>Maureen McCormick won’t be seeing Tropic Thunder because she doesn’t like the plotline involving an actor’s bid for an Oscar by playing “Simple Jack,” a–as Tropic Thunder calls it–”retard.”:
I want to add my two cents to the opinions on whether it’s offensive to the mentally challenged. I know Ben Stiller has said that he’s making fun of actors, not people with disabilities. Still, the movie is geared toward a younger crowd and I fear a lot of those teenagers and college students will leave the theater thinking “retard” is an okay word to use.
Where to start? First, go see the movie if you want to have an opinion of it. Second, don’t patronize “the younger crowd” (sounds like something Alice would say!) by assuming that they view movies as life manuals. Were big sisters the world over corrupted by how mean you could be to Jan? The assumption that “they” won’t “get it” underestimates young people, prompts an impulse to control what they see/hear/read, and infantilizes the rest of us. It’s a power trip.
The controversy about this movie reminds me of the worst-titled children’s book ever, Someone Called Me a Retard Today . . . and My Heart Felt Sad. While it’s difficult to argue with the book’s theme–name-calling is hurtful–it missed the point that “retard” is an insult thrown around promiscuously, so much so that the term “mentally retarded” is no longer used to describe those individuals who actually have mental disabilities, a point excellently made by YouTube’s Retarded Policeman and his brother.