Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Thoughts on the word “retarded”

The latest Palin induced kerfuffle—and there are many things she pulls out of her ass that the beltway press parrots these days—is over Rahm Emanuel’s apparent off the record use of the word when talking about liberal democrats in the context of the health care reform debate. She’s shocked, SHOCKED, that anyone would use such a word and of course she called for his resignation as White House Chief of Staff. I mean, of course she would. As she has often put it herself, she has a “retarded “child. But, of course, when Rush Limbaugh says the word, when referring to the same group of liberals, it’s “satire” and therefore okay. Informed humor, shall we say? Uh, no. Informed is what people like Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh are not. They do not provide information, they peddle ignorance. And many people are buying it, knowingly.

Language evolves. You don’t call an African American a “negro” anymore. Nor do you call a person with disabilities “mentally retarded.” Both terms are considered offensive. Oftentimes the derogatory use of words leads to the actual definition’s extinction, as it were, either altogether or as it evolves into another definition. Is this “political correctness?” Not for me to say, or to care. There are many reasons why words in any language evolve or change. Sometimes the evolution takes time. Sometimes the change is abrupt. Sometimes you will see a group attempt to “take back” a word. Take “queer,” for instance. Along those lines, this current r-word “controversy” affords us an opportunity to change the definition of “retarded.” So I propose the following:

Retarded=Willfully ignorant. The practice or act of intentional and blatant avoidance, disregard or disagreement with facts, empirical evidence and well-founded arguments that oppose or contradict the existing personal beliefs of anyone not known to have any condition officially diagnosed as a cognitive or physical disability.

Especially targeted here are those who tout a lack of knowledge on a subject as a virtue, and refer to those more educated as elitist. Perhaps they work for a certain mainstream network that calls their propaganda “news.”

By this new definition some thoughts:

George W. Bush = Retarded
Rush Limbaugh = Retarded
Sarah Palin = Fucking Retarded
Rahm Emanuel = Just an asshole

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