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Do words hurt?

August 15, 2008

There is a movie that has recently been received called “Tropic Thunder” starring Ben Stiller which according to Mr. Stiller and Dreamworks (the company that produced it) is a satire of what’s wrong with the movie industry.

The movie has several things in it that can cause one to question it’s value for entertainment, but the one thing creating the most controversy right now is the depiction revolving around a film Ben Stiller’s character played in prior to the one the character is currently making.  That previous film is called “Simple Jack.”  “Simple Jack” is about a mentally/developmentally delayed individual.  At one point Dreamworks even had a website devoted to the “Simple Jack” film with it’s tagline….”Once upon a time there was a little retard.”  Once the disAbility community caught wind of it and protested it was pulled.  Ben Stiller and Dreamworks argue the disabled community misunderstood.  They weren’t making fun of the disabled but of the lengths some actors will go to win an Oscar (think Forest Gump and Rain Man).

However, they use the word retard at least 16 times including one time where Robert Downing Jr.’s character tells Ben Stiller’s character about never going “Full Retard.”  This has already spun off into t-shirts with the words “Never go Full Retard” on them.  Ben Stiller and Dreamworks say parents shouldn’t be upset because the movie is rated R (meaning children under 17 shouldn’t be seeing it and only intelligent adults who would understand the satire will see it).  Let me say this, those words hurt.  Those t-shirts will show up in schools where developmentally delayed students will see those words.

Do words hurt?  I say Yes, they hurt.  Please join with me and ban the r-word from use.  If your friends say it when they mess up, mention words hurt, suggest an alternative.

We can overcome ignorance if we all work at it.

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