You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube ...
I mulled the proper response to the whole "Tropic Thunder" controversy over and over in my Autism Mommy head this morning as I drove Jack to school.
I didn't want my response to be the predictable raging mother thing. There will be plenty of that to go around. On the flip side, the whole sob story/ violins swelling in the background approach didn't feel right either.
And then it dawned on me that the video camera was in my purse. So, as my little "retard" waited in the car line with all of the other little "retards" who have to go to school year-round while their typical peers go to camp and sleep in, I filmed him. I thought maybe the folks at Dreamworks and my comic buddies Stiller, Black and Downey might want to take just a moment to hear directly from one of their lucrative punch lines...
Here's the thing: I'm a fan of these guys. They're funny. They actually have raised funds and awareness in the past for organizations that help people with disabilities.
Good P.R. I guess...
Because, quite obviously, they just don't get it.
Using the word "retard" seventeen times in a movie whose target market is fourteen year-old boys, is tantamount to tossing the car keys to a drunk.
Hey guys. Why don't you just go ahead and publish Bulllying for Dummies while you're at it?
I know you're adorable and funny and all that... But an apologetic grin and shrug of the shoulders on Access Hollywood just doesn't cut it.
And seriously, do you think when you're in your golden years, you'll look back with pride about making a money via a film that mocks those with intellectual disabilities?
Do your moms think this is cool? Really?
So maybe you could take the advice of the late, last lecturer Dr. Randy Pausch, who defined the proper apology as having three crucial components. Dr. Pausch said it should go something like this:
1. What I did was wrong.
2. I feel badly that I hurt you.
3. How can I make this better?.
I'll help you out with number 3. Write a big check to Special Olympics. Go on the network news and apologize. Start a campaign that promotes the inclusion of individuals with disabilities. Oh and while you're at it, donate all the potential DVD sale proceeds to Special Olympics too.
I know you didn't mean it in a bad way...
But you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube. And you shouldn't exploit and demean those who can't really stand up for themselves. That's a great, big Autism Mommy no-no.
Now run along ... and never, ever let it happen again.
For more information, please read Special Olympic Chairman Tim Shriver's commentary on why "Tropic Thunder" shouldn't be seen.
Most importantly, please join me in visiting the "Stop Using the R-Word" web site and pledge to respect and value people with intellectual disabilities.