Tuesday, January 27, 2009

MTV, I do not trust you

I was pleased but alarmed to see that MTV has picked up a few episodes of "How's Your News?" a news show made by people with developmental disabilities. I first heard about How's Your News? from an episode of This American Life, where they pointed out that you rarely hear directly from people with developmental disabilities. You hear about them, not from them. MTV's HYN looks like it will have a reality TV-like setup, so probably by using devices like video diaries, we'll hear from HYN's reporters directly.

Says MTV's website about the show:
Our 6 episode series has the adventurous spirit of Jackass, combined with the music and quirky comedy of The Monkees.
On the one hand, I'm pretty impressed that they would compare HYN to Jackass, showing a level of comfort with difference that many can't seem to muster when it comes to developmental disabilities. The stars of HYN are different than most of the people who will watch, but this implies that potential audience discomfort isn't going to get in the way of HYN having a sense of humor.

On the other, I fear for what typical viewers of MTV would think of HYN, and especially what they might call it, colloquially.

On the third hand, if the show were horribly insulting, I doubt that its stars would have given it the ok for airing. I'll admit that I have in the past been very impressed by MTV shows like True Life and Made*.

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