“Telethons” with Catherine Kudlick

Listen 59 min.

It’s a fund drive period at KPFA and, true to our radical nature, we have fun AND ask ourselves hard questions about modern non-profit money raising.

Catherine Kudlick, editor of Telethons, is with us for the hour.  Telethons is Paul Longmore’s posthumously published exploration of these post-World War ll television spectacles which conflated disability and the business of charity. 

Beginning in 1972 people with disabilities criticized the telethons, which raised money for foundations helping those living with muscular dystrophy, arthritis, polio, cerebral palsy and other major diseases.  As a disability activist and historian, Longmore locates telethons as a phenomenon within U.S. history, a phenomenon that often abused the very people it raised money to help.

Disability Telethons pioneered and developed techniques used in non-profit fundraising today, such as product tie-ins, corporate sponsorship, cause-related marketing and the hype of half-truth.

What sweet irony to learn a book that exposes how people with disabilities are exploited for fundraising will help keep “Pushing Limits,” a radio show run by and for people with disabilities, on the air.  In this knowing wink among fighters for social justice there’s something much bigger: it’s a fiendishly subversive protest not with bullhorns and signs, but with lifted finger at a whole system that sacrificed dignity in the name of charity. – Catherine Kudlick

We also play clips from Mickee Faust’s Gimp Parade, featuring wicked parodies of classic disability films; savage impersonations of beloved telethon hosts; nasty takes on evacuation PSAs, game shows, Princeton philosophers, and the like.  Tune in for “The Scary Lewis Yell-A-Thon.”

Produced by Adrienne Lauby.
Hosted by Sheela Gunn-Cushman, Josh Elwood, Shelley Berman and Adrienne Lauby

Original air date: July 29, 2016

This entry was posted in Activism, Adrienne Lauby, Comedy, Historical Exhibit, Josh Elwood, Poetry & Prose, Protest, Research, Sheela Gunn Cushman, Shelley Berman and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.