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‘Ouch’: BBC talk show covers life as a “crip”
May 5, 2010 11:01 AM   Subscribe

“Vegetable, Vegetable or Vegetable” is an “intrusive and unpleasant game” featured on Ouch, the hour-long monthly BBC podcast talk show on disability. In it, the show’s hosts must figure out a caller’s disability by asking “fiendish” questions, to which the caller may answer only yes or no. (When it’s all over, Daleks holler out the answer.) This is only one of the many scabrous, puckish, and unskittish ways in which Ouch covers life as a “crip,” a term the show uses unabashedly.
posted by joeclark (39 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
I presume from your description that you disapprove of this game.

I have to wonder (will listen later, can't at the moment) - Does this show pretend to have some merit, or just go for some cheesy laughs ? Or does it perhaps try to go for the "see, we have a sense of humor too" angle?
posted by pla at 11:27 AM on May 5, 2010


'Ouch' is pretty remarkable; I'm not sure any mainstream media outlet would even consider a similar concept in the U.S. Sometimes the comedy is a bit "inside baseball" but the hosts really have a tremendous ear for comedy.

Some bits from the transcript:
MAT Joining us shortly in the studio our freelance albino reviewer.
LIZ He's reviewing albinos?


LIZ I've done nothing and it's lovely. But they came round today to deliver a skip right and they were late. And I'm in the kitchen sort of hiding and I'm going, "Don't pay them the full rate. Don't pay them the full rate." And Jo, my partner, she's going, she said, "Come out in your wheelchair" she said, "because, you know, a little lady, a sick little lady confronting them there's no way they'll take all the money." And I was too scared – can you believe that? I didn't play the game.
(...)
MAT I've even started accepting, you know, when some people from - hmm how shall we put it – other cultures sometimes just give you money.
LIZ Oh yes.
MAT And I used to throw it back and go, "I don't need it, don't you understand that's rude!" and now I'm like, "Oh great have you got anymore?"

posted by boo_radley at 11:31 AM on May 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


Huh. Thanks for this. I'm listening to a podcast from a few months ago and it's pretty great. I'm also a huge fan of Embarrassing Bodies, and I can't see anything like either of these programs ever airing in the US without people flipping the fuck out, which is really a shame.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 11:36 AM on May 5, 2010


Also, joeclark, apologies if I've misread but, the tone of your post sounds like you may have missed the point.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 11:40 AM on May 5, 2010


...when some people from - hmm how shall we put it – other cultures sometimes just give you money.

I don't get what this is referring to. Foreigners in the UK are more likely to give money to people in wheelchairs?
posted by DU at 11:45 AM on May 5, 2010


I quite enjoyed that, thanks.
And I assume joeclark "approves," since they read a question from him on-air in the latest episode, linked above.
posted by chococat at 11:46 AM on May 5, 2010


If you wear a lot of blue and hold your firearm sideways, people are going to make assumptions.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:47 AM on May 5, 2010


The BBC has been doing things like this for a surprisingly long time. "Does He Take Sugar?" was dealing with attitudes to disabilities in 1973 in a way that was considered similarly novel at the time.
posted by scruss at 11:47 AM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


And I don't think that joeclark's post is indignant in tone; it's really adopting the black humor "we laugh because otherwise we'd cry" sort of tone of the podcast. See the letter from Bill Mayer in the transcript, for instance.
posted by boo_radley at 11:48 AM on May 5, 2010


What tone are people picking up on in the post? It seems so... matter-of-fact and carefully worded.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:53 AM on May 5, 2010


heh... the audio control goes to 11
posted by edgeways at 11:53 AM on May 5, 2010


I apologize for misreading the tone of the post; I'm so accustomed to people being disgusted and offended by people openly talking about who and what they are that I had a kind of reverse kneejerk reaction.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 12:04 PM on May 5, 2010


The irreverent "tone" of the post comes from the actual show, folks. It's a quote.

Glad to be of service.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:10 PM on May 5, 2010


So, anyway, does anyone, British or American, have any clue as to why we Yanks are so hypersensitive to this kind of thing? I know we love to blame the Puritans, but that can't be entirely it. Could it be something to do with the fact that we are an assimilation of so many different cultures (including not just people from other countries/ethnicities, but regional cultures) that we are extra careful to avoid inadvertently insulting others?
posted by kozad at 12:19 PM on May 5, 2010


So, anyway, does anyone, British or American, have any clue as to why we Yanks are so hypersensitive to this kind of thing? I know we love to blame the Puritans, but that can't be entirely it. Could it be something to do with the fact that we are an assimilation of so many different cultures (including not just people from other countries/ethnicities, but regional cultures) that we are extra careful to avoid inadvertently insulting others?

The first person to blame it on the "PC police" gets kicked in the throat.
posted by FatherDagon at 12:28 PM on May 5, 2010 [9 favorites]


Could be because there are shit tonnes of people who use the language in (sometimes intentionally) insulting manners? Ethnicity, gender, disability, sexuality... all have different language uses in-group and not. There is a large % of people who seem to feel that (e.g.) they call themselves "bitch" "nigger" "crip" "homo", so I should be able to use the same language as well.
posted by edgeways at 12:31 PM on May 5, 2010


I think Americans may, in our "bootstrappy" way, prefer to think of the disabled as happy, saintly strivers over all adversity and not real people who deal with things as best they can...sometimes with cynical or dark humor.

I am reminded of the Mr. Show sketch about the band "Indomitable Spirit," but can't search for a link right now.
posted by JoanArkham at 12:34 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah, the Super-Crip mythos
posted by edgeways at 12:40 PM on May 5, 2010


I'm in the US, and I spent a good portion of my 20s in a wheelchair, and believe me, people DO just try to hand you money. If you're just on the sidewalk outside a shop, sitting in the chair, the immediate assumption is that you are panhandling. I don't know what the "other cultures" bit is about--Is clueless a culture?
posted by Failure31 at 12:47 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Q&A with Matt Getze, Wheelchair Adventurer
posted by acro at 1:00 PM on May 5, 2010


Also notable, I think: The cohost of Ouch! is Mat Fraser, star of stage and cabaret.
posted by boo_radley at 1:02 PM on May 5, 2010


I'm not disabled in any way, but I found this show hilarious and enlightening to listen to. Funny the whole way through.
posted by cthuljew at 1:18 PM on May 5, 2010


I preferred their earlier, self-pitying stuff.
posted by tigrefacile at 1:35 PM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wow this is awesome. I'm listening from the first episode. There is some serious comedy gold in this.

Comedy gold that makes one feel uncomfortable, judgemental, and horrible for both laughing and listening.
posted by Nanukthedog at 2:10 PM on May 5, 2010


I listened to the VVV game they did on the 50th podcast - no Dalek. :(
posted by lholladay at 2:50 PM on May 5, 2010


I second cthuljew. I am not disabled, but this show is hilarious and I love how they don't take themselves too seriously. Love VVV and how amazed they are if they actually guess one.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:35 PM on May 5, 2010


Nth - the stuff is funny.

I think Americans may, in our "bootstrappy" way, prefer to think of the disabled as happy, saintly strivers over all adversity and not real people

When I was a kid I heard a guy in a wheelchair use profanity. Freaked me right out. Right up there with seeing one of my teachers at the supermarket and seeing one of the black belts smoking.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:14 PM on May 5, 2010


I love this show and listen religiously. I wished they produced weekly episodes, instead of monthly.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 4:50 PM on May 5, 2010


Wish, even.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 4:56 PM on May 5, 2010


Is clueless a culture?

I'm just going to assume that you've never been to the United States and are blissfully unaware of the news from here for at least the last ten years, if not much longer.
posted by loquacious at 7:15 PM on May 5, 2010


The brilliance of the title "Vegetable, Vegatable, or Vegetable" just hit me.

Also, according to a book I read, a victim whose english was not so great + a blue-attired gang member with a crutch who assaulted her is how the "crips" gang got their name.
posted by mreleganza at 8:20 PM on May 5, 2010


Needs more tards.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:37 PM on May 5, 2010


I was in a graduate level film production class recently. I made this short piece (NSFW many dildos). I couldn't BELIEVE that the first note the professor (a working H'wood director) gave me, in front of the whole class, was that I shouldn't have used a disabled actress, since the film didn't address her disability. I didn't respond. What should I have said to that? How fucked up is perpetuating ablism in casting to budding filmmakers!?! ARGGh.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:53 PM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't get what this is referring to. Foreigners in the UK are more likely to give money to people in wheelchairs?

I use forearm crutches sometimes.

One time, some random old man gave me a dollar. For no reason. If I were to hazard a guess at his ethnicity, I'd say 'East Indian', but that's only a guess. I even tried showing him my work badge and bus pass, but no - I needed the dollar more than him.

Someone else once tried giving me spare change when I was sitting on a ledge, and my hat sitting next to me, brim up. However, after I explained that I was merely adjusting my hair, and that I didn't need the money, really, he apologized profusely and went on his way, pocketing again the coins.

I really wonder if this type of thing happens to Steven Hawking.
posted by spinifex23 at 11:04 PM on May 5, 2010


Oh yeah - and both instances of this happened in Seattle.
posted by spinifex23 at 11:05 PM on May 5, 2010


What synchronicity! I just finished telling mr. hgg about my recent discovery of this utterly delightful podcast (through this comment by corpse in the library, actually). I am going to alternate between this and The Bugle for my required regular dose of evil British humour.

I listened to the most recent episode of Ouch while walking the dog, and I am quite sure that several people in my neighbourhood now think I'm peculiar because I spent a good portion of that walk laughing out loud to myself.

I agree that this sort of sharp British humour would be very unlikely to fly on this side of the pond. More's the pity. It made me laugh, yes, but it was also very educational and thought-provoking around issues of access, discrimination, and privilege.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:54 PM on May 5, 2010


the immediate assumption is that you are panhandling. I don't know what the "other cultures" bit is about--Is clueless a culture?

In much of the world - especially places where a lot of immigrants to the UK come from eg India and Pakistan - your employment options as a handicapped person still range somewhere between extremely limited and none.

Multiply that cultural norm by the number of religions that include giving to the less fortunate.
posted by n y my at 3:49 AM on May 6, 2010


I adore Ouch! and have listened to every episode. I listen primarily for the humor, but it's been wonderfully educational. In the four years I've been listening I've been dealing with possible disabilities for both my kids, and Ouch has possibly been the best source of "Oh, stop taking yourself so seriously" that I've had.

Their coverage of Ashley made me realize my opinions, unfortunately immortalized here, were wrong; the Helen Keller jokes on the Christmas special had me literally crying with laughter while walking through my neighborhood.

Plus Matt's voice is all rowr.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:28 AM on May 6, 2010


This is awesome, thanks!

and I'm shocked but unsurprised at the cluelessness of AV's prof

and I'm wondering if people would try to hand me money more often if my cane was more "medical" and less "pimp" looking

posted by jtron at 7:42 AM on May 6, 2010


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