My Daughter Is NOT A Punchline
August 10, 2011

Does she look like someone who is fair game when it comes to making jokes? Do you find her disabilities to be funny? I know it is hard to look at her and even imagine that someone would use her situation to get laughs but it happens a lot it makes me angry!

Really, look at her. Does that fact that her condition includes “retardation” even stop and make you think when you hear someone utter the r-word as an insult?

Well apparently Universal Pictures thinks it is just fine. Their movie “The Change Up” starring Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman pushes past the limit.

Mitch Planko played by Ryan Reynolds about his friend’s twin babies:
“Why aren’t they talking? Are they retarded? This one looks a little Downsy.”

The one thing I am thankful for is that I found a new blog author who put the whole situation in perspective in a way I never could. He exclaims “All those cinema professionals, and none of them, NOT ONE, ever said “You know, we’re making fun of purely innocent, absolutely blameless people here.” 
I am not a big fan of boycotts but I have no problem warning you about the small collective intellect that was used to put together this movie. The quality of the humor can’t be worth the ticket price or the gas to the theater.

So here is the big deal. Here is what I need to say to those who cry foul when they are called on the misuse of these words. I keep hearing “words don’t mean anything”. If they don’t mean anything to you but they are hurtful to others, stop using them. Robert Rummel-Hudson, author of the above mentioned post said “Freedom of speech isn’t the same as immunity from reaction. I wish people understood what that phrase really means.”

This is something I couldn’t let go of today and I asked myself why. Why am I trying so hard to convince a group of people to be nice. What if only one person reads this and decides to stop using the r-word or becomes sensitive to a comment made for laughs? What if it is passed on to one person who speaks up for the most vulnerable of our society? Then maybe, just maybe that will be one less hurt inflicted on another human being. Possibly one child will be spared the humiliation that a “word” (but more accurately an attitude) can bring.
I can Always Hope.

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1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

    Jem, agree 100% – they DO know what they are saying. Particularly in this case, they are actually saying it about a baby saying it looked "retarded" like "down syndrome". That is not funny in the least bit. I don't get it. The funniest movies of all time rarely have to resort to the use of that word. Are the writers that dim? Do they now own a thesauras? Really


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