3.17.2006

How Kohl's Rolls

How Kohl's rolls*

For no particular reason I have found myself inundated with portrayals of people in wheelchairs. This is not a bad thing per se. In fact, it wouldn't be a thing at all if it hadn't gotten so damned weird. The good news is that portrayals of para/quadriplegics, especially of young people who are wheelchair-bound, are much better than they used to be. Maybe I'm remembering incorrectly, but it always seemed that any early recollection that I have of any movie, television show, PSA, or educational poster which included anyone with a disability of any kind has that After School Special stench we all know well.

Luckily, with the new millennium we as a culture have learned that equal and fair treatment need not always go hand-in-hand with a stiflingly PC, everyone's-a-winner mentality. I actually first came to this conclusion with regard to portrayals of disabilities when I encountered the cartoonist John Callahan in junior high school. Callahan was left a quadriplegic after a car accident in the 1970's. Since then he has been all about the un-PC.






Don't worry I'll get to my point soon.

And then Murderball really did away with the "everyone's a winner" mentality by showing how much ass can be kicked from a wheelchair. Of course, I would make the argument that the presence of a zombie wheeling around outside of the Winchester pub in Shaun of the Dead is actually more revolutionary movie moment, but that is a debate for another day. The important thing is that Murderball is not simply a cinema depiction (and I'd hazard a guess that Shaun isn't either). Nope. As with everyone else who wants to be badass in our culture, the wheelchair-bound as free as anyone else to consume an Xtreme identity, and equally free to look ridiculous in doing so. If offer pimpin' your ride with wheelchair spinners are proof positive as that. But our freedom these days are, above all else, is the freedom to consume so why not? I just hope no one goes for the neon runner lights under the seat.



Now I get to the point, and I ask you all for help in explaining the following: what the fuck is going on in this picture. I was in a Kohl's department store last weekend when I came upon the scene below.



All I really want to know (and I could have posed this question without the rambling preface) is why is there a mannequin in a wheelchair? It's not a cool mannequin either. She's dowdy and she has a dowdy friend. Her chair isn't cool. It's a classic hospital emergency room model, black with "Kohl's" stenciled in spray paint on the back. How do they want the customer to react? Is there a care facility nearby and are they just catering to a very specific population? Does this mean that I can come back in a few months and see her parked in her chair sporting the fall line?

Please post any and all theories about this odd display.


*all apologies to Gwendolyn for basically stealing her title and topic

1 Comments:

At 6:04 AM, Anonymous Shannon said...

Duh, Evan. It's obvious that they want you comtemplating the wheelchair (in confusion) so that your mind is distracted and therefore open to the subtle, yet pervasive, Musak that instills in you a deep-seated need to buy over-priced and smelly cologne, faux pearls, or the latest singing fish ripoff.

Clever, clever Coles. I applaud them for using a wheelchair so deviously.

 

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