Tuesday, 26 January 2016

An outcry over what Sally said to Alex in the cafe


There's a bit of a furore broken out from last night's episode. It concerns a moment so brief that it might have been missed by many viewers. Sally was ordering a sandwich in the cafe and it is Alex who serves her. She says to Alex, 'Are you enjoying working here? He replies, 'Great.'

Sally then says,' Nice you've got a job.'  It was this response which has upset so many people. Some disability campaigners say that Coronation Street was showing itself to be anti - employment for disabled people. I believe they are wrong.


What Coronation Street was intending to do was to show Sally's lack of awareness, sensitivity and humanity. Sally is renowned for her snobbery, her putting her foot(feet?) in it and, despite her belief in her own unsurpassable abilities, she is often wrong. May I refer you to the occasion of the Vienneta and the red sofa and the Banksy. Social climbing and saying an inappropriate few words, is what Sally does and is part of the mismatch between her perception of herself and the perception others have of her. For instance, recently  her comments to Anna about having a date 'at your age,' were crass, patronising and downright rude.

Her bid to be a councillor, amusing though it is, demonstrates Sally's desire to climb the rungs towards the top,  in her view, of  Weatherfield's ladder. She sees Ken as a fellow intellectual, but doesn't realise that she will never be in his league.

It is possible that the writers had no intention of Sally's comment being anything other than what people say today over a shortage of jobs, whether or not the person is able-bodied or has a disability. She was intending to be kind, congratulatory even, unaware that her comment may be misinterpreted.

It it was intended to make a point, then maybe the point was made too subtly. We needed it to be more obvious that Sally was in the wrong and that there is no reason on this earth why a person of any often marginalised group should be more grateful for a job than anyone else, including Sally Metcalfe.

Ruth Owen, twitter @Ruth1722
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19 comments:

Rebecca said...

I don't get to see the episode for a couple of weeks, but I would venture to say that Sally was probably the wrong person to have deliver the line. Yes, Sally thinks she's the upper crust of Weatherfield society and thinks she's better than most of the street, but her condescending tone is something that many people with disabilities deal with on a day to day basis. Had it been said by a character that generally means we'll and just happened to say the wrong thing the comment might have been overlooked or seen as an opportunity to educate. Said by someone who often means to put others down it is inappropriate.

Rebecca said...

BTW, what was Alex's response? I hope he got a good zinger in at her for saying such a thing!

Anonymous said...

What a load. And it's the truth...it is good he got a job!

Anonymous said...

He's a terrible actor with a whiny voice - get rid of him!

Catman said...

Sal may have been merely stating the obvious, in times of high unemployment, it's good to have a job. Too much political correctness. The whole business of making an issue of something that anybody could easily have said is plain ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

It was probably written that way because Alex is connected to the boss' girlfriend, not because of his disability. Way too many people jump to try to defend someone when it isn't necessary. I say it all the time..nepotism in the workplace. A person gets a job because they're 'connected'.

vintgal003 said...

I totally agree with 'Catman' above.....these complaints are ridiculous!! Anybody should be happy to have a job...disability or not. Sally has many sides to her and when she is being 'upper crust'....adds to our enjoyment, laughter and love of her!

Anonymous said...

Why is this any different from Sally trying to garner the 'minority' vote through Izzy? If anything, this storyline is poking fun at Sally's awkward pc politics.

Anonymous said...

of all the things that can be complained about on Corrie, this is the one that has everybody doing the PC thing? Get real, it really wasn't meant as anything bad. I thought Alex's response was that he wasn't registered to vote in Weatherfield said it all, she was wasting her time on trying to cozy up to him to garner his vote, not because he was disabled, but because he was registered in another district.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible that Sally heard that Alex was looking for work and Roy offered him a job in the Cafe while he was away? It could have been an innocent comment, particularly given the high level of unemployment among younger people in the UK. Why all the over-analysis?

Cobblestone said...

In the previous episode, Alex came in whining that no one would give him a job - those comments were reflecting a reality that disabled people are often discriminated against by employers, presumably on the grounds that they assume the individual won't be able to cope with the demands of the job. That's the unfortunate reality. Sally's comment - perhaps (but only perhaps) in her usual tactless, self-aware fashion - was only reflecting this real-world context. I actually think she was trying to be nice. If disabled lobby groups are going to be this hyper-sensitive, shows like Corrie will end up not doing these kind of storylines. For years, the gay community have heard snide remarks from the likes of Les Battersby or gay stereotyping in Sean's flouncing, but accepted it as a reflection of the real world and a small price to pay to have gay & transgender issues very positively portrayed. So often in these cases, it isn't so much the people directly affected who take offence, but that scourge of modern culture - those who insist on being offended on behalf of others.

ruth owen said...

Precisely Cobblestone! Agree completely. The blog post came out of the reaction of a group of people I know who have disabilities. They jumped on the comment and switched into hyper-sensitive mode. Understandably, able-bodied people don't necessarily see the possible offensive nature of the comment. Some go for the old chestnut of PC gone mad, but forget that were it not for PC language, we would still be using offensive terminology to refer to marginalised groups.

And finally, it does none of us any harm to be aware that it is not ok to patronise people who do not have as easy a life as others.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me..nobody has an issue with the fat folk on Corrie being made fun of - it's constant...referrals to big guts etc ...and what particularly is an 'able bodied' person anyway? Each and every one of us is damaged in one way or another. Mentally, physically ... This whole carry on is ridiculous so ... rant ended.

David the Wavid said...

If anyone finds the comment offensive, take it up with Sally! She's not real, of course, but people apparently need reminding.

Anonymous said...

I too have not seen this episode yet.

However Sally's better-than-you persona is so part of her character, most would perceive this as a very Sally-like comment no matter who she cast it at.
If she, or another character, had made this comment to any other character on the street who just arrived on the street and walked straight into a job at the factory, the pub, the hair stylists, the corner shop, no one would have blinked an eye, except to realize, once again, that these unlikely occurrences happen only in Soapland.

I feel that Sally ( or any other character) has been called out because the comment was directed to an actor with Down's syndrome, rather than because Alex became employed right away alongside his Aunt, in the Cafe belonging to the Aunt's close friend.

Newfy Pearl said...

It was vintage Sally...so full of herself and thinking she is so 'with it'. Alex gave a perfect response and made me laugh. It showed that even someone encountering Sally for the first time can sum her up and figure her out.
I thought it was excellent writing and excellent delivery by the actors involved. For those who haven't seen it yet...you will see what I mean. :-)

Anonymous said...

Although I am handicapped,I agree with Catman's comment about political correctness run amouk.
It's funny,I don't remember a big uproar when Izzy was more or less dumped by Gary in favour of Alya but yet there's one when Sally being Sally making an innocent comment about Alex working in the café?Ridiculous especially since Roy did give him a job as a favour to Cathy.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Catman, settle down people who are always looking to be " offended" by everything.

Zagg said...

This kind of silliness is for sure the crappy end of social media. People think because they can tweet, Facebook or email THEIR opinion, it somehow is important. Then the media plays their part and always over dramatizes everything to make people think it is a huge public issue. The reality is, most of the time it is a couple of tweets from a few people that get blown out of proportion. Who cares? If your life is so dull that you have to take serious issue with a couple of words that a fictitious character says on a soap, then you are just pathetic and need help. Discussing for fun on a forum is one thing. Taking it to a public level and tying to make a real issue out of it is ridiculous.
The solution is always so simple. Turn the station.

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