13
Feb
10

Fairman in Rahm Emanuel Defense; Context Counts

I don’t blame Rahm Emanuel for this mess — I don’t.  Really we should have water-boarded Robert Downey Jr back in 2003 for his utterance of “retard” in the movie “Tropic Thunder.” Oh, wait;  he was just following the script, and it was just a movie.  No cleansing for Robert I guess.  This blog entry will review the controversy surrounding Emanuel’s remarks, situating a number of column with respect the derogatory term, and weigh in on the effort by disability advocates to propagate a word “ban.”  The disclaimer holds two parts: First this blog as follows, does not necessarily represent the views and official position of the university California State University Los Angeles nor is this blog entry affiliated  to said organ other than in providing, a personal view point, that of the entry by the author/editor/student, ibid.  Second, understanding the sensitivity of this issue, and rather hoping to avoid repeating attracting the heated and derogatory replies; EVERY reply is reviewed, spelling and phrasing (name-calling) checked — in short this blog is moderated.  That said, every reply regardless of viewpoint is assumed to be as valid as the last, and treated with the same yard stick for quality.  I (along with the senior editor) make mistakes, I don’t catch every mistake, and I don’t post replies looking remotely like spam or inappropriate in tone, e.g. threatening and/or just plain crazy.  The theme that guides this blog entry argument is liberty (Mill, J.S. 1859).  We should, as background, first briefly touch on the current fight starting with today’s column (February 14, 2010) by Christopher M. Fairman for the Washington Post, “The case against banning the word “retard.

Truth be told, as a general rule I got a problem with the articulation of every author to date, including my own scribe.  Even when I am in awe of the go-at-it textual effort, it’s only temporary.   After a few reviews, even Marx’s Capital becomes an insipid read – thus far only a few are the exception – thus far; Buckley, Douglass, Shelley, O’connor, Mill, Locke, and Peirce in particular.  Maybe, I’m tragically wound up and narrow-minded to boot, ergo finding most of the posturing equivocated to the point of being lame.  Or maybe, it’s just the result of getting older, and so I’m more discerning.  Maybe it’s all the above or something else completely.  The point is, we can look into the mirror only so much before it distorts into what ever dream or nightmare one dwells upon.  That’s why humans are social creatures, if for any reason – to tell each other how it is and lend to each other perspective.  An example, a good example of reflection, is by Fairman on the “retard” debate.  Before reading his take, “The case against banning the word “retard

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/11/AR2010021103896.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

..I was all for the removal of Rahm Emanuel.  Not anymore, though I still think Emanuel needs a water-boarding session.  Aside that linear /argument/ there’s more to the defense of Emanual built into the Fairman column, and it’s the focus of my argument as well; this notion of agency.  It isn’t possible for the accurate count of instances I wanted as ‘justice’ some reaction to an unpleasant experience, boding closure.  Countless instances, way too numerous to count, and I still cling to envisioning  John Yoo water-boarded, as example of unrealized pseudo-agency.  On that note of damnation demands, I can also attest to later better understanding, the context, of these unpleasant experience and while that improved awareness rarely changed the existing sentiments within me, this rethinking has time and time again reminded me of the blinders that emotions generate.  While it is certainly not in any way a dignified manner spoken by the White House Chief of Staff, on any level, and from any context the articulation at issue “f* retard”; the same, if not greater argument can be made about “banning” a word.  Are we so thin skinned?  A minor point made by Fairman should be considered here,  in so far as backlash to prohibitions; “As Harvard law professor Randall Kennedy described in his 2002 book on the subject, stigmatizing the word has elicited new problems, including an overeagerness to detect insult where none is intended and the use of excessively harsh punishment against those who use the word wrongly.”

Is it a brook of babbling whiners advocating policy changes, on behalf of people with disabilities?  Not a silly question.  That isn’t the same, as persons with disabilities, advocating change of policy — if we are to consider agency.  When did it become the job of public policy to propagate what we can and cannot say?  It falls onto our liberty as individuals to redress wrongs and reframe social norms – not public policy.  Part of liberty is the limit to freedom, as luck would have it for John Yoo.  I am not at liberty to subject him to a mock drowning (or any one else for that matter, whatever ‘kind’ of person in my control).  While I applauded efforts that foster the “inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities” (http://www.r-word.org/ );  I very much draw the political line in the sand, and deeply oppose, supporting “eliminate the use of derogatory speech” while I still reside in America.  In a world were subalternity has thrived, do we really need ‘word stopping’?  When did things lose the potential for context and connotation?  I missed that memo..yet another I missed, I tell ya!  That said, however, I would support water-boarding, the board of directors of the Special Olympics (creators of “Spread the word to end the word” campaign), starting with James Henry McClean (betrayal of a differing color), and any other person or party advocating coercion that further erodes free speech.  Level with me people; am I off my rocker on this — or do you agree, that these whiners need to chill?  Hit me up, and tell me what’s up with this crazy world.

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