Ouch's fearsome Bitch eats famous disabled people for breakfast. And then spits them out again. She tackles other controversial disability topics with all the subtlety of a hammer cracking a nut. Don't say we didn't warn you!
Disability Bitch hates exploitation
24th February 2010
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Readers, this week my No Legged Friend has been on the phone every ten minutes, concerned. He thinks I should stop writing this column. He thinks the BBC are exploiting me. Well, he gave me pause for thought. See, I HATE EXPLOITATION and I wouldn't want to be part of it.
The thing is, I don't want to stop writing this column. It's my job. I enjoy it. I'm also doing it by choice. Y'know, because I want to. Believe me, I'm full of hate and more than willing to purge the darkest sentiments of my soul every week. On the BBC. For money. Readers, it's possible that someone's being exploited by this arrangement, but it's not me.
The controversy revolves around the fact that Andrea has appeared in an episode of the satirical cartoon series Family Guy which mocked Sarah Palin. Sarah believed it also mocked her disabled son, and objected. She's stated that only "cruel, cold hearted people" would mock those in the, erm, "special needs community". Can someone get a memo to the Palins? I think she means me and you, disabled people, but I would like to check.
Anyway, apparently Sarah Palin thinks members of that community are "some of the most loving and compassionate people in the world." Congratulations, special needs community. I'm sure you're thrilled by the endorsement. Unfortunately, the writers of Family Guy think differently. If you'd like a summary of what happened in the troublesome episode, you'll find one here on Wikipedia.
In brief, one of Family Guy's lead characters, Chris, plucks up the courage to ask his disabled classmate Ellen, on a date. They don't get on. Chris breaks up with her, telling her: "I used to hear that people with Down syndrome were different from the rest of us but you're not. You're not different at all. You're just a bunch of a**holes like everyone else." Slightly less indulgent than Sarah Palin's observation, then.
During their date, Ellen tells Chris her mother is the former Governor of Alaska, a direct reference to Sarah Palin, who used to have that job. And this is why the politician is taking it personally, what with having a DS son n'all.
Andrea Fay Friedman has hit back, saying Palin 'does not have a sense of humour' and that she was mocking Mrs Palin, not her son. She's also claimed Sarah carries Trig around 'like a loaf of French bread, looking for sympathy and votes" and says she should allow him to lead a normal life.
The argument - which has been percolating for about a week in the US press - now seems to revolve around who is most exploitative to disabled people: Family Guy for including the character Ellen in the show, or Sarah Palin, for daring to be photographed with her disabled son and discussing him with the media. It's such a fuss.
The audacity of it! Those mean old satirists, giving a disabled actress paid work. And that horrid Sarah Palin, for taking her disabled son out with her, in public while she's on the campaign trail. Outrageous behaviour on both parts.
Or maybe not.
My point is that Family Guy taking a pop at a public figure is something they do every episode. It's newsworthy mostly because there are two disabled people involved. That's unusual, but I’m not sure it’s exploitative. Personally, I would like it to be less unusual. There are millions of disabled people in the world. One day, maybe it won't be noteworthy that a public figure is also the parent of a disabled child; maybe it won't be noteworthy that an actress in a mainstream TV drama also has a learning disability. I can dream.
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