Monday, January 08, 2007

Blue Badge holders only

Disabled people get a bumpy ride in life. Here in Edinburgh, where many streets in the city centre are still cobbled, those bumps are literal as well as metaphorical. A wheelchair needs souped-up suspension to cope. Pimp My Chariot - now there's an idea for a TV series.

Then there are the insults. After generations of schoolchildren had gleefully adopted part of its name as a taunt, in 1994 The Spastics Society decided enough was enough. It rebranded itself Scope in an attempt to shake off the negative connotations its original title held. The charity moved on, but so did the insults. To this day, cries of spaz still ring out across British playgrounds, and the society’s revised name has unwittingly inspired a cunning and popular new variant on the same theme: scoper.

For TFP’s first image of the new year, it was difficult to resist this brutally abusive piece of signage defacement, as seen on Fishers Wynd in Musselburgh. Look at the difference a quick scribble can make - by simply crossing out the word person and replacing it with a brief obscenity, wonders are worked. A mild-mannered sign becomes a cruel and crude assault on the entire disabled community, as well as offending any sensitive passer-by who notices this, er, notice.

Having kicked off 2007 with a classic example of small-minded, pointless and foul-mouthed graffiti, let's hope that such quality can be maintained throughout the year. The standard has been set. The bar has been raised. Or maybe it’s been lowered. Who knows? It doesn’t matter. Let’s see if we can limbo under it anyway.

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