"You're allowed to be humiliating, degrading and hurtful. I'm allowed to petition you to at least recognize what you say and be aware of the option you have to stop." Tim Shriver

Sunday, November 18, 2012

NASCAR and the R-Word

The past two months have been incredibly crazy.  Joey has had over 30 appointments in 60 days as well as another eye surgery. In the meantime there are some new updates to the world of the The R-Word Reporter. A huge thank you to the readers who send emails and leave comments when they hear the word used. I try to report on every incident that I receive.

The Movie "Bachelorette"

If you are thinking about renting the movie "Bachelorette" written and directed by Leslye Headland, you may want to think twice.  We watched the movie on demand and quickly regretted it.  Headland has been reported as saying she loved the movies of John Hughes and wanted to dedicate this movie to him. Unfortunately, she also overuses the R-word as it often was in the 1980's.  

In an early opening scene Isla Fisher's character, Katie makes a face at a woman's dress and Andrew Rannells' character Manny says, "No. No. She's retarded.  I mean Asperger's.  She can't control her face."

During a scene in a strip club, James Marsden's character, Trevor, is talking to a stripper (played by Melissa Stephens) says, "I'm talking to the retard, here."

Finally, about 47 minutes into the movie, Trevor says to Regan (played by Kirsten Dunst), "What you're doing with retarded kids is amazing."  She replies, "They have cancer."  He says, "Whatever."

Not only was the excessive use of the R-word incredibly disruptive and disturbing, but the movie as a whole was a major disappointment.  This is NOT "The Hangover" for women as some billed it. 

Movie: "Trouble with the Curve"

Trouble with the Curve Poster
In "Trouble with the Curve" written by Randy Brown and directed by Robert Lorenz, the young baseball player Bo Gentry (played by Joe Massingill) plays a rising high school baseball star who is treated as a demi-god by his parents, teammates and coaches.  In one scene he calls another player "retarded".

These are the latest updates in movies, but please leave a comment if you have any additional movies or shows you would like addressed.  I have received a number of comments indicating that the new version of the movie "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" is often run on television with the full dialogue piece by Mike's character that includes the R-word.  Just a head's up in case any parents want to take this particular movie off the family viewing list.

Finally, a special thanks to Mike Holden of http://mikeholden.wordpress.com who alerted me to the recent use of the R-word by NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer.  With his permission, I am including Mike's full article he wrote about the recent incident in which Bowyer said that Jeff Gorden's actions "made us all look like a bunch of retards."

Holden makes a compelling and very well-reasoned plea for NASCAR to fine Bowyer the way the NBA did when Kobe Bryant used the gay slur "faggot."

Blogging on PR, marketing, sports, the media, etc.

Posted on November 13, 2012

NASCAR is looking far from impressive for the way they’ve handled an incident that occurred over the weekend, when driver Clint Bowyer said that opponent Jeff Gordon’s actions on the track made them and their fellow racers “all look like a bunch of retards.”
After speaking with NASCAR officials about his part in a late-race crash and melee in Sunday’s AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix, Clint Bowyer was both angry and downtrodden over Jeff Gordon’s actions.
Bowyer, who still had an outside chance at winning the Sprint Cup Series championship entering the race, was taken out by Gordon in an act of blatant retaliation that set off a brawl between the teams.
Gordon’s retaliation, Bowyer said, “makes us all look like a bunch of retards.”
Bowyer apologized on Twitter for his use of the word and his message was less than fantastic:
I can’t imagine someone using unacceptable terms like “nigger,” “spic” or “faggot,” issuing an apology like that and it being found acceptable. Like the video at the bottom of this post explains (which is 100% worth taking 30 seconds to watch), “the R-word is the same as every minority slur…” and it needs to be treated that way.
Last year, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 for using the gay slur “faggot” during a game. I’m not sure why NASCAR isn’t slapping Bowyer with a similar punishment for his insult. He was fined nothing at all by NASCAR for his actions Sunday.
Whenever someone in the spotlight uses the r-word, there’s often discussion about whether it’s really an inappropriate thing to say, since long ago it was an acceptable term for the intellectually disabled. But when people use the word the way Bowyer did, they’re not expressing it as a medical concept from a bygone era or in delicate talks about the issue; they’re using it as an insult.
The n-word wasn’t always considered a derogatory term, but it’s far from appropriate today. The r-word has gone through an evolution as well and the hurt it carries should be clear to people by now, or getting extremely close to it.
In the reader comments for a Sporting News article, “Clint Bowyer ripped by NASCAR fans for using R-word in interview,” many are pointing out that we’ve become too “politically correct” and are “over-sensitive.” But what these people fail to realize is that this isn’t about them.
There’s also a comment on that article from a father saying, “Maybe people are a bit over delicate as some have said but my son, a special needs child and MWR fan was DEVASTATED beyond belief when he heard Clint say that. That’s hard to take as a parent. There is not excuse and the 140 character or less tweeted apology didn’t seem to help when I read it to my son.”
Those who see no harm in Boyer’s words need to open their eyes to the fact that there are people with special needs who are offended by the inappropriate use of the word retarded (there’s been an entire campaign built around this). Isn’t this enough for everyone to consider its inappropriate use unacceptable, the same way other slurs are not tolerated by those with any decency?
Bowyer should have issued a more serious apology that didn’t say anything about how he “was so focused on not saying the F or the A word.” And NASCAR should be sending a message that it won’t tolerate the use of slurs, just as the NBA did with Bryant.
Until NASCAR takes action, they look just as bad as Bowyer.

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