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Rahm Emmanuel "F*cking Retarded"

If it's news, but not politics, then it goes here.

Re: Rahm Emmanuel "F*cking Retarded"

Postby O.J. » Wed Feb 03, 2010 12:58 pm

boston_jeff wrote: But a pejorative that refers to one specific group is offensive, unless that group sanctions the use of the term and typically only when a member of that group uses it.


Don't you think that suggests to others that the usage is acceptable? If some black people find the n-word acceptable, is it acceptable to use it front of those who don't?
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Re: Rahm Emmanuel "F*cking Retarded"

Postby jman111 » Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:04 pm

What if he had said "That is moronic!"?
Again, from what I have read, it seems he didn't call anyone retarded- he said an idea (the plan to air the ads) was retarded. ("That is f*ucking retarded!") The headlines have him directing the statement at the people, not the plan. I don't think that was the case. Am I wrong in this assumption?
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Re: Rahm Emmanuel "F*cking Retarded"

Postby dave esmond » Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:11 pm

boston_jeff wrote:....they no longer have the connotation that "retarded" does.


In all seriousness, help me out here.

When I've used the r word it had the same connotation, to me, as when I use the word idiot. That's why I'm still not sure I ought to be using any of these terms.

What connotation does it have that idiot or moron doesn't? Seems like you work in a field were you might know the nuances I've missed.

Knowing is growing and all that. Thanks.
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Re: Rahm Emmanuel "F*cking Retarded"

Postby Violet_Skye » Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:35 pm

If he had said moronic, there would be no public outcry. Yet moron was an accepted medical diagnosis at one time. Retarded is no longer a diagnostic word. In time it will become as pc an insult as moron is. It just hasn't been out of official usage long enough yet.
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Re: Rahm Emmanuel "F*cking Retarded"

Postby fisticuffs » Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:39 pm

If he had said moronic, there would be no public outcry. Yet moron was an accepted medical diagnosis at one time. Retarded is no longer a diagnostic word. In time it will become as pc an insult as moron is. It just hasn't been out of official usage long enough yet.


So basically Rahm is just way ahead of his time and everyone who was offended by this is just being retarded? (Republicans excluded. They couldn't give a fuck about the language, as Ned so eloquently demonstrated, They're just looking for a fight.)
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Re: Rahm Emmanuel "F*cking Retarded"

Postby Maeve » Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:53 pm

My autistic brother was taunted as a “retard” by ignorant and/or mean spirited kids and adults while he was growing up, and this still happens even in these enlightened times.

Jim can’t communicate feelings well (particularly since he is also developmentally disabled), but he does have feelings, he does understand, and it does cause him pain. He's an innocent, and it's heartbreaking.

But apparently all is well so long as nobody is insensitive enough to jeer “retard” to his face. That would be cruel and insulting.

The terms “retard” and “retarded” as slang and slur are used either by people who don't understand or by shitheads who scoff at the "PC Speech Police." It’s fine with me if “shit” is offended by its association with people who insist that “retard” is so inoffensive. Referring to someone who’s just plain dumb, “shithead” is appropriate. At least in my book.
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Re: Rahm Emmanuel "F*cking Retarded"

Postby Broadsheet » Wed Feb 03, 2010 3:32 pm

Actually, "mentally handicapped isn't the preferred term of art." It's developmentally disabled. I've also heard an attempt to replace the word "disabled" with "differently abled," but that hasn't caught on.

Rahm might have avoided trouble by simply saying the word he meant, which is "stupid." I think he also might have gotten away with calling them "idiots," which was the long-ago term for people of limited mental capacity. They also used to be called "slow," and that was considered a kindness. Isn't it all kind of sad, sorting out the good and bad ways to be mean?
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Re: Rahm Emmanuel "F*cking Retarded"

Postby Thusnelda » Wed Feb 03, 2010 4:06 pm

I don't use the word "moron."*

"Idiot" is a tough one, because that's REALLY gotten ingrained into our language over the last few hundred years, but I try not to use that either. Same with "lame" and "dumb" -- both of which are out of clinical use. Again, it's hard sometimes, but why should I shrink back from thinking a little more about what I say and how I say it?

Violet, did you read what I mentioned above about what you said? The words "nigger" or "nigra" (as I read in some book or other when I was in school) and "Negro" were perfectly acceptable in a clinical or literary setting for many years, but they're not appropriate to just toss around these days, are they?

Paul Mooney, who wrote for Richard Pryor, said that he and Pryor tried to reclaim the word "nigger" until the point where it didn't have any negative power or connotations. But after several years, they gave up; it just wasn't going to get to the point where that would ever be okay.

So what you're talking about isn't acceptance in society, it's pretty much the textbook definition of ignorance: ignoring the word's major connotation until people don't think about it anymore. I'm not about to sit back and let that happen.

And as for our pals in the GOP, I'm sure they'll back me up. Honest injun!

*(Except for this joke, when I was little: a big moron and a little moron are sitting on a fence. A gust of wind knocks one off. Who was left? The little moron, because he was a little more on.)
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Re: Rahm Emmanuel "F*cking Retarded"

Postby boston_jeff » Wed Feb 03, 2010 4:35 pm

O.J. wrote:
boston_jeff wrote: But a pejorative that refers to one specific group is offensive, unless that group sanctions the use of the term and typically only when a member of that group uses it.


Don't you think that suggests to others that the usage is acceptable? If some black people find the n-word acceptable, is it acceptable to use it front of those who don't?


Nope.
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Re: Rahm Emmanuel "F*cking Retarded"

Postby Woofer » Wed Feb 03, 2010 4:54 pm

I've read the posts here and I've read the press accounts elsewhere and I confess I still don't see how this has erupted into such a huge issue. Is the word "retarded" commonly used today as a term of art in a valid context? Sure! Three seconds of Googling yielded the following quote from an online medical journal: "Children with constitutional growth delay (CGD), the most common cause of short stature and pubertal delay, typically have retarded linear growth within the first 3 years of life." Was there any hue and cry or outrage among the medical journal publishing sector because this term was used? Of course not, because the word still serves to effectively convey an idea in this context. What the word actually means in this context is "slowed or delayed in development or progress."

So here's what happened, according to the original Wall Street Journal story (which one wonders if anyone has actually read): "The friction was laid bare in August when Mr. Emanuel showed up at a weekly strategy session featuring liberal groups and White House aides. Some attendees said they were planning to air ads attacking conservative Democrats who were balking at Mr. Obama's health-care overhaul. "F—ing retarded," Mr. Emanuel scolded the group, according to several participants."

Parse this out, folks. The shared goal of the people at the meeting was to construct a strategy by which liberals could retain and expand their power and influence in Washington. The proposed strategy was to run issue ads against conservative democrats. The pragmatic side of Mr. Emanuel was upset by this, since he is of the mind that a conservative democrat is still a democrat in the caucus-- bashing the conservative democrat is a sure ticket to having a republican wind up in the seat. His strongly held view is that a strategy that consists of beating up on any sitting democrat would *ahem* "slow or delay the development/progress" of a unified and powerful democrat caucus as well as "slow or delay the development/progress" of President Obama's legislative initiatives. Coming to these conclusions, the intemperate side of Mr. Emanuel promptly described such a strategy as effing retarded. It would be interesting to have a discussion about whether the liberal groups were presenting a valid and effective strategy or not. But I for one don't feel there's any ambiguity about what he was saying about the strategy.

Remember how some people reacted so strangely when some college professor used the word "niggardly " in a sentence? This strikes me the same way... people hear a word (or even a word that sounds like another word), strip the context from it, assigning it a new meaning or connotation in the process, and voila. Media firestorm.
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Re: Rahm Emmanuel "F*cking Retarded"

Postby Thusnelda » Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:13 pm

I agree that when you're talking about a thing or process (like growth), as opposed to a person, the word is used correctly. What I don't agree with is people trying to say that they mean "slowed down." The grand majority of people will not use the word "retarded" in that context, and boy howdy do I doubt that Rahm was doing it either. These folks are still using it to refer to something as backward or wrong.

Parse this out, Woofer: no amount of rhetoric can cover the fact that you still don't get it.
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Re: Rahm Emmanuel "F*cking Retarded"

Postby boston_jeff » Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:21 pm

Using it accurately as a verb is fine (e.g., growth was retarded), we've been through this. If its OK to use the word as a noun or adjective to describe a person why don't we use it freely in public? Would you get on a crowded city bus and use the term in this way? Would you use this term at a dinner party to describe someone as less than swift? How about at a professional conference or meeting?

Its one thing to throw a term like "retard" around at the bar or behind closed doors with friends when you know that no one in your group will be offended (a huge huge caveat). Its quite another to insist that there's nothing "wrong" with this usage. Personally, I am making every effort to expunge the term from my vocabulary regardless of the venue. Idiot/moron/imbecile I'm fine with, despite the etymology of the words. I see Thusnelda's point, but I don't see the connotations as being offensive like "retard" is.

Most of the individuals that I know who feel strongly about this issue are autism/special education advocates, and their perspectives have helped shape my behavior in this regard. We can go back and forth on this for days. "If idiot used to mean what retard means now than why is idiot any better? Blah blah blah..." Boring. Its not about semantic arguments, its about what is and isn't offensive. There is no campaign to end the use of the term idiot or moron that I know of.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/03/20/ob ... index.html
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Re: Rahm Emmanuel "F*cking Retarded"

Postby Violet_Skye » Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:30 pm

Thusnelda wrote:
Violet, did you read what I mentioned above about what you said? The words "nigger" or "nigra" (as I read in some book or other when I was in school) and "Negro" were perfectly acceptable in a clinical or literary setting for many years, but they're not appropriate to just toss around these days, are they?


Yup, I read it. My point wasn't that Rahm was saying something acceptable to me or that there shouldn't have been an objection to the use of the word. My point was that language evolves over time and meanings change, connotations change. That hasn't happened yet with the word retarded, but in time and with lack of official medical usage, it will likely become approximately on the level as other such words as idiot and moron.

I don't use the term, not even to describe someone's actions, as he did. He wasn't describing a person, and he apologized publicly, and his apology was accepted. He's someone who is known for saying whatever the f he feels like saying.

And btw, my sister has Downs.
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Re: Rahm Emmanuel "F*cking Retarded"

Postby dave esmond » Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:35 pm

Thusnelda wrote:"Idiot" is a tough one, because that's REALLY gotten ingrained into our language over the last few hundred years, but I try not to use that either. Same with "lame" and "dumb" -- both of which are out of clinical use. Again, it's hard sometimes, but why should I shrink back from thinking a little more about what I say and how I say it?


Since Jeff thinks I'm a douche let me ask you.

He thinks moron and idiot don't have the same connotation as retard. You think they do, and when I think about I'd agree with you.

The problem comes when they are used to compare someone to an individual with developmental disabilities it seems. As I see it it's the comparison that's offensive to many folks. I get that.

But maybe I'm still wrong. What is the connotation you see?

Is there any word you do use to demean someones metal abilities, in frankly what is supposed to be a kinda offensive manner? Or should we just avoid going down that road all together? I admit up front that's getting to a PC area I'm not sure I agree with. But I'm willing to hear folks out.

This is a tough one as it's almost impossible to even have this conversation without offending someone it seems.

Thanks.
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Re: Rahm Emmanuel "F*cking Retarded"

Postby boston_jeff » Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:49 pm

Your metal abilities are sorely lacking dude.
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