Could I be a catfish? Deafness and MTV’s Catfish

For those new to MTV’s Catfish, people write into the show to find out about ‘their one true love’ or someone they have been talking to online but are unsure about.

 Intrepid host Nev (pronounced Neev) and a revolving co-host (miss you, Max!) investigate and are on the case to find out about these relationships!

As a young pre-teen, (1996 represent) I adored the Internet. Apart from feeding my pure and total obsession with X-Files and David Duchovny (yes, I printed off that teacup picture, shhh) it meant I could find likeminded people to talk to. And talk to them, I did. Originally only allowed on for one single hour (oh boy….), I eventually spent my precious hour joining email groups, message boards, chat rooms, bless you AOL.

The Internet led to me making amazing friendships, some of which I still treasure today! I very rarely told people I was deaf as it rarely came up in conversation, this was before mobile phones were popular (yesiamold) and due to the vast slowness of the internet compared to now and living overseas, it was considered de rigueur to have talk show appearances transcribed or written up to share with other fans, so I never missed out on much and never felt my deafness hindered me or held me back in my online friendships, it just wasn’t a factor.

There’s a whole different internet landscape now, with podcasts, stories, snaps and tik toks (I miss you, Vine) becoming the norm and it feels like deaf people and equal accessibility is being pushed aside. Surely as technology advances, it should be making everything more accessible and not less? But that’s another post for another day.

Catfish is a fun show and throws up real questions about connecting with others, and how much can you really connect with them if you don’t speak on the phone with them or video chat or leave voice notes? One mantra on the show is that if they don’t talk on the phone, then the other person has something bad to hide. They pretty much say this in each episode and it always leaves me throwing my hands up in frustration.

Why do they not consider that Deaf people may be on the other side of the screen, they may not feel secure enough in their own identity to admit it or if they really like the person, they don’t want to lose them through preconceptions of what a deaf person would be like, or through someone telling them they’re not worth the effort in communicating with (yes, that happened to me and that hurt!).

In fact, in its seventh season, in over 125 episodes, how have Catfish never showed a deaf person involved in the show? They pride themselves on bringing attention to causes that they rallied behind, minorities, sexuality and gender rights, civil rights, etc but not disabilities? I can only think of two people on the show I saw in a wheelchair, one just gave directions from a porch and the other was in it for getting revenge on a girl because she didn’t pay back a sum of money he gave her.

The Internet is the disabled person’s playground, we can be who we want to be, be interested in what we like, talk for hours about our favourite topics, it means our disability isn’t the first thing that people see or connect with when we engage with them, it’s our personalities… unless you’ve got some amazing thirst traps on your Instagram, then they like what they see too! I know that is the whole premise of the show, people pretending to be someone else but what if you’re not pretending to be someone else, you are you, just not disclosing your deafness at that moment in time and then it never is the right moment? I think that could be an interesting angle for Catfish to take on.

It could be another “Catfish First!” that has been their whole premise for the seventh season and yet with increasing Deaf talent on screens, I’m surprised they haven’t reached out to Nyle DiMarco, Lauren Ridloff, Angel Theory or Chellaman. I think Nev’s energy would gel really well with Jessica Flores aka LimeMoney too. These people would be perfect for the show’s audience and hopefully give some insight on being deaf, romantic entanglements and connecting with people online. 

Who do you think would be a good co-host on the show? Have you found your deafness has affected your online dating?

Twin Peaks 20th Anniversary Art Exhibition

“Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it. Don’t wait for it. Just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men’s store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot black coffee.”

Twin Peaks is such a fantastic, off beat and creepy show. Who can forget David Lynch and Mark Frost’s show populated by a cast of delightful characters ranging from Agent Dale Cooper, to the Log Lady and the delicious Audrey Horne?

Too young to see it when it first aired (if it even had a proper showing here?), I’d always heard about this seminal influential show especially as I was an obsessed X-Files fan and got a chance to see it when it was one of the first programmes they ran on Channel 5 when it started here. I still find it so unsettling and funny at the same time. 

I found out about a 20th Anniversary exhibition happening at the Menier Gallery through Twitter and was eager to go, especially since it was on for such a short time. It closed today and the curator (Suet May Ling) herself was in attendance talking to the exhibition attendees about certain pieces on the walls and selling some great looking (but expensive) merchandise. I would have loved to have an RR mug or a Log Lady tee, all officially approved by David Lynch, but not to be. 

Jo came along and we met outside the Southwark Cathedral to make our way to the exhibition. Jo had ‘Poor Man’s Rum’ whilst I had a Chai Latte to fend off the freezing wind. 

 It’s a small exhibition space but the artworks were pleasingly spaced out and ranged from different mediums from printed scarves, oil canvas hangings, photographs, intricate fine paper cuts, framed postcards with inked drawings on the back and large woodcuts. 
At first I wasn’t sure if we could take pictures but we saw others do so with no rebuke, so I took a few snapshots of my favourites. There weren’t any labels with titles of artworks or author so no information unfortunately. 

The creators of Twin Peaks themselves: David Lynch and Mark Frost. (I thinking of him as Mark Snow, heh, that XFiles fangirl side coming through) 

  I remember this one was called ‘Black Lodge’. 

The exhibition was definitely worth seeing and made me remember why I liked the show so much, it really made me want to sit down and watch it all over again!  A few friends have been going through Twin Peaks phases too, check out Riikka’s Lynch themed housewarming

Talking of Twin Peaks and art homages, you can see others here, my personal favourite Twin Peaks artwork is by the brilliant Scott CampbellHe painted this watercolour “Concentrating On The J’s”, which has been my laptop wallpaper ever since I saw it on his blog.

Afterwards, Jo and I explored Borough Market and had lunch next to a ship!
Have you been to any exhibitions lately or have you given yourself a present today?