Okay, I'm going to wade into the fray here, although I know this is a very controversial topic lately--and you all know how I try to avoid controversy! I'm sure some of you will disagree with me on this, and I'm okay with that. I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything here, merely offering my own opinion.
I'm sure you've all read about the kerfuffle (AKA kerfluffle) over Rahm Emanuel's remark calling some in his own party "fucking retards." I find it more than a little amusing that the kerfuffle didn't come from him dropping yet another F-bomb, but from what some people are now calling the "R-word."
Of course, Sarah Palin saw an opportunity there, so she called him out on her Facebook page (Best line I've heard so far, from Andy Samberg as Rahm: "You call me out on Facebook?! What are you, fourteen?"), asking not just for an apology, but for Rahm to either resign or President Obama to fire him. Personally, I think that would be a bit of an overreaction, but in the strange world of Sarah Palin, that was a perfectly reasonable response.
Although...when Rush Limbaugh did it the following day, using the word not once, but several times, she not only didn't call for his big fat head on a platter, she didn't even mention him by name. She just said that it wasn't acceptable for anyone to use the word. In an interview with Chris Wallace, she maintained that Rush was merely using satire to get his point across, and wasn't calling any person or group retards. What do you think?
Our political correct society is acting like some giant insult's taken place by calling a bunch of people who are retards, retards. I think their big news is he's out there calling Obama's number one supporters f'ing retards. So now there's going to be a meeting. There's going to be a retard summit at the White House.
Kind of sounds to me like he explicitly called a group of people retards, even called a meeting of said group a "retard summit."
This tells me a few things.
- Palin is an asskisser who is afraid to piss off Rush because he could hurt her political future
- Palin is a hypocrite, playing the insulted mother and defender of her child only when the "attacker" is someone she doesn't like or doesn't align herself with politically
- Palin is an idiot who doesn't understand the concept of satire and mistakenly thinks that was what Limbaugh was doing
Asskisser, hypocrite, and idiot? No breaking news there.
Now this is where I may part ways with some of you; I don't think using the word "retarded" is that big of a deal. In fact, I use it sometimes myself (and have friends who use it). Not often, and usually among like-minded friends, but yeah, I use it. Context is important, however. I can state unequivocally that I would never call someone who is mentally challenged that word. The phrase "mentally retarded" is no longer used when referring to such individuals. In fact, even mentally handicapped or mentally challenged is no longer used. The new term is intellectual and developmental disabilities. I maintain that the word "retarded" has entered colloquial usage, just as previous terms like "idiot," "cretin," and "simpleminded" have. All terms that used to be used when referring to such individuals, and now generic terms for anyone who behaves stupidly.
Someone raised the argument that it's still not cool, that it's like saying "That's so gay!" as an insult (which I do not do). I don't think it is, because a segment of the population identifies themselves as gay; the word "retarded" is no longer used as a term to identify certain disabled individuals.
I know that not everyone feels the same way, and there are still people who feel that it is an insult to disabled people. I believe that it's an insult only to able individuals who are acting like idiots, and there are plenty of those around. I'm not going to stop using it, but I will be careful around who I use it, keeping in mind that some would find it offensive. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that someone found something I said offensive!
As for the new terminology, "intellectually and developmentally disabled," I'd say that Sarah Palin is most definitely intellectually disabled, so I'll join Stephen Colbert and others in saying that Sarah Palin is fucking retarded. I enjoyed Lewis Black's take on it, though, just because his frenzied outrage makes me laugh.