Did anyone see Special Needs Pets on Channel 4s Cutting Edge the other day?
We can usually expect reasonable quality from Cutting Edge documentaries, but this had that snide sniggering quality that infects a lot of TV these days. It's all so, so funny; look at the wobbly dog falling over, the cat having his bowel's squeezed empty, the bunny with dodgy back legs, and the obsessive behaviour of a sexually confused parrot. And never mind the pets, let's laugh at the oddball, saddo owners, more money than sense eh?!
It made feel this was merely an excuse to laugh at disability per se. And apart from the liberal use of scary language (invalid, handicapped, crippled etc.,) there was an underlying element that life as we know it, of any living creature, is clearly seen as without meaning once your neither end goes kaput.
OK so cats (et al) in pants are a little bit funny. Go on, it is. At least it was when I was 8 and forced a large pair of granny bloomers onto my remarkably placid fat cat William. Attempts to do this to my current feline Bessie would result in shredded hands, and quite righly so. But I would never, EVER consider extermination should she develop an impairment.
A particularly pertinent comment sprung out of this uncomfortably tittering programme - the pet owner who declared 'We don't put down disabled people, why should we do it to our disabled pets?' HELLO. Where has this woman been? The death warrants may not be as obvious as those effected on our crip pets, but worse, of late society IS encouraging us to draw them up for ourselves.
Be alive and proud, people. And I urge the same pride for all your pets!
Earlier I listened to Liz Carr on Radio 5 Live, fighting the corner for our right to live, gamely, in the face of an arrogant paralysed Noel Martin insisting he will do the deathly deed on himself before he's 50. (Great publicity though, especially as he keeps postponing it). If society goes much further down this line of argument, can we look to the day when there's a campaign to put down Prof Steven Hawking? Poor waste of space, clearly a tragedy, he can't have much quality of life. I mean, what the hell can he move these days? A muscle in his cheek? Oh my goodness. Call Dignitas now I say. Oh sorry. I forgot. He's the greastest brain of our age isn't he. So..... he's excused from the usual judgements about whose life has value and whose does not.
If only they'd let more of us into the media as a counter balance to say ‘hey, I'm having a fuck of a good time. Mostly. And isn't that life? Good and bad, darkness and light all jostling together to make one ridiculous painful, awful, marvellous, beautiful, adventure that is human existence?’
Bed pans in ambulances notwithstanding in relation to my own. Just keep them away from the bloody hair do, please.
It's hard to believe that three weeks ago I was setting off in the happy Autumn sunshine to film a pitch in Hoxton Square.
Oh look, another TV documentary about sex and disability. And they want me to be the gravitas. Dearie, dearie me, how things do not change. A shame the TV company managed to send an ambulance (yes, ambulance) to whisk me to the shoot.
I sat, cardboard bed pans inches from my bigged up hair and reflected on how I could explain to my mum that this was not glamourous in the least, but downright effing annoying. How ironic the juxtapostion between this, and my consequent serious chat on the familiar sexual subject matter.
The filming happened in the same week as an Observer survey saying 70% of respondents declared they would not have sex with a person with a 'physical disability'. Oh god. Here we DO indeed go again.
More on the documentary as (and if) it happens. If there's a recurrence of annoying toileting recepticles I'll be sure to let you know.