OK I am guilty! I am guilty of writing the above headline because it is provocative and presumably attention-grabbing. And I am also totally guilty of replying to my daughter’s question as to whether I’d be watching The Paralympics on television with the flip answer: “No! And I won’t be tuning into Dwarf Throwing either!” A sick joke? Certainly. A fair comment? Not really, even though apparently there is a British Association of Dwarf Throwers and there are stipulated rules for the ‘sport’. ( See here.)  My issue with The Paralympics is not with the sport. Indeed I have every admiration for the achievements of Dr Ludwig Guttman in setting up The Stoke DTMandeville Games as a practical demonstration that disability is not an ‘end’; rather something different with new sorts of opportunities. And The Paralympics are different and not the same thing as the Olympics.  By all means The Paralympics deserve our support but in some sensible proportion. As I see it, the event has become vastly overblown and, as spectators, we are participating in an circuitous disproportionate PC response. It’s akin to watching our children in a school play and treating the event, and the actors, as if they are a Broadway production.

 

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4 Responses to Are the Paralympics a PC version of Dwarf Throwing?

  1. Mike says:

    Well said! Couldn’t agree more! It’s vastly overstated and pity those who are even remotely critical will be branded prejudiced! It’s a good analogy regarding a school play production and frankly some of the commentary is patronising. It’s NOT the Olympics, in fact its a million miles from that event so why try to create the same level of hype or media coverage. Political correctness to the extreme and enormously patronising.

  2. Tim Wilton-Davies says:

    What’s the alternative to political correctness? People comparing the paralympics with dwarf throwing?! People on trains sitting next to strangers and starting a conversation with “I’m not racist but we ought to put all foreigners on a boat at sea and then blow it up”?!

    The olympics/paralympics stand for taking part, not just winning. Sport brings people together. I witnessed thousands of people on the streets of Halifax for the torch. Of course not everything about the (para)lympics is great: the commercialism that followed the games around everywhere is probably not what Zeus and his fellow Olympians originally envisaged for example.

    All in all -however- the olympics/paralympics have contributed to a great summer and left the UK with a lot of enthusiasm and confidence in what we can achieve when we club together.

    I’m not a fan of always toeing the line and unquestioning-moral-relativism, however in this situation I believe the amount of publicity is justified. I am happy that my TV licence supports the paralympics so much.

  3. Mike says:

    The Olympics and Paralympics have been a massively expensive use of predominantly tax payers funds. The vast majority of people I spoke to about it were less than enthusiastic about it. As for the feel good factor you allude to, let’s get serious here, the country is in a political and financial mess and no amount of back slapping about how many medals we got will make a jot of difference. As for the athletes themselves, I can’t help but think that many are now displaying diva like behavior; nit surprising considering the OTT media coverage as well ad the lucrative sponsorship deals. And as for Chris Hoy getting knighted for riding a bike round in circles..come on! So you probably get from my post that I am no supporter of these events. And finally,I’ve heard a lot of commentary about what a sense of “nationalism” the games have promoted. Crap! The UK is a mess and good on the Scots for trying to leave the party. I wish them well.

  4. Tim Wilton-Davies says:

    I am happy to pay tax for events.

    “The vast majority of people I spoke to about it were less than enthusiastic about it”. Maybe speaking to more enthusiastic people is the way forward.

    “As for the feel good factor you allude to, let’s get serious here, the country is in a political and financial mess and no amount of back slapping about how many medals we got will make a jot of difference”. Alright, that’s one opinion.

    Another opinion is that the country has always been in debt since WWII but it’s just in more of mess due to a domino effect of media-driven lack of confidence. Even if the feel good factor has no effect then it’s still not detrimental.

    That’s just my opinion. You’re entitled to yours because we live in a liberal democracy.

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