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What do you think?

Time to stir up some discussion--and maybe even controversy...

Please comment on the following piece of writing. It is not mine. In a few hours, or perhaps a day, I will post another post with my own thoughts. This was posted to an email list with the subject line: "Tell your story."

One day, there was a blind man sitting on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet and a sign that read: "I am blind, please help."

A creative publicist was walking by him and stopped to observe that he only had a few coins in his hat. He dropped a few more coins in his hat and without asking for his permission took the sign, turned it around, and wrote another announcement. He placed the sign by his feet and left.

That afternoon the creative publicist returned by the blind man and noticed that his hat was full of bills and coins. The blind man recognized his footsteps and asked if it was him who had rewritten his sign and he wanted to know what he wrote on it.

The publicist responded: "Nothing that was not true, I just rewrote your sign differently." He smiled and went on his way. The blind man never knew, but his new sign read: "TODAY IS SPRING, AND I CAN NOT SEE IT."


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 22nd, 2007 05:35 pm (UTC)
I am 'thinking' is is a pleasent way of showing that most people do not understand the idea of what somebody may be 'missing' by stating they have a 'disability' so to speak.

'I am blind' just says to some sighted folks that you wil not try on a sign for begging. Same with many things written on cards in that fashion.

Givinga 'visual' image of what is being missed however...gives feelings and empathetic abilities to otherwise callous folks walking through life.

'kindness' happens with taught sensitivity.
Jan. 22nd, 2007 05:41 pm (UTC)
I think this story should only be printed on an airplane barf bag.
Jan. 22nd, 2007 07:25 pm (UTC)
I don't see why it would be controversial.

I think it was kind (and wise) of the man to do what he did.
Jan. 22nd, 2007 08:28 pm (UTC)
I'd agree with the commenter upthread about only publishing this on a barf bag, but I suspect it could probably be very instructional if you passed it to the marketing/fundraising people at blindness organisations with the general idea that this is an example of how NOT to do things.

I think "please help" isn't going to give people a true understanding of why you need help. By the same token, talking about what you can't see doesn't really do that either. Saying something like "YOU CAN READ THIS SIGN AND SEE THE FOOTPATH IN FRONT OF YOU. I CAN DO NEITHER WITHOUT EXTRA HELP." would be a better message.

Not that I like the idea that this story perpetuates - blind people aren't always and forever dependent on charity to live their lives. It shouldn't be perceived that they are.
Jan. 22nd, 2007 10:34 pm (UTC)
I'm actually not sure how to respond. Part of me finds it touching; and part of me understands why the blind might take offense. I don't know...
Jan. 22nd, 2007 10:51 pm (UTC)
I think messages like this could be quite damaging potentially. It's interesting to me how many times I read things about blind people where an article might say "so-and-so will never see a sunset, so-and-so will never see the face of his little daughter", etc. etc., ad nauseam. I don't have to see my little girl with my eyes. Likewise, using another example, I don't need my eyes to appreciate the ocean. The sound of the surf, the smell of the air...those are my pictures. Stuff like this just plays to pity points, and it reinforces negative stereotypes. End of rant.
Jan. 23rd, 2007 12:39 am (UTC)
it's all about advertising. This sounds like something a blindness org/guide dog program would do/has done.
I wonder what the blind man thought when he heard the new line? Words are powerful things, and words that pull at our emotions will always get a bigger reaction.
Jan. 23rd, 2007 02:13 am (UTC)
Honestly, I don't like it.
I don't like the fact that the blind man was begging for money based on his disability. I view that as a coppout and detrimental to those of us who are busting our butts trying to make something of ourselves.
Jan. 24th, 2007 10:44 am (UTC)
It's me again...
Personally, I think this is more of a poke at the advertising industry. I have learned in my own experiences that these people will take what you say and inevitably turn it in to a sob story. In 2001, I was involved in a rather big community event wherein I was chosen to be a torch bearer for the olympics. It was this massive attack of the media and I learned quickly to dread the results. I could talk with a reporter for an hour about my leadership activities, my extracurricular experiences, did you know that I've been to the moon...? And, it always happened that a few days later, the entire spokane community reads. "At just eight months she lost her sight. Her mother remembers her not being able to see the cheerios on her high chair tray... blah blah blah blah blah. And she can even walk down her school hallway not seeing blah blah blah blah blah.

So this guy who's having a hard time because he has no money just wants to be straight with people and say "hey, I'm blind (mentioning that in the sign says something about the man) and I need a little help." Count on the advertisers to fluff it up with "I can't see the spring day!" (or the cheerios...?) And as for the fact that the sob story earned him more money, well, that's just how the goofus boofus human race thinks.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


Sarah Blake LaRose
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