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« Families Created Equal, or Political Activism in Religion | Main | Drout's Rule on Discourse »

Monday, August 11, 2008

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ms_teacher

Thank you for posting this information. I've already picked up a button and placed in on my web-site. The "R" word conversation is one I have every year with my students.

also, I wanted to let you know that in honor of the awesome job you do on your blog, I have something for you on my blog!

Leticia Velasquez

I'm joining the campaign as well, enough is enough! This movie is outrageous, and we are letting our voices be heard, the New York Times has picked up on our protest!

Krystal

Thanks for posting this - I have to admit I used to not care too much before I had kids with autism and now, forget it - I am a rampaging lion when I hear things like this!

Maddy

As always, far more comprehensive.
Best wishes

Terri

This is great--this movie creates many potential problems for the disability community. AND it presents an opportunity for the disability community to be seen and heard and affect our culture.

Renee Garcia

Thank you for posting this and getting the word out!

kari

Thanks for sending me the link. I grabbed the button and will be blogging about the R word and respect tomorrow.

ed

There can be nothing negative in this brave new world we are creating.

The word 'bad' has been replaced by ungood due to its percieved negative connotations.

Feathers McGraw

What people don't seem to realize it that the film pretty clearly isn't making fun of people with disabilities, it's satirizing the Hollywood tendency to make films about people with mental disabilities as Oscar-grubbing vehicles. The little snippets of "Simple Jack" that are shown within the movie are so broad and over-the-top that the object of laughter is a bad actor's pathetic grab at respectability.

Even the scene where the offensive phrase "never go full retard" is uttered is a pretty incisive discussion of how Hollywood has portrayed people with mental disabilities, and why Oscar voters responded to "Rain Man" and "Forrest Gump" but not "I Am Sam."

Again, actual disabled people were not the target of the satire.

Now, you can make the argument that even in the context of satirizing something else, Hollywood shouldn't use the word "retard" because of its inherent hurtfulness. However, it's a position I wouldn't disagree with. If you're depicting ignorant, insensitive people, you have to be free to have them talk the way insensitive people actually would. Using non-offensive langauage in that context makes about as much sense as doing a movie about the Civil Rights Movement wherein a Klansman says "Hey, let's go lynch that African American" or "I sure do hate those people of color."

As the parent of a special needs child, I totally understand the sensitivity on the subject, but in the case of this particular movie, I think it's seriously misplaced. To recap, the point of the whole Simple Jack subplot isn't "aren't retards hilarious?" but "isn't this bad actor's attempt to win an Oscar pathetic and aren't Hollywood's depictions of the mentally disabled fundamentally condescending?"

Goldie

I wrote about it this morning in 2 related posts. I was stunned at the lack of clicks, and only 1 comment. It chilled me and made me fear that people do not care about this subject!

here they are
http://lifeasaplatypus.wordpress.com/2008/08/14/ban-the-r-word/

http://lifeasaplatypus.wordpress.com/2008/08/14/i-wonder-about-tropic-thunder/

Marcus

There is a scene in a very silly movie called Baseketball by Trey Parker and Matt Stone (creators of South Park) which I think applies to my feelings on this particular topic.

Trey Parker is talking to Jasmine Bleeth. She tells him that she is the founder of an outreach type program. It's one of the programs that tries to grant the wish of children with terminal illness.

Trey: Oh you're the guys that grant wishes to sick and dying kids?
Jasmine: We prefer to think of them as Health Challenged and Survival Impaired.

What we are talking about, if I am not mistaken, is politeness. Some people are very sensitive about certain topics and become deeply offended by others words or activities. Now, in cases where no one is or will be harmed by these words or activities it comes down to one person (or group of persons) not liking how another person (or group of persons) behaves. When I say "harm" I am referring to some demonstratable damage done to a person. I am not referring to "I don't like it" as being harmed.

Comedic satire will always offend someone. It has to, really. I am offended by certain satire and refuse to watch it. If someone asks me about it or the program/activity comes up in conversation I will certainly weigh in on the subject. Hell, if it really ticked me off I might go out of my way to find someone who wants to talk to me about it.

Does my agitation make what the other person did or said make their actions "wrong"? To me it does. Should I take action which would hinder or harm (financially or otherwise)them? Maybe if I'm really willing to attack others for their viewpoints.

No matter the various situations in which political correctness is insisted upon, this current topic is pretty clear. We are talking about insisting that everyone be polite to a particular group of people. We are angry because some people have a tendency to be rude or insensitive to other people.

Call it a "cause" if you want but that doesn't change the fact that this is merely a discussion about a personal viewpoint on manners.

muchgooder

I wrote on this topic in my own blog, for anyone that is interested:

http://www.muchgooder.com/home/adam.nsf/LookupContentByKey/full_retard

What is sad is those that try to push their moralities and sense of decency on the rest of the world. Many of the previous posters here did get it right when they said that the movie was making fun of hollywood and the actors that take roles to win awards. It was also making fun of the audiences (including the people that find this movie offensive) that went to those movies and enjoyed them. Downey Jr's character (correctly) pointed out that if the character was "too retarded", people (like you) didn't go to see it and they didn't win awards.

But that isn't the point. If you find something offensive, please don't go to see it. Free speech or art does not come with a "decency" label attached to it. Isn't everything going to be offensive to someone? I'm tired of people telling me what I can and can't watch. I probably hate a lot of the things that you like or find funny but I will fight to the death to protect your right to enjoy such things. Please give me the same respect.

(and yes, I have a handicapped person in my immediate family)

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