Accents + subtitles = offended?

I don’t have any answers for the question I am about to pose. Maybe some of my readers can give me their view. So here goes…. In my quest to retweet any useful or funny tweets on the subject of subtitles or closed captioning that I discover on Twitter, I’ve come across many comments of complaint when it comes to TV programmes choosing to subtitle people who are speaking the language of their country (English) but have an accent of some description. Here’s a few examples:

@brashjulia really makes me happy to see subtitles accompanying scottish accents on the tv. lame.
5 Oct
@Luke_Can_Talk Luke Omg American tv are subtitling everyone who is not American this includes an Irish guy and a person from new Zealand WTF seriously.
5 Oct
@Little_Freeman i dont get why there are subtitles for this guy’s Australian accent
5 Oct
@stevobattye Spike has to put subtitles so Americans can understand the guy from Manchester. But they dont put subtitles on the Armenian? Hah come on now
7 Oct
@CShelmo Catching up on #theultimatefighter English subtitles for the English guy? Haha awesome only in America
7 Oct
@Ch4nster Can’t believe they used subtitles for Altiyan’s dad, just because he has an accent… How ridiculous!
10 Oct

My question is why? Are they offended? I can perhaps understand if the offense is felt because they feel that person is subtitled because they are not “speaking correctly” (such as Jimmy Carr’s classic joke: I’m from the home counties, so I don’t have an accent. This is just how words sound when they’re pronounced properly.”). But really… what is the big deal? It’s ok not to understand all accents! For the record I am assuming such comments are referring to burnt in subtitles – these are not subtitles or closed captioning that you can choose to switch on or off. Is it really such a big deal that subtitles are provided? Is it really that annoying? There should not be a stigma associated with the inability to hear or an inability to understand every regional accent. There’s enough accents within the UK alone! I don’t think people should take it personally if an accent is subtitled. What does everyone else think? Are any of you offended when subtitles are provided on TV for people speaking your native language? If so, why?

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