Laughing At The Mongs & The Spastics, Channel 4 and Circus Freakery by the back door?

18 Apr

How to allow the public to laugh at ‘the freaks’ and feel good

A short lesson

In the last decade there has been, to my mind, a worrying development in the world of info-tainment. The ‘sensitive’ television project.

Seemingly aimed at widening and questioning the general publics’ views on disability Television channels, particularly The U.K.’s Channel 4 have developed a type and style of television programme that features the travails of people with disability. The most recent ‘The Undateables’ being one such programme. It follows a number of people with ‘disability’ ranging, for example, from disfigurement, and Down’s and Tourettes Syndromes, as they look for love.

My wife and I saw the previews and invitations to watch and commented to each other that (we felt) yet again Channel Four had, in the guise of thinking man’s telly created an opportunity to gawk and chortle at what the general public would we felt be unable to consider as anything else but a modern freak show.

The last episode got 2.7 Million viewers, 11% market share, and you’re telling me that the viewers aren’t ‘gawping’?

NO I am not saying that disabled people are freaks, but that in my opinion my fellow men (and women) are largely incapable of approaching this from any other viewpoint.

Proved Right?

My worry that this would be so was confirmed today at work as I listened to my colleagues describe the hilarious ‘Undateables’ and the ‘Mong’ who drew a picture of the girl he was looking for, a drawing of a stick woman with a big head and tits.

The closest my colleagues got to an understanding of the deeper issues involved was to be able to state that ‘not everyone with Tourettes says Fuck a lot’.

At the very least and in it’s most passive form, the cooing sympathies of a shit thick as a brick work colleague should be enough to tell anyone that a mode of patronizing paternalism isn’t the route to equal disability rights and justice!

The T.V. knows this.

My biggest worry is that the programme makers know that this style of programming gets the liberal middle class mealy mouthed all mouth and no trouser vote for sensitive and thought provoking programming AND at the same time gets the eager viewership of that thick dumb bigoted core of general public that used to go laugh at the Bearded lady when the Circus came to town. I feel that this fence-sitting programming is the same bigoted trashy thought process in motion as we have seen for centuries, by the back door. And that the Television companies know EXACTLY what they are doing and how attracting viewer numbers works in this day and age. An age, as I have already suggested of extracting the piss from those least able to afford it.

No I’m not saying stop disabled people having their version of Blind Date and their day on telly, I’m saying that if this was being done right, then no one would watch it and T.V. companies would never have made it; because they know, and I know, that the general public in the U.K. still call black people Niggers and tell extreme racist jokes in text messages to their other safely shit-brained friends AND they still talk to each other about the Mongs on Telly last night!



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