It’s been in the news lately; I’m sure you’ve already heard the noise. They object to use of the word “retard” in the film. They are picketing and calling for boycott.
As I understand it, the movie is not mocking people with developmental disabilities. It is satirizing actors who take-on heavy-handed and morally exhaustive roles to win awards.
In this crazy world of ours, the potential for hurt feelings — or insult added to self-perceived injury — is ever-present. You simply cannot please all of the people all of the time. It’s ludicrous to be expected to try.
Prior to filming, the producers and writers of Tropic Thunder apparently consulted with numerous organizations about the script, in a pre-emptive attempt at appeasement. That offends me more than anything else.
I hate it when artists are so afraid of their own work that they held meetings in advance; Did Picasso hold focus groups – “So, this painting of a woman fellating a horse…is it too much?” I very nearly bought this actual painting because it was original, signed and cheap; but I didn’t know where I could hang it.
See what I did there? I exercised my discretion and freedom as a consumer. I didn’t buy the painting, but that doesn’t mean Pablo Picasso never should have painted it.
If artists pull their punches, it’s not art. It becomes Hallmark kitsch, Trisha Romance and collector’s plates from the Franklin Mint.
Art breathes, inspires and provokes.
It overthrows empires and topples civilizations.
Don’t tell me movies and television aren’t art; it is storytelling with pictures — and we’ve done it since we hunted the mastodon — then we came out of the cave and told stories around the fire.
“Tropic Thunder” has been critically-acclaimed and nobody seems to be anything but charmed by Robert Downey Jr’s blackface; which I’ll admit, dropped my jaw.
I feel sorry for people who miss the point of parody and satire.
But let us not pretend, for a moment longer than necessary, that I’m writing about some movie.
So, here we go…
Once again, inspired by my affection for free and democratic societies, I have a few questions for the malingering hordes of whining pansies who must be soothed, assuaged and protected by their governments and/or movie studios (Ok let’s pretend for one more second that this is about a movie.)
By-the-by, I’m not limiting myself to the President of the Special Olympics; I’m also talking about Christians who have a fit when someone dares to ask questions or cracks a joke about Jesus. Frankly, I have it on good authority that Jesus totally gets my jokes.
I’m speaking to everyone who believes that words with four letters are more powerful than ones with three, five — or seven.
Since when do you have the right to insist that your feelings never get hurt?
Since when do you have the right to demand everyone respect your God?
And SINCE WHEN do you have the right to decide what ideas DO and DO NOT enter the public spectrum?
Here’s the thing….“FREE SPEECH” as it currently stands, is only “FREE” if nobody gets upset about it. In a truly free society, you cannot demand that your government protect your feelings.
Of course, under current conditions you can and do demand that the government protect your feelings — and they actually do it. But it’s WRONG! You can and should demand that your government protect your RIGHTS. There is a huge difference.
How does the government protect your rights?
By guaranteeing that everyone and their ideas, good or bad are given equal expression, free from censorship, influence or restriction of any kind — Period.
The only way to ensure that YOU have the opportunity to speak freely, is to also ensure that the people who disagree with you also have that opportunity…even the ugly stuff.
Ideas shouldn’t be pasteurized, nurtured or coddled.
History will prove that only the strong survive.
Forget the “Marketplace of Ideas”…Fling those doors wide open and make it the “Ideas Ultimate Fighting Octagon of Death”…
Forget the rules.
Let’s have a cage-fight.
Throw the ideas into the ring and let them publicly wail on each other until the weakest ones DIE.
Censorship and hate speech laws don’t protect GOOD IDEAS…they protect BAD ONES. They keep them alive and push them underground. When brought under the full force of public scrutiny and debate, bad ideas do not thrive
or survive over the long term. Some last longer than others, but bad ideas do ultimately fall to the wayside.
For example, they stopped making asbestos, hydrogen airships and spray-on hair. In addition, prohibition, eight-track tapes and New Coke all died the way they needed to.
Admittedly, some ideas are harder to kill than others.
But today, with our phenomenal power to access and share ideas and information — but for those bad ideas receiving respite from the people who commit censorship (you heard me) — many would never survive today like they did in ignorant premature civilizations.
If someone is engaging in HATE SPEECH, you don’t silence them. You don’t tell them to shut-up.
You say, “COME HERE AND SAY THAT”
You say, “BRING IT ON”
It comes down to RIGHTS…
The only way we can be positive that rights are protected, any rights, is if these rights are applied equally to everyone across any situation.
What if the day comes when THEY (whatever those bad ideas you don’t agree with are) are the accepted social mores and YOU are the one not permitted to speak-out and say, “hey, I disagree”…
What if one day, YOU are the person being detained by the government without access to a judge or a lawyer or charges pressed against you…?
Fuck Rumsfeld. It’s not us against them.
You think it’s OK to eradicate rights because it’s happening to THEM and THEY must deserve it???….But, if it can be done to THEM…It can be done to YOU.
WE ARE THEM.
Justice that is not applied equally to all …let me emphasize that…TO ALL — even people who scare you — even people you don’t agree with — and YES goddamnit….even people who want to KILL YOU….is not justice.
If 8 out of 10 actors and recording artists get to thank Jesus for their award, why isn’t Kathy Griffin allowed to NOT thank him for hers? If that offends you, then I suggest you don’t invite her to your next dinner party. But, she’s welcome at mine.
Could you imagine the OUTRAGE that would ensue if an artist thanked Allah or Zeus for their Grammy Award?
Well…sure….because we live in a country that protects our right to FREEDOM of religion.
You are FREE to be a CHRISTIAN.
Thank Zeus for that!
So, you’ve discovered that there’s a script in development that uses a word or expresses an idea that you find objectionable…Don’t go over my head to the movie studio to prevent me from hearing the word or that idea…
How dare you PROTECT ME? I’m a big girl and I’ll buy any shocking Picasso painting I choose — thank you very much.
I already know that it’s wrong to bully people with intellectual disabilities…hearing the word “retard” in Tropic Thunder won’t change that.
And the ignorant bullies out there who do these sorts of things don’t need or seek permission from Ben Stiller or anybody else.
Trust that the public has the ability to discern for themselves.
Go ahead and embrace your outrage – but your premise is ridiculous.
Write your articles — go on the news — have your protests –
state your case — express your outrage — push YOUR idea…even your bad ones.
You have every RIGHT.
I think it’s called FREE SPEECH;
But I could be wrong.