Thursday, February 18, 2010

I Agree With Sarah Palin. Really.

It's not often that I find myself agreeing with Sarah Palin, but it is time to take her developmentally disabled son out of the discussion. I Yes, it is undeniably true that Palin has injected her family into her public persona in a number of ways to convey her "family values." So she is not entirely blameless here. And it is also true that a woman who uses inflammatory language in saying that her opponent is "palling with terrorists" is hardly one to cast stones at name callers.

But "retarded" ceased being acceptable a long time ago. Evidently, Rahm Emanuel just found that out. I don't think that faux pas should cost him his job, as Palin does, but I'm glad that Emanuel has seen the error of his ways. See also this article on the use of the R word, and this Washington Post blog discussion.

Trivia question. What was the only time in my entire life that I started a fistfight?

Answer: I was about 12 and at a summer camp program (which fittingly featured boxing lessons), another kid starting making fun of my brother Mark, calling him a "retard."

Now I often use the expression "mentally retarded," in its clinical rather than pejorative sense, to describe my brother, as outmoded as the expression may be. I just find it hard to find another term that describes things as accurately.

But I cringe every time I hear one of our students using that word pejoratively to describe anyone - or anything else. "Retarded" has become the new "gay." (Except that "gay" is still around too). As we all know, words kill.

I've taken the pledge at

So what then are we to make of the case of Sarah vs the Family Guy? I didn't see the episode and the single clip offered here really doesn't get to whether the idea was to mock Down Syndrome or Palin - it seems that Palin is the butt of the joke here, and not the girl. As a politician, she may be fair game. But wouldn't it have been nice for Hollywood and the media to seize the high ground for once and leave her family out of this mess.

Fat chance of that happening.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is an interesting article. I'm not sure we need a website for people to pledge they won't use the R word. Common sense should work just as well!

As far as "palling around with terrorists" being inflamatory, I tend to disagree. Barack Obama has a long association with William Ayers. He wrote the foreword for one of Ayers books, yet claims he is just someone who lives in his neighborhood.

They worked together on several non profit boards. Obama's political career was launched in Ayer's living room. Of course he denies that too.

William Ayers attacked the Pentagon and other municipal property. He is responsible for the maiming and killing of innocent people. His goal was to collapse the US Government. In 2001, when asked in an interview if he is remorseful for his action he said "I wish I bombed more buildings"!

What I find inflamatory is that few people seem to find a problem with this disturbing relationship.