Some Speech & Language Therapy
I don’t know what is was about yesterday. Perhaps someone slipped a Micky Finn in my grapefruit juice. I became quite obsessed with some words that popped up repeatedly on social media. See if you spot the pattern.
Hubs are making a comeback. It’s been a bit quiet on the Hubs front the past eighteen months but yesterday I saw three separate articles claiming that Hubs are where it’s at, man. Round my way, Hubs are congregation points. A place to assemble at before accessing non building based community activities. Translated from social care speak, that means, meeting up at the old post office before going out in the rain to window shop at Argos. It’s popular because it ties in with pooled budget’s and pooled support. Several people can be wheeled around the mall with minimum staff needed. Hubs also implies activity, dare I say it, dynamic activity. It’s a lie.
Placement has long been a social care word. I live in my home: Steven lives in his current placement. It’s both the same place but learning disabled people don’t live in their homes. It’s another word that suggests, if not activity, then at least, input. If you are in a placement, someone placed you there. Yesterday, Mencap tweeted a lot about work placements. They’re pushing for LD people to be employed, which is a bit awkward as only 1% of their 8600 strong workforce has a learning disability. Didn’t anyone at their campaign planning meeting say, “We could be on a bit of a sticky wicket here chaps”. I don’t know what a work placement is. Is it a job? If it is, why not call it work and drop the placement. All those commuters on the 7.15 to Kings Cross aren’t travelling to their work placements. They’re off to work. I’m pretty sure a work placement is unpaid but work placement hides that better than say, voluntary work. Or, calling a spade a spade, unpaid work. It’s a lie.
Passionate people are everywhere on my timeline. Nowadays we have to be seen to be passionate about something. ” Passionate about the one page profile”. I’m always slightly disappointed when I meet one of these passionate people in the flesh. I anticipate a throbbing mass of enthusiasm. They’re usually extremely measured and professionally cold. It doesn’t matter what the person claims to be passionate about. That’s irrelevant. It’s the state of being passionate where the kudos lies. It’s keeping up with the passionate Jones’s that score you the brownie points. It’s a lie. You don’t declare passion, you just are. It’s ironic because this week the Daily Mail used an 11 year old story of Gary Linekar being passionate with his newly Wed wife on an aeroplane as an attack. That sort of being passionate is seen as not nice but a claim of being passionate about person centred Hubs can be worn as a badge of honour, a calling card of my moral standing.
Finally, I saw an advert for a new care home. Smallish, with 12 beds. The word of the day was “Authentic”. Residents can ” live an authentic life” at the Rosebud. Being authentic isn’t new but it’s very popular. I watched the X Factor the other week. One of the contestants is from Finland and she has a penchant for belting out Celine Dion type numbers. After several brushes with the sing off, she appeared in a bizarre outfit singing Bjork’s It’s Oh So Quiet. Cowell said, “You’ve finally found yourself as an artist. It was your most authentic performance yet”. It was a masterclass in inauthenticity. But now it’s coming into social care. Residents (in their placements) can’t live a life, they have to live an authentic life. The spin merchants overlooking that for most of us, an authentic life wouldn’t bring us within a million miles of a place like Rosebud. I’m waiting for the day when people start claiming to be ” authentically passionate”. Or “passionately authentic”.
Or even, ” I’m passionate about commissioning authentic placements in a Hub”.