A warning about the poem’s language preceded the airing, as a series of offensive words including “nigger” and “spastic” were employed.Here in America — where we have Elvis energy, apparently — those 2 words are on completely different levels of offensiveness, but I guess that's the way they talk in Britain, where, presumably, "spastic" is not a word to be used casually.
Bonus: "Saturday Night Live" transcript. ("Oh no, its Chaz 'The Spaz' Knerlman!... Why don't you shut up, Spazalopolis!")
Ah, now it's coming back to me. Remember back in 2006, when Tiger Woods got into trouble for casually saying "spaz" in Britain? Language Log had a great post titled "A Brief History of Spaz":
[T]he clumsy or inept meaning of spaz remained mostly on the playground until the late 1970s, when it began seeping into American popular culture. In 1978, Saturday Night Live started running occasional sketches starring "The Nerds," with Bill Murray as Todd DiLamuca and Gilda Radner as Lisa Loopner. On two shows that year (Apr. 22 and Nov. 4), host Steve Martin joined in, playing the character Charles Knerlman, or "Chaz the Spaz" as he was known to Todd and Lisa.... A year after the SNL sketches in 1979, Bill Murray starred in the summer-camp comedy Meatballs, which featured a stereotypically nerdy character played by Jack Blum called "Spaz."
For someone like Tiger Woods who came of age in the '80s (and who, incidentally, is on record as saying that another Bill Murray movie, Caddyshack, is his all-time favorite), the American usage of spaz had long lost any resonance it might have had with the epithet spastic. This is not the case in Great Britain, however, where both spastic and spaz evidently remain in active usage as derogatory terms for people with cerebral palsy or other disabilities affecting motor coordination. A BBC survey ranked spastic as the second-most offensive term for disabled people, just below retard....
Don't you love the energy of America?