After the last presidential debate, many conservatives were disappointed in Romney. Bill O’Reilly had said this was Mitt’s chance to put the final nail in Obama’s coffin but that he blew it by letting Barack walk all over him. Others felt Romney showed presidential composure while the president acted like a goofy teen with lines such as, “The 80s called. They want their foreign policy back” and “We have these things called aircraft carriers.” Ann Coulter summarized this defense of Romney immediately after the election when she said, “I highly approve of Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the retard.”
This caused predictable indignation from Obama supporters, Coulter detractors, and even one person with Down syndrome. Special Olympics athlete John Franklin Stephens came out with a letter claiming she had retardation totally wrong and it was actually a “wonderful gift.” (Santa was unavailable for comment, but I’m guessing he doesn’t get a lot of requests for chromosome 21.)
Unlike the shrill banshees who use the disadvantaged to further their own agendas, I actually know some mentally handicapped people. I’ve done videos with them and even had them edit an issue of my old magazine. My experience has been that they couldn’t care less about politics and are much more interested in TV shows, “partying,” being nice, cowboys, race cars, and eating cupcakes. Only a total retard thinks Stephens wasn’t at least a little coerced into writing that letter. It’s depressing enough to watch NPR trot out blacks who have been trained to pretend they care about things such as Kwanzaa, but seeing people use the mentally handicapped to further their own political cause is disturbing.
The whole thing is reminiscent of the time Special Olympics Chairman Timothy Shriver claimed he was “assaulted” by the comedy Tropic Thunder. The film parodies actors who go for cheap tears and easy Oscars by pretending to be handicapped. “Never go full retard,” said one idiotic actor to another, but the subtlety was lost on Shriver (who is, technically, not retarded at all) and before you know it, signs that said, “WE HAVE ABILITIES NOT DISABILITIES” were handed to the disabled and the studios capitulated. The Special Olympics got a new pulpit and became one step closer to having the kind of authority the NAACP has. What I find particularly infuriating about this particular case is the scene in the film was an attack on those who take advantage of the sympathy people feel for those with disabilities. Then, Shriver takes advantage of them by telling them they were insulted. Now they’re getting a retard insult that wasn’t there in the first place. How retarded is that?
I’ve worked with Justin Theroux, coauthor of Tropic Thunder’s screenplay, and the guy is such a sensitive lefty I wouldn’t be surprised if he lets mosquitoes bite him. His motives for the scene were about as politically correct as it gets. I also know Ann Coulter, and her motives for her quote were clear. (I realize there’s a lot of name-dropping in this piece, but 15 years in media will do that.) She was using rude words to insult the president. Almost every time a fellow New Yorker finds out I fraternize with the Devil they say, “How much of what she says is just for shock value?”
I respond, “What exact quote are you talking about?”
They never have an answer so I’m forced to break the silence with, “Ann talks in public the way we all talk in private.” If you had said her “retard” quote to a liberal in a bar that night, he wouldn’t pretend to be offended by the word. He’d be offended by the insult and say, “Obama’s not being a retard. He’s kicking your boy Romney’s ass, you fucking fag!” That’s how we talk when we’re not scared of having our words twisted by strangers. Why can’t Ann Coulter talk the same way we all talk? She doesn’t go up to the mentally handicapped and say, “Hiya, retard.” Nobody does. When I tell people that “nigger” is a swear word they always say, “Yeah, well, would you go up to a black guy and say it to his face?” Not if I didn’t know him, but I also wouldn’t walk up to an old lady and yell “cunt” in her face.
Language policing has nothing to do with the victims it purports to help and is solely about feigning indignation to gain credence. Congress was using “retard” and “retardation” up until two years ago.
If you really want to hear an offensive use of the word “retard,” look up what they said about Sarah Palin’s kid. Revered liberal comedian Louis CK described Palin’s vagina as a “retard-making cunt.” The relentlessly amusing Stephen Colbert called Palin herself a “fucking retard.” Al Gore described Ollie North supporters as “the extra chromosome right wing” and Obama himself said his bowling was so pathetic, it’s “like the Special Olympics or something.” Shriver’s reaction to this much more obvious insult was that it was “in no way intended to disparage the Special Olympics.”
Coulter realizes this is all about power and that any reaction validates their claims, so she refused to give me quotes for this piece. She did however, send me an interview she did with Alan Colmes where he ambushed her with the topic while doing an interview for her new book Mugged. In the interview, Colmes invents absurd scenarios in an attempt to get Coulter to apologize. When “screw them” comes out of her mouth during an absurd demand, it becomes a headline that gets traction.
This is because to speak your mind in today’s scandal-starved media is to live under a microscope. When you tell someone you’re pro-life the response is, “Oh yeah? What if a father rapes his 13-year-old and she gets pregnant?” If you don’t allow an abortion in that scenario, the headline becomes, “Pro Lifers Want Rape Victims to Have Retarded Incest Babies.” Coulter stops Colmes from telling her that Down syndrome is a gift and points out, “I was not making a joke about the Special Olympics like our president did” and reiterates the obvious truth that “Nobody would call someone with Down syndrome ‘retard’,” seemingly forgetting the liberal abuse Palin endures on behalf of her child. She tells Colmes he cannot “go around saying this and that word is offensive” and when he asks her if she’ll sit down with Stephens she says she’ll consider it when Stephens can update her on the status of other words. “As long as they’re the Word Police,” she says, “I want to know if I can use moron, cretin, idiot, or imbecile.”
You can use any word you want if you’re on the right side. A Nazi is no longer a member of the German National Socialist Party; it’s anyone who wants to cut social programs. Is there a Republican or conservative politician alive who hasn’t had a Hitler mustache drawn on them? Retard literally means “slow,” and just because some hypocritical pundits want to get all niggardly about who can use it and in what context doesn’t mean we have to comply. In fact, the worst thing you can do when fighting the language police is give them the time of day. They’re like the bad guys in Monsters, Inc. They feed on screams. As soon as we ignore them, they die. Shit, I guess I shouldn’t have written this fucking article then.
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