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July 10, 2002
9:10 AM   Subscribe

how's your news? mine just got a lot better: camp counselor takes a team of adults with developmental disabilities on a cross-country road trip, conducting 'man on the street' interviews along the way. end product is a hilarious and very human non-exploitive documentary film.
posted by mlang (18 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
video clips (scroll down to bottom of page).
outstanding this american life piece on the film, including many great audio clips.
posted by mlang at 9:13 AM on July 10, 2002


Heard the TAL piece a few months back -- excellent.

My brother is developmentally disabled (though not as badly as some of these reporters), and it made me happy to hear about some positive, productive projects being created for people like him.
posted by me3dia at 9:33 AM on July 10, 2002


"How's Your News" was produced partially by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of "South Park" fame.
posted by ColdChef at 9:36 AM on July 10, 2002


good stuff, mlang. thanks for the link.
posted by moz at 9:47 AM on July 10, 2002


I haven't seen the movie, so I don't have any opinion one way or another, but I've talked to a bunch of people who have seen it and the conversation is always the same. They say it's funny, but not in an exploitative way. So, the reporters are making jokes, I ask. They respond, no, you're laughing *at* the reporters, but they're in on the joke, so it's OK.

How is that not exploitation? What difference does it make if the developmentally disabled reporters are in on the joke? What do I have wrong here?
posted by MarkAnd at 9:48 AM on July 10, 2002


God forbid that the developmentally disabled have a sense of humour, eh? Why, it could almost get as bad as that quadraplegic Callahan, who's always scribbling cartoons about drunks in wheelchairs!
posted by five fresh fish at 10:01 AM on July 10, 2002


I haven't seen it either, and the various folks behind it leave me confused on how I might approach it if I did. On the one hand, Arthur Bradford is a stand-up (if sorta cheesy) guy, who has worked with developmentally disabled people for years. I don't imagine he'd do something to make them look bad. On the other hand, Trey Parker and Matt Stone - well, the whole premise of South Park is that it's ok, even good in a sociall cathartic way, to mock anyone and everyone, particularly those who are usually protected from mockery (minorities, gays and lesbians, etc).
posted by risenc at 10:10 AM on July 10, 2002


They respond, no, you're laughing *at* the reporters, but they're in on the joke, so it's OK.

i saw & really enjoyed the film. what you realize, in a striking way is that you're laughing *at* the reporters the way you'd laugh *at* anyone else in a funny situation. that the setups are great, that the person-on-the-street interview is always rife with possibility, that the reporters are really proud of their work the same way we'd be if we'd made this film.
posted by judith at 10:14 AM on July 10, 2002


God forbid that the developmentally disabled have a sense of humour, eh? Why, it could almost get as bad as that quadraplegic Callahan, who's always scribbling cartoons about drunks in wheelchairs!

Huh? I know most of these words, but I can't quite grasp their meaning here.

what you realize, in a striking way is that you're laughing *at* the reporters the way you'd laugh *at* anyone else in a funny situation.

Okey-dokey. I buy that, I've just never had it explained like that. I'd always gotten the sense from talking to people that the humor was coming from the same place as the Timmy South Park humor. Again, I haven't seen the movie and I was really just curious.

But I'd also like to add that when I said, "laughing *at*," I meant that as different from how we all respond to the average joke or comic setup. Maybe it's a semantic point, but I think we're not laughing at the reporters on The Daily Show the same way we're laughing at the developmentally disabled character in There's Something About Mary. I thought that was reasonably clear in my first post, but maybe not.
posted by MarkAnd at 10:55 AM on July 10, 2002


I saw the movie and liked it alot. It's not the reporters that you are laughing at, but the reactions of the people that they are interviewing that are so funny. You see some people turn the head away or walk off when one of the reporters come up with the mike. It's an odd peek on how people (from across the country) react to a sort of socially "awkward" situation.
posted by stifford at 10:56 AM on July 10, 2002


Reminds me of a play I saw the other week at Glastonbury Festival, no idea of the name of the play or production company etc. but it was basically a prog rock opera with the cast made up of people with learning disabilities.

I think it's great, they are not being exploited any more than 'normal' actors, and it's much more constructive than locking these fantastic people away in a learning disability home, where the only stimulation is crap day trips at best...
posted by twistedonion at 10:59 AM on July 10, 2002


I'd always gotten the sense from talking to people that the humor was coming from the same place as the Timmy South Park humor.

oh, not at all. it's important to realize that the film was completely shot & partially edited before the south park guys came in with finishing funds. they weren't involved creatively at all.

and while i think you're right that there is a difference in how people laugh at the daily show and at something about mary, this film really does have the reporters as subjects, not objects. they aren't caricatures.
posted by judith at 11:00 AM on July 10, 2002


you're laughing *at* the reporters, but they're in
on the joke, so it's OK. How is that not exploitation? What difference does it make if the developmentally disabled reporters are in on the joke?


Well, "exploit," as a verb, has two similar but distinct meanings: "1. To employ to the greatest possible advantage" and "2. To make use of selfishly or unethically." Typical news reporters exploit their good-looks, charisma, celebrity, etc. to get folks to open up and talk; perhaps the reporters in this video are merely exploiting their position as a disabled person to the best possible (comedic) effect." But that doesn't necessarily mean they are being "exploited," meaning #2.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 11:08 AM on July 10, 2002


where in the world can i get this? I rememebr hearing about it on this american life, and all the searching i do comes up with nothing but the skinemax archive....with some future dates. So I take it a vhs/dvd is no where to be found? Hell, I even searched OCLC WorldCat (sorry, sorta self link) and found no where that had it. Anyone got a copy of the show? wanna rip it to DivX? : )
posted by das_2099 at 11:15 AM on July 10, 2002


nice comment , shadowkeeper. Never looked at it that way.

ds
posted by das_2099 at 11:16 AM on July 10, 2002


Not to derail the thread, but..

Timmy on South Park is funny primarily because he's a crazy little bastard, not because he's in a wheelchair. risenc actually raises a good point; not poking fun at a certain group of people just further excludes them. South Park is far more intelligent than people give it credit for. Most of the time.
posted by SiW at 11:24 AM on July 10, 2002


THIS MOVIE IS THE ULTIMATE WIN-WIN. People like it because they say it isn't exploitive. People like it because it IS exploitive. It really is nice to have an exploitive movie which isn't called exploitive. Everybody wins!
posted by jmccorm at 11:43 AM on July 10, 2002


SiW-
right on. Having spent a number of years in direct care for people with developmental disabilities, i can tell you that plenty of people with physical disabilities are assholes. To treat them as anything less than assholes is insulting, really.
posted by das_2099 at 1:00 PM on July 10, 2002


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