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    In Defense of Honest Dialogue

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    Shale
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    Rant In Defense of Honest Dialogue

    Post by Shale on Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:50 pm

    In Defense of Honest Dialogue
    By Shale
    January 14, 2012

    I work for a company that takes care of people with Developmental Disability. Oh, since a year or so now it has been called Intellectual Disability. And when I first started working in this field it was called Mental Retardation. But words go out of vogue after they fall into misuse in the common vernacular.

    That is what happened to 'idiot, moron & imbecile' once clinical words until the common man started bandying them about as pejoratives. Now 'retarded' has met that fate and I can understand the umbrage of people who work in this field and those who perhaps have intellectual disability.

    "That is so gay!" Yep, retard is not the only insensitive invective that is hurled at others in jest, often without a clue as to how hurtful it could be to a class of people and I can understand the professional organizations abandoning the word that used to be the 'R' in ARC (But which is now an acronym without words).

    However, the activists in these professional and support groups have relegated 'retarded' to the 'R' word, much like the offensive slang word 'nigger' has become the 'N' word. (Which to me, represents 'Non-word')

    Using codes for words that people know (and if they didn't know, journalism requires you to offer a 'first citation' explanation) is to me both absurd and infantile. Yes, infantile as when some parents teach their children to use codes #1 and #2 for urinate and defecate.

    These are the words that dare not speak their names. However, there comes a problem when writing literature or screenplays where you want your characters to be believable. You want your dialogue to be real, to reflect the way people actually speak. Anything less becomes stilted. So, sometimes some backwater semi-literate lowlife will talk about those 'fucking niggers.' You can't expect the same face-slap of outrage to hit your audience if he says those 'F-word N-words.' Besides it becomes even more cumbersome if that lowlife is ranting on those 'fucking faggots.' (F-word F-word?)

    So now there are groups whose intent is to "Spread the Word to End the Word," which is a great idea if they confine it to educating people to not use it. But they have taken an activist role in trying to get people to boycott any entertainment that uses the word retarded or retard in their script, and that is where I get pissed.

    I wish to defend the use of this now 'bad' word when used to convey how people actually talk. Some recent examples were movies that showed insensitive people in casual conversation with friends using these words.

    In the movie The Change-Up, Ryan Reynolds character, who is the partying, irresponsible womanizer is at his married friends house being his usual obnoxious, crude self. He asks Jason Bateman’s character about his young twins. “Why can’t they talk yet? Are they retarded or something?” Then goes on to say, “the one on the left looks a little Downsy.” Did I say crude? Perhaps insensitive. But remember, we the audience are are not really supposed to be in the room eavesdropping on these private conversations between two buddies who have known each other all their lives and engage in this kind of childhood banter.

    The other movie is The Descendants one that I did not see, but here is the reported greivance:

    Clooney’s character Matt says, “You are so retarded.”
    Nick Krause’s character Sid replies, “That’s not nice. I have a retarded brother.”
    Matt looks shocked.
    Sid goes on to say, “I’m just kidding. I don’t have a retarded brother. Sometimes when old people and retarded people are slow I just want to make them hurry up.”

    This dialogue is very similar to what Kaui Hart Hemmings wrote in her novel of the same name. The story involves a family with some dysfunction, discord, affairs and basically dramatic stuff. The author thot this dialogue fit, as do I, and it apparently was acceptable by the 89% of the aggregate reviewers that gave the movie good marks and to the multiple award nominations.

    It is not like the characters in either of these movies are yelling RETARD! at a bunch of people in a Special Olympics event. And yet, Special Olympics is one of the organizations that has taken a stance against this movie.

    Which really irritates me as I have worked with that group for my clients and have been a member for the past two years. But, ya know what? In these troubling economic times, when I have taken a pay cut because the funding is being cut to our agency, I have found a way to save a few bucks this year. By not renewing that membership.

    My Last Special Olympics Member Card



    This is what I thot Special Olympics was about

    Mission Statement

    The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.


    Last edited by Shale on Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:40 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Add Foto Title)




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    Rant Re: In Defense of Honest Dialogue

    Post by Bluesmama on Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:34 pm

    Well, there is no vaccine against words.

    The thing about some words is that they have more than one meaning. 'Retard' actually means slow in progress or stunted ~ for anything ~ and I do use this word in this context.

    'Nigger' will never become a non-word as long as black Africans insist on using it amongst themselves (why they do this is a mystery to me). And, while I haven't heard a white person use that word in many, many years, it still persists out there.

    The word 'great' became a heated topic in a talk show that I watched a long time ago. I don't even remember who the speaker was or what the actual subject was, but the speaker made the mistake of saying that 'Hitler was a great man', and that set the whole program into another direction. Then he tried to explain that 'great' does not necessarily mean 'good'. So I grabbed my dictionary. Great: notably large in size; huge; elaborate, ample; large in number, numerous; predominant, remarkable in magnitude, degree, or effectiveness (~ bloodshed); full of emotion (~ with anger); eminent, distinguished; aristocratic, grand; more remote in family relationship by a generation; markedly superior in character or quality; noble; remarkable skilled, marked by enthusiasm. . .

    The words in red sure sound like Hitler to me. Eye-opener. Still, we all connect that word to mean good or big. I, myself, wouldn't want to say Hitler was a great man. Just doesn't sound right. And I know that this doesn't necessarily pertain to the subject at hand here . . . it just brought it to mind and I wanted to share.



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    Rant Re: In Defense of Honest Dialogue

    Post by Shale on Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:10 pm

    Yeah, words in English can be tricky since we stole most of them from many other languages.

    Peculiar has become a bad so I would get into trouble by saying that Africans have "peculiar brown skin." Which is just a demographic truism, like Scandinavians have peculiar blond hair.

    And, as you mentioned that double standard. My wife sometimes said nigger, usually referring to some of her sisters or other low-class ppl who gave blacks a bad image. I could never get away with that without being classed as a racist.

    Like I said, retarded was a valid descriptive of ppl who were born unable to learn past a particular level. Now they want to ban it because of its misuse. "Special" is now sometimes used as a derogation in ref to Special Ed, which is the mainstreaming of intellectually disabled ppl.

    I'm surprised the movie Shortbus didn't get flack for its title, which referred to the shortbus used to transport the "special" students. The sex club with that name was for special ppl.




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    Rant Re: In Defense of Honest Dialogue

    Post by Bluesmama on Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:29 pm

    Isn't there an effort to label those with Downs Syndrome as "uncomplicated"? Personally, I don't like the chosen word. What do you think?



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    Rant Re: In Defense of Honest Dialogue

    Post by Shale on Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:04 pm

    Bluesmama wrote:Isn't there an effort to label those with Downs Syndrome as "uncomplicated"? Personally, I don't like the chosen word. What do you think?

    I haven't heard of that, nor do I know to what it would refer. Ppl with Down Syndrome are quite often moderately or mildly retarded (Retardation is still the official designation by law) and and can function at high levels.

    Most notable is actor Chris Burke, who played Corky in Life Goes On (1989-1993).



    IDK how much coaching he had to take, but his portrayal is quite impressive with my experience with ppl with Down Syndrome. But, I have worked with mildly retarded ppl who were really astute and good friends.

    Chris wrote his bio already. I suppose he knows that his life-span is about 60 years. I have seen so many ppl with Down Syndrome die in their late 50s, rarely making it to 60. Dementia usually hits in the progression, like it does to those without the extra chormosome in their 80s.




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    Rant Re: In Defense of Honest Dialogue

    Post by Bluesmama on Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:16 pm

    Perhaps it's a local thing here. I've heard the term a couple of times but can't remember how or where.

    Yes, I remember Corky well. And the girl who played his wife.



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    Rant Re: In Defense of Honest Dialogue

    Post by wants2laugh on Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:32 am

    I think that people give words their power. If you take the power away from the word, then it is JUST a word. People need to get over it and stop being offended by words. Many "vulgar slang" words such as ass, dick, shit, damn could not be aired on TV a few decades ago. I remember when NYPD Blue first came on tv and it had to air after 10pm cause of the language and nudity. Now the reruns air in the afternoons.

    People give words power. Nigger, faggot, kike, cracker---they are just words. A black could call me a cracker but I wouldnt be offended. And some words had changed meanings over the years too--- I remember I was working with a black woman of my age, and an older black man. I said to my friend Lori, "yo, how's my boy Al doin?" The older black guy turned to me yelling "I ain't no boy! Im a man dammit." he called me a racist and went on and on about how his wife was an MBA from a local university. First off, I wasnt even talking about him, I was talking about my friend's boyfriend. Secondly, my generation did not see "boy" as a racist thing. We grew up with Fat Boys, homeboy, Boyz in the Hood, Beastie Boys, HEEEYYYY BBBOOOYYY!! "Boy" in my generation was seen as "friend". But in generations past was derogatory.

    i work in a very diverse building and we do laugh at stereotypes, and we all get along. it is possible for people to get along and dismiss words' power.



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    Rant Re: In Defense of Honest Dialogue

    Post by Shale on Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:27 am

    Oversensitivity is the problem. Like the black man who was bent outta shape over boy. But depending on the era and the area he could have been relegated to 'boy" even as an adult. But, ppl should try to understand the context before going ballistic.

    Feminists get bent outta shape at the mention of "girl" the same way. I had a young woman berate me and an 80-year-old man for referring to her as girl. She came off looking like an ass to everyone who didn't get their panties in a knot. I mean, when you have a daughter who's 42, women in their 20s are girls (even those in their 30s) Give a little consideration to the source of a comment.

    And, I may even refer to young black men as boys. I do so with the same age white men.




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    Rant Re: In Defense of Honest Dialogue

    Post by Bluesmama on Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:06 am

    Oh, Lord, that "girl" thing drives me nuts. I SO agree with you! I never, ever. . . ever! . . . understood women's high-strung reaction to being referred to as 'girl'. In fact, I don't relate to a lot of things that get women get their panties in knots over.

    Back in the 90's, shortly after getting a new job, my husband walked along a hallway and simply said "Hello, girls!" to a group of ladies having break. He got his wrist slapped for it. Stupid.

    Glad I'm not that way. I'll take 'girl' over 'older lady' any day!



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