Comments on: Disabled People As A Test of Character: The Guinness Commercial Changing the Cultural Conversation Thu, 27 Feb 2014 23:26:46 +0000 hourly 1 By: Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg Sat, 07 Sep 2013 23:29:05 +0000 Bully pulpit? Moi? This blog is one of the few places on the Internet in which people are not allowed to bully or berate one another. Argument is not bullying and having an opinion is not berating. If you would like to join in the discussion and add your viewpoint, I’m happy to entertain it. As you’ll notice from the comments, I’m quite willing to acknowledge error and have no problem explaining positions I hold. Saying simply that you disagree and that it’s a waste of your time to explain why is passive-aggressive, at best.

“If you look for fault, you will find it.”

Looks like you’ve just done the same. Why did you even waste your time leaving this comment when you’d already decided it was a waste of time to leave a comment?

By: Jan Isley Sat, 07 Sep 2013 23:03:20 +0000 Why google sent me here is a mystery to me but having read the comments I am compelled to ad my own.
I disagree, quite stridently in fact. Normally I would offer some rhetoric about my opinions, but they way you warn people off and then berate their choices, it looks more like a bully pulpit than a discourse. It is your blog and your right.
If you look for fault, you will find it.
My response to the commercial was positive. I believe any Veteran, especially one the age of the men in the commercial, would get this commercial. I cannot imagine any recent Veteran finding the fault you found, Rachel. I could be mistaken. But if I have to explain this further, I believe that I would be wasting my time.

By: lrb Sat, 07 Sep 2013 08:34:48 +0000 I hated this ad until I read Luis’ comment. Then I started thinking, maybe this is a cutting edge representation that we are just not ready to see….
… but I don’t think it is. There is the manifestation of disabled sport out there, that people have argued about in the comments, but reading Luis’ account of personal experience of the people featured, this is not an inclusive team, it’s a team of disabled athletes.
But the ad has been framed so it’s not read in this way, and, there is no signposting to indicate that everyone on the team has disabilities, and there is a ‘reveal’ that suggests that four don’t.
The commercial society have filed the ad under ‘twist ending’. If we know Luis’ version, then there is no twist ending.
Those making the ad have chosen to present the twist ending and highlighted it with the inspirational music and commentary.
It’s about use/consumption of images of disability, right? If you use someone instantly recognisable, like Usain Bolt or Jessica Ennis, there is no need to caption who they are. I think disabled athlete Ellie Simmonds may be instantly recognisable, but I can’t think of other disabled athletes where this is the case- I think people would be hard pushed to distinguish, say Oscar Pistorius, from another athelete running with prosthetics.
To communicate what Luis sees in the ad, it would have taken a caption to indicate who the team is. If it’s there, I don’t see it.
Ad people know what they are doing. They don’t accidentally leave the possibility of a different interpretation.
The way in which the notion of disability, inclusion, friendship, and Luis’ notion of the team have been used- it sucks.

By: I Am Now Officially a Bitter Crip! | Disability and Representation | Changing the Cultural Conversation Sat, 07 Sep 2013 07:00:38 +0000 […] then I wrote a piece about a beer commercial and… Wow! You should see the comments I got! Some of them actually made it out of moderation […]

By: Haddayr Copley-Woods Fri, 06 Sep 2013 20:33:09 +0000 Oh for goodness sakes couldn’t you even be bothered to google this before you mouthed off? Man. She’s written extensively on this, as have scores of other people. You are trying to educate her on Disability 101 (incorrectly, I might add) when she’s teaching the 8000 level course.

By: Luis Fri, 06 Sep 2013 19:05:28 +0000 Hi Rachel, nice to see another one of us in IT. *waves*

I actually feel this is best commercial in some time. I disagree, I believe the framing worked well and represented the disabled in a non-condescending manner… which is a rarity. I see this not as a commercial about disability, but friendship… dedicated and loyal to one another based on pure, simple friendship. Guinness could have taken the same music and narration, and used literally anyone to express the same message.

By the way, four of them are disabled (watch their gait)… I have met them, spoken to Joshua and Steve about joining the team, attended one of their league games and a practice. They play for the Rolling Bears at Loma Linda University near San Bernardino, CA.

As others have stated, and of course you have always known… many disabled that use wheelchairs and play adaptive wheelchair sports, do walk. Amputees (no, none of these guys in the commercial are amps… they were all wearing shorts, so you could see they were not), arthritic conditions, Ataxia, MD, MS, Scoliosis, or 1000 other conditions that could qualify them as disabled but still be able to walk “normally” to the untrained eye (trained meaning physicians, nurses, therapists, orthotists & prosthetists specifically experienced in rehabilitative care).

Myself, I am a low-level, high-functioning L3/L4 incomplete para. I use bi-lateral AFOs (short leg braces), and a wheelchair for long distances or when walking is not important. When I have both braces on, well rested, and long pants on… the average person has no clue that I am a paraplegic. Yes, for 32 years I get questioned frequently about it.

The beauty of this commercial and it’s framing is about who you are, not what you are. It doesn’t ask or tell you to cater to someone “less” able, who is able or not, able or disabled enough or the same way. It shows a group of friends some disabled and some not, having a pickup game of b-ball and a beer… and only their friendship mattered.

Interesting discussion. Hopefully see you at one of the Abilities Expo shows.

By: Kirstin Fri, 06 Sep 2013 17:52:51 +0000 As someone with an extremely disabled nephew (who can only move his fingers and thus is left out of almost everything) I took a completely different message away. Not that the friends are “Heroes” for finding a way to include their disabled friend, but that the rest of us fall short daily in what should be our top priority- “bringing heaven down to earth” and constantly looking for ways to serve others. (Disabled or not). It’s easy to serve others when they are much like yourself. Serving others with different needs and abilities is much more challenging and therefor must be an intentional act.
I totally understand where Rachel is coming from- I just watched this ad from the framing of being convicted- a reminder that the guys portrayed in the ad are not heroes- it is me who is depraved.

By: Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg Fri, 06 Sep 2013 15:31:55 +0000 Klay, I understand what you’re saying here. I should clarify: It’s not that I don’t want commercials to show disabled and nondisabled people together. Of course, I do. It’s that, in the context of this commercial, the five players standing up was a jarring moment. It wasn’t jarring because there is anything wrong with able-bodied people playing wheelchair basketball; it was jarring because it signaled a turning point in the whole tenor of the ad. In the beginning, we see six guys in wheelchairs playing basketball. My only complaint is that the sappy music makes it look “inspirational.” The visual itself does not. But then when the guys get up, we realize that we’ve been seeing something else entirely, and that the intent was never to show a bunch of disabled guys playing basketball at all. It was to show a bunch of able-bodied guys doing a good deed for their disabled friend. So given the mindset of the people who made the film, I would have preferred that they just kept it to six disabled guys playing basketball and having a beer, because that would have kept them far, far away from turning the whole thing into a moral lesson.

By: wjpeace Fri, 06 Sep 2013 15:11:51 +0000 The ableist bull shit and flak you are taking is akin to what i get at Bad Cripple when I discuss the cure industry or negative impact of supposedly “inspiring” imagery. I was especially struck by the comments by Dan. I know many men like him full of self importance because they are involved and dedicated to adaptive sports. Great to be dedicated but there is an utter failure to see the larger social significance of disability. That is disability is as Bob Murphy noted a social disease. I would suggest when I see the mainstream media cover adaptive sports to the same extent they cover the NFL, NBA, NHL equality will have been achieved. Why Dan does not even acknowledge the most recent Paralympic games held in London were not aired on TV in the USA. Great to have many wheelchair basketball teams but they exist in a social vacuum. The same can be said for the sports I enjoy participating in–skiing, biking and kayaking.

By: wjpeace Fri, 06 Sep 2013 15:04:10 +0000 I know Rachel and I bet she watched that insipid commercial more times than I can imagine. I am shocked by your reaction as it appears to be devoid of reason. Maybe you could explain why your views differ so much.