Sunday, February 14, 2010

February 14, 2009

       Let's hear it for "retarded."  Let's keep it in the language.      This silliness started, you'll recall, when White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel denounced liberals unhappy with the administration's record on health control as "f--king retarded."  Nobody seems to have minded the f-word, but people objected to "retarded."  The Washington Post reported that nearly 60,000 people have signed a pledge:  "I pledge and support the elimination of the derogatory use of the r-word from everyday speech and promote the acceptance and inclusion of "people with intellectual disabilities."      Hunh?  The substitute is longer, clumsier than the original and means, as far as I can tell, exactly the same thing.  Why bother?  Some people are intellectually handicapped. (Can we still say that?) Or disadvantaged, or whatever.  Why can't we have a single word, instead of a phrase, which describes them?      Sure, "retard" as a noun can be used as an insult but so can "flagwaver" and "knee-jerk liberal" and many more.  So what?      Years ago Dan Rather started signing off his CBS Evening News broadcast with the word "Courage."  One of the producers, speaking for many of us, finally told Dan that sounded a bit odd, and wouldn't he stop.  Dan answered "It's a perfectly good word."  The producer said, "So is f--k, but we don't use it on the air."      Dan stopped.  But I hope "retarded" lives.  It's a good word with a perfectly clear meaning.  Long may it sound.  
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