17
Feb
10

“retard” circle-jerk; Selling Blame in Place of Claim

For those that haven’t followed the “retard” debate, it runs in brief as the following; the pejorative term recently surfaced in the movies within “Tropic Thunder” — and more recent according to a report from the Wall Street Journal

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703808904575025030384695158.html

the White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was said to have remarked about the liberal camp resisting a proposed healthcare reform, “F—ing retarded.”  Since that time, a campaign has sprung up concerned with banning the word “retard” claiming that such a term, is hate speech.  In defense of Emanuel,  Christopher M. Fairman of the Washington Post sent a shot across the proverbial absolutist bow, the opine making clear that context counts and word bans, government legislated or other wise, are not in the best interest of a democracy, “Freedom of expression has come at a dear price, and it is not worth abridging [..]”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/11/AR2010021103896_2.html?hpid=opinionsbox1&sid=ST2010021403772

In that same publication, on the lasted front of the word battle comes Michael Gerson on Feb 14th 2010 with opine,

“Defending the word ‘retard’ is not heroic”

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postpartisan/2010/02/defending_the_word_retard_is_n.html?sid=ST2010021403772

…his rant, is a useful example of the perils in confusing rhetoric with information.  If the left is to take on a degree of heat in the circle-jerk-homology proscriptions smelling of Marxism; that heat can be explained by looking at the Gerson, argument.

First, a qualification noted by Fairman “While the N-word endures as an insult, it is so stigmatized that its use is no longer tolerated in public discourse.  This is a positive step for us all [..]” and goes on to caution that word ‘containment’ however can have blow-back, fine. Somehow as clear as that point was, out comes the narrow-minded, need-to-see-it-absolutist response, as this is how Gerson interprets Fairman, ” He argues that the r-word must be rescued from the terrible fate of the f-word.  Even the n-word has “varied and evolving uses. […] The comparison between the r-word and the n-word, according to Fairman, is “overblown.”   It may not be the most popular position, and it may not even be “heroic” to assert some common sense in this matter, but Fairman did and he was fair.  The Gersons out there, on the other hand, are as I see it, the real enemies, and I will even include Timothy Shriver on that bandwagon of distracting babblers.  It isn’t that Gerson just twisted the context of Fairman, nor that Shriver’s position fielded on the same day in the Washington Post, “The bigotry behind the word ‘retard’” as well just pitched the circle-jerk of facts;

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/14/AR2010021402893.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

..that has me keyboard tapping away with sorting semantics;  it’s what’s at stake, issues that matter, that become left in the dark with the likes of people, claiming to be advocates for change — that keeps me up.  “We are fighting a word because it represents one of the most stubborn and persistent stigmas in history”  Shriver remarked of Fairman.  Really?  I was under the impression, sex inequality propagated through words by Freire, for example, a more “persistent” stigma — college (CSULA at least) can’t seem to get enough of Freire’s take.  Further, I was under the impression, racial, economic, and religious stigmas were far, far, more “stubborn” than the graces of mental and physical impairments.   A lot is going on, and screaming victim-hood, like Marxism, rather than adding to self-reflection, just adds to distraction, and worse — considers the madness of FURTHER limits to our freedom of speech.  The White House Chief of Staff was out of line, way way out, and I think that is not in dispute.  The term, “retard” has a negative connotation — again, not in dispute.  Over-blowing an incident, intentionally misrepresenting a perspective, pushing screed into college text, screaming bloody murder — it’s what makes the left look bad.  We got enough equivocation to spin blinding circles around the most axiomatic belief, and if there should be some word ban, let it be a ban on the absolutist rhetoric.   College is tough for anyone, even more so difficult for the student with disabilities.  How about that mind-blowing long staircase linking campus housing to classrooms at CSULA; not an access ramp in sight.  Funding cuts, etc; the list is long people!!  Sure would be something for these advocates to import any number of real issues.  Signing some nonsense pledge amounts to nothing but momentary relief from that Hollywood NOS syndrome.  What is needed, now and again, is issue clarity — not more babble.  How about it?  Are the victim-crats done, and real voices coming into that discourse fold?  Hit me up, and tell me what’s up with this crazy world.

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3 Responses to ““retard” circle-jerk; Selling Blame in Place of Claim”


  1. 1 Earl
    17/02/2010 at 4:17 am

    Well then you must be hop skipping mad at Rush Limbaugh!

  2. 2 Mike
    17/02/2010 at 4:45 am

    There are so many issues that the disabled face. Health care, accessability, housing, etc. One is not more important than the other. I’m a parent of a child that Ben Stiller, and Sarah Palin would probably call a retard. Right now I’m just looking for both the word and Sarah Palin to go away.

  3. 3 Grant
    17/02/2010 at 6:13 pm

    As the father of a special needs child, I am horrified that Sarah Palin has used her child as a political pawn – clearly dehumanizing him. Why doesn’t Palin reverse her criticism of MR/DD funding instead of objecting to close meeting slurs? I don’t mind the word retard. It makes people look uneducated. I don’t like PC terms. My kid isn’t developmentally disabled, he’s incapacitated. Don’t sugarcoat it.

    It’s no different than when Republicans attacked Reid over the phrase “Negro dialect” having said far worse unapologetically during the presidential campaign. Get over yourselves and focus on real policy.


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