February 6, 2010

On Being “Retarded”

Category: Opinion — jerry @ 11:01 am

“Screw political correctness…”–Sarah Palin.

Ms. Palin is on the warpath lately for both Rahm Emanuel and Rush Limbaugh having used the word “retarded” to describe different behaviors that each gentleman found to be mentally deficient.

Ms. Palin has a child with Down’s Syndrome, and a consequent mental deficiency.  (The American Association on Mental Retardation continued to use the term “mental retardation” until 2006).  Ms. Palin’s last pregnancy, in her 40s, was unplanned–as, presumably, was her first one, which resulted in the birth of a child some 8 months after she eloped (without the prior knowledge of her parents).

Aware of the most recent fetus’s condition, she chose to have Trig.  I can’t really say that I “respect” that decision, based, as it is, on religious beliefs different from mine; but having made it, I acknowledge the extra challenges that this will bring to her and her family (those extra stresses, I believe, having already manifested themselves to some extent).  I have no doubt that she is a loving, caring mother to this child.

But perhaps she needs to lighten up on her offense at the word “retarded”.  Yes, it’s mean when Rahm and Rush call political opponents (Emanuel in a private conversation, Rush to a radio audience of millions) “retarded” or “idiots” or “stupid”.  But based on Emanuel’s private (or, at least, semi-private) tirade, she is calling for his resignation.

Perhaps Ms. Palin is a little too quick to pull that resignation trigger.

Were these comments cruel?  Yes, but not particularly cruel to the–what do we call them–the “Mental Deficiency Community”?  I personally feel that it is cruel to bring a damaged child into the world if you know of its damaged condition and can do something about it before birth–but I acknowledge that many people disagree with that way of thinking.

So I feel it is “cruel” of Ms. Palin to call for any resignation from Mr. Emanuel or Mr. Limbaugh.  We all need to be more sensitive to pain that might be caused by truly offensive epithets.  But in these contexts, in my opinion, using the word “retarded” is not particularly any more offensive than “I’ve told you a hundred times to clean up your room.  Are you deaf?”, or “Wassa matter with that driver–is he blind?”

Ms. Palin has a history of playing the Victim card, and has used one or another of her children before to that end.

I applaud the parents of children with Down’s Syndrome, who love and care for their children to the best of their abilities without using them as props for attention or political gain.

In my opinion, the fuss Ms. Palin is making over this non-issue just shows her in the same vein as her Facebook Death Panel gushings, and her Couric interviews:  as a woman who has some mental deficiencies of her own.

UPDATE: (Pardon the commercial)


…What a shame. Video pulled. This was the Colbert clip on the issue from 2/8/10. It would be available at the Comedy Central site.

The Founder Of Scientology

Category: Uncategorized — jerry @ 5:05 am

With Scientology in the news again of late (in connection with their rushing to Haiti to help the earthquakes with their “healing touches”), it might be fun to take a look at recently-made-public videos of their founder L. Ron Hubbard’s “only” (?) interview. Below is Part 1 of 6. The rest are findable on YouTube: