Last week we brought you the story of the ongoing controversy over Tropic Thunder. Shockingly, it’s not Robert Downey, Jr. playing a black man that has people worried, but the use of the word “retard” in the film. Disability groups went to bat with DreamWorks to try and ruin the movie by getting the word removed from the film last week, and thankfully lost.
The news of free speech’s victory over the forces of political correctness comes from the NYTimes where they reveal that disability groups are now going to plan B and organizing a boycott of the film, after meeting with DreamWorks and leaving the table unsatisfied. What’s truly ludicrous is that not only are they now planning a boycott, but they’re going to lobby Congress for a resolution condemning the movie for the use of hate speech. That’s right, calling your buddy a “retard” is now hate speech. The next time one of your friends does something stupid, think before you verbally lynch him.
The upshot here is that if these coat the world in throw-pillows special interest groups are walking away unhappy, then moviegoers will almost certainly be walking out of Tropic Thunder happy, having laughed their asses off watching the movie as it was intended to be seen. These boycotters are people who probably weren’t going to see the movie anyway, their boycott is less than meaningless. In fact, they’re probably helping ticket sales by raising awareness about the film. Thanks for that. Tropic Thunder is packed with laughs. The extra publicity is well deserved.
The comments section below this story will now inevitably be filled up by the extremist minority, rallying their forces in support of this ludicrous move to treat the word “retard” as if it’s a burning cross on a black man’s front yard. Their comments will inevitably be from people who haven’t seen the movie and wouldn’t know satire if it smacked them in the face, but are nevertheless convinced it’s hateful. You’re recognize them, because they’ll say things like “I’m in favor of free speech, but”, while conveniently ignoring the fact that free speech with a “but” tacked onto the end isn’t free speech at all. What they really mean to say is “free speech is fine as long as you say exactly what I want.” DreamWorks has wisely chosen to ignore them. They know a misguided, vocal minority when they see it.
Hopefully, Congress won’t be retarded enough to fall for their attempt at blatant censorship. I’m less than certain they’ll see reason on this matter though. There is a war on after all and politicians will generally do just about anything, if it’ll distract our attention away from that. If it works, I guess then we can all thank the Special Olympics for keeping us in Iraq.
It’s easy to sympathize with a parent whose mentally challenged kid comes home on the short bus crying, because he or she has been called a retard by some asshole, 12-year-old brat. I remember back when I was in my roly-poly stage in Elementary School, some adult walking past me on the street called me a fatty. I went home crying. I was just a defenseless little kid, harming no one, minding my own business. I didn’t deserve that and was really too young to understand why anyone, especially an adult, would say something mean like that. My parents didn’t respond by lobbying Congress to have “fatty” declared hate speech or by organizing a boycott against the movie Heavy Weights. They dried my tears, privately vowed to kick the ass of the guy if they ever met him in person, and then sent me back out into the world again. That’s the way it works people, or the way it’s supposed to.
If you don’t like the word, don’t use it. Don’t see Tropic Thunder. Or see the movie and hate it. You’re not required to like it, but that doesn’t give you the right to stop the rest of us from using it, or from seeing the movie if we want to. That’s what living in a free society is supposed to be about. Leave retard alone. We’re taking it back.