Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Retards! Retards! Retards!

I wanted to weigh in about the retarded controversy regarding the use of the word "retard" in the movie Tropic Thunder, but it appears my (not-so-tropic) thunder has been stolen by Becky from Just a Girl in short shorts. That is to say she's said basically everything I would have probably more eloquently. Except that I can add my perspective as a person with mental disabilities (and "mental disabilities" - or for the matter "mental handicaps" - is a much better term than that verbal equivalent of a polished turd, "intellectual disabilities.)

To recap the nature of my mental disabilities read my post on Michael Weiner (aka "Michael Savage). And note the glaring difference between the comedic use of the word "retard" in Tropic Thunder and Weiner's deliberate disinformation rant.

Now, in my teenage years I was hurt by the word "retard" directed at me, as well as words like "spaz" and "sped". The words "geek" and "nerd" were also hurtful even though they implied a level of intellectual achievement , which I surely did not even begin to approach until at least the second half of my sophomore year in college. In the current information age, of course, "geek" and "nerd" can be titles of honor; while I would rate my computer skills as above average, they are well below those of a true geek or nerd, and once again I find I only qualify for such honorifics in regards to the negative connotations they have for my social skills. But in any case, you can be sure that I will not protest or boycott any movie that uses the words "nerd", "geek", "spaz", or "sped", so why should I care about "retard", unless its used against an actual retarded person (and even then it might not be so bad used in a somewhat sympathetic context - as with Gary the Retard or Wendy the Retard.)

I don't think that this movie is intended to be hurtful to people with mental or physical disabilities. But if it is. disabled people can decide for ourselves whether or not to be offended. We don't need politically correct, do-gooder, motherfucking cuntrag-douchebags telling us that we should be offended, so we can help further their agendas. I've had enough of those people in my life already.


Jennifer Bartlett said...


Thank you for posting on my blog. I admit now that my post to the 'gals' blog was misguided. I usually don't subscribe to Rush Limb. type humor, even in irony.

I agree with some of what you say here. But, this issue is much larger. It's about PWD not getting jobs, not having inclusion classes, not having the respct of other minorities, not being included in Affirmative Action. It's about incentives for PWD not to work or be sucessful because they lose their SSDI if they do, and it's more financially benificial not to work. It's about the NYT insisting on calling us 'the disabled.' It's about the fact that there is no mention of PWD in any feminist literature. it's about the fact that there is not coverage of the paraolympics. It's about the fact that the NYT includes editorials by women, gays, blacks, farmers, artists, concevatives, liberals, Indians, and not PWD.

Get my point?

Becky C. said...

Thanks for your comment.

Today a whole group of people over at a Down's Syndrome Forum made some rather hurtful comments about me, did a bit of spamming, claimed they were reporting me to all Arizona organizations which work with disabled persons.

I know these people mean well, and probably did not even read (or comprehend) what I wrote. The point simply was that to a large extent "retard" does not mean "mentally disabled" anymore--although unlike "dumb" it is still used sometimes (the minority of the time) in a hurtful way.

I think by making this kind of protest they are victimizing those with mental disabilities and actually hurting the cause.

I am the last person in the world who would intentionally hurt, or set back the cause of, the mentally disabled.

Nonetheless, one person said what I wrote was "the worst she had yet seen" on the Tropic Thunder non-controversy.


Meadester said...

@Jennifer Bartlett:
Some of the points you raise are valid. However, I think making an issue of using "the R word" in a silly movie will do noting but distract from any legitimate causes you have. As for editorials by PWD, what about Charles Krauthammer? He is one of the most influential editorial writers I know of, and he most certainly has a disability (in case you didn't know, he is paralyzed from the waste down). I don't know how often he is published in the NYT, but that paper's reputation and readership has been in freefall for years, anyway.

@Becky C.:
It looks like you've attracted the attention of some real moonbats! Of course, the site you linked to is one for parents of disabled children not disabled people themselves. Parents advocacy groups are often much more hysterical than disabled self-help groups. Now here we are talking about a disabled group that can't very easily speak for themselves, but if they could, I don't think the pattern would be much different.