Michael Gerson: “Defending the word ‘retard’ is not heroic”

Former George W. Bush presidential speech writer Michael Gerson has come out strongly in a recent op-ed against the use of the “r-word” in our commonly used dialectic.

The media is least attractive when it offers the pretense of fairness to cover a desire for self-serving controversy.

Professor Christopher Fairman of Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University takes to The Post today to defend the word “retard” against taboo, censorship and other forms of social repression. He argues that the r-word must be rescued from the terrible fate of the f-word. Even the n-word has “varied and evolving uses.”

Defending the r-word is not the protection of free expression; it is the defense of bullies.

There is a long tradition of religious and and moral reflection on the words we choose to speak. According to the Hebrew scriptures, “Death and life are in power of the tongue.” Jesus of Nazareth argued, “It is not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”

Epithets gain and lose currency. Which means that standards of morality, respect and tact must be constantly reapplied in new circumstances — not that all standards should be abandoned entirely.

What the Special Olympics is proposing is not government censorship, it is social stigma. In this case, such stigma is a sign of moral maturity.

I have signed the pledge at www.r-word.org. I hope you do as well.

I also encourage you to sign the Special Olympics pledge against using the derogatory label “retard” against any person for any reason.

I would also challenge any person of any variety of partisan politics, which includes myself as well, to try and refrain from personal attacks and all statements that most people would honestly agree is a simple lack of “standards of morality, respect and tact” as Gerson describes it.

Read Some News & Instantly Talk About It!

1.uk-internet-blog-traffic-reaches-all-time-high-chart_1 7-Habits-InternetIn my opinion, all these news-blogging websites are the same thing wrapped up in a different package. This age of faster and faster news-cycles combining with worldwide communications expanding to new heights has spawned a new phenomena of people like myself feeling the need to respond to every single news story in all the world.

Then expound upon some line of thought in some blog and someone comments-back: “Keep it short and sweet.” Sometimes there is none of that. Sometimes I run out anything and we end up with the new and famous and amazing micro-blogging (Tweet)!

The FOX Nation

The ‘protectors’ of the freedom of speech and ’balanced’ media have opened up a talking-back-at-you website. They let my liberal stuff through just like anyone else.

Huffington Post

This site has morphed from comment moderation taken to new tyrannical heights and has landed right back where all the internet is, sanity. Though I’ll the first to admit that almost every post on the website is written by a liberal.

The Guardian

I don’t live in the UK but this news-site has always caught my eye. I just think they have better articles than a lot of American media to discuss or reference.

Your Blog

I might have promoted you and you never knew it. I try and point out anything I think is great in both credible source and just pure internet source. If you have a blog I am the one who just randomly spread it around on Facebook or maybe Stumble.

YouTube Threads

I have no idea why people do this but YouTube comment threads often become beyond the limits of sanity in terms of length, and the dialogue goes beyond any measure of civility in about 90% of the cases. I can barely ever help myself, I’ve allowed myself to childish and tawdry while speaking to vile and hostile people. If you like car-crashes and Jerry Springer … you might want to just read the comments under a video without even bothering with whatever the original post was.

It’s just my point of view.

That it all fits in the same pale. One big not-so happy family of internet traffic.

The only credibility on most internet posting is attached to the credibility of the domain combined with the author. I’ll listen to anybody, but I’m not about to try and attach any level of credibility to myself. This all just my opinion. But I think some certain few out there somehow manage to get opinion and real news confused in all the commotion of the New Media.

Iran Explodes with Unrest

Huffington Post has the latest updates on the Iranian situation.

I would draw your attention to the final video on the post: “12:17 AM ET — Awe-inspiring courage.”

If Women Ruled the World…

’Women’s Liberation’ Aims to Free Men, Too

 Gloria Steinem, The Washington Post, June 7th, 1970

“Simply Incorruptible”

“ONE FINAL myth that women are more moral than men. We are not more moral; we are only uncorrupted by power. But until the old generation of male chauvinists is out of office women in positions of power can increase our chances of peace a great deal.”

“I personally would rather have had Margaret Mead as President during the past six years of Vietnam than either Lyndon Johnson or Richard Nixon. At least she wouldn’t have had her masculinity to prove. Much of the trouble this country is in has to do with the masculine mystique: The idea that manhood somehow depends on the subjugation of other people. It’s a bipartisan problem.”

***

I do not fully subscribe to Steinem’s logic that women are uncorrupted by power. I believe absolute power corrupts absolutely, with no exceptions. However, it may very well be true in the time the words were first spoken that if the so dubbed ‘masculine mystique’ were removed from the scenario that many atrocities committed in Vietnam might have been averted.

The greater issue, in my mind, is always resources and the means of production. Such matters supersede the confines of gender and gender roles. I am, however, quite willing to commit to the idea that if only women were allowed to hold administrative offices that there would indeed be far less warfare in the world as a whole.

Ultimately, there would be no end to wars and subjugation of one over the other. I envision a world of more practical wars and even more decisive moves than those we see in leaders both of the past and today. The War Machine would continue, but take a form it has known before. A much more humble machine.

——————————————————

Gloria Steinem is a free-lance writer and a contributing editor of New York Magazine. The accompanying article [above quote] is excerpted from a commencement address at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Miss Steinem says that it “was prepared with great misgivings about it’s reception, and about the purpose of speaking at Vassar.”

 

http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/wlm/aims/