying and more entertaining.
MSN Editor Coops
Don’t miss a trick – Add MSN Reality TV Agent to your IM contacts