Whilst the new Channel 4 advert promoting the coverage of the Paralympics has been widely applauded, the Guardian’s columnist, Lucy Catchpole took a different line.
Editor of Able Magazine, Tom Jamison responded to the view that the advert was unhelpful to public perceptions about disability.
You can read the original article ‘I love Channel 4’s Paralympics advert. But we can’t all be superhumans’ here.
Tom Jamison’s comments were as follows:
As the editor of Able Magazine (ablemagazine.co.uk), a disability lifestyle publication established over 20 years ago with the founding spark being to discuss ‘What disabled people can do, not what they can’t’ I couldn’t have been happier to see such an incredibly positive advert from Channel 4.
Looking back to 2012 and the original ‘Superhumans’ campaign, the tone has changed from aggressive and defiant to a far more simple sentiment: ‘Yes I can’. As Lucy Catchpole points out in her article, it’s a far more inclusive film that takes in a wider remit than just sports and even hints at how disabled people can scale their ambitions and aspirations bit-by-bit, from the seemingly simple brushing of teeth and independent living to proudly competing in elite sporting competitions.
Lucy seems to believe that non-disabled people are somehow going to start pointing a shaming finger at people that live with severe disabilities and I must say that I find this a little far-fetched. A quick look down the other end of the telescope might however be all it takes to see how with a pinch of courage and determination or indeed the help and support of people around them, that disabled people can achieve against the odds.
Disabled people don’t tend to believe in miracles but in our experience at Able Magazine (ablemagazine.co.uk) they simply want the same opportunities. Starting with ‘Yes I can’ is definitely not the same as ‘There’s no such thing as can’t’. Disabled people deserve a shot at achieving as well as failing in the attempt, just like anybody else – including perhaps those whose only challenge is that they ‘can’t be bothered’, ‘don’t have the time’ or simply don’t believe.
So where did we get to? Well, simply that things aren’t black and white. If there’s one thing that I hope everyone can agree on it’s that it’s great that people are discussing disability in the open which is always better, even if provocative or even clumsy, than not discussing it at all.