Name calling

I was recently called insensitive, arrogant, heartless, and uncaring, all in the same unsigned letter. Then I got a comment about “Retarded” wherein another intrepid reader concluded that because I use the word “retarded” I lack social intelligence, which is probably true. I’ve said before that only children miss out on early socialization that siblings suffer through, and their development in that regard may be somewhat retarded. Some of us never manage to take up the slack.

She also called me an asshole, on which accusation opinion so far varies somewhat, and then she said that she actually chose her occupation because it was “easier than putting up with jerks like you. I’m offended because you think you deserve the right to throw that word around.”

I’m sure there are myriad jobs of work that for the average Jane would be less taxing than putting up with me. I took a long time finding compassion and affection for myself, and I’m not offended when someone doesn’t like me. I feel for her.

So my reader was offended by the story she made up about how she thinks I think I “deserve the right to throw that word around.” She apparently accepts no responsibility for the thoughts in her own personal head or the way she feels when she thinks them. Instead, she blames it all on me, who has never even seen her head. I’d’ve expected her eventually to notice that bad feelings accompany certain of her thoughts and not others, but if the bad thoughts came about only because of my assholery anyway, I guess the bad feelings are also out of her control. I was tempted to allude to the possibility of thinking deliberately, but I didn’t think her likely to take advice from a jerk or an asshole, much less both, so I whipped out my legendary restraint and tried thinking kind thoughts about her. Good practice.

My reader also showed remarkable restraint. She wrote, “I’m willing to bet you’d be the first to pipe up if a white female like myself complained of being worked like a cotton picking nigger, so what gives you the right to use retarded?”

I don’t see the connection between those two clauses, but I am retarded, so I won’t sweat it. Still, the heart of this jerk swells with admiration for my reader’s nice manners and sense of decency, because a lesser person might have come right out and called me a cotton picking nigger. My gentle reader, though, resisted the temptation to resort to an archaic cliché and merely mentioned it in passing, though I suggest hyphenating cotton-picking when used as an adjective. I also feel for her because I hear picking cotton is back-breaking work.

Posted Thursday, August 12th, 2010 under offense, Uncategorized, worry.


  1. J. Webster says:

    Ha, ha, ha! I found this:

    Palin defends Limbaugh use of the word “retarded”
    Posted: February 08, 2010, 3:51 PM by Ron Nurwisah
    U.S. Politics, sarah palin

    Sarah Palin defended talk show host Rush Limbaugh after he referred to a liberal group as “retarded.”

    Palin had criticized White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel when he used the word to describe the same group. She issued a statement on her Facebook page:

    Just as we’d be appalled if any public figure of Rahm’s stature ever used the “N-word” or other such inappropriate language, Rahm’s slur on all God’s children with cognitive and developmental disabilities – and the people who love them – is unacceptable, and it’s heartbreaking.

    Of course, she took a slightly different tone when Limbaugh used the same word.

    “They are kooks, so I agree with Rush Limbaugh,” she said, when read a quote of Limbaugh calling liberal groups “retards.” “Rush Limbaugh was using satire … . I didn’t hear Rush Limbaugh calling a group of people whom he did not agree with “f-ing retards,” and we did know that Rahm Emanuel, as has been reported, did say that. There is a big difference there.”

    For the record, Emanuel apologized for his use of the term. We’re guessing that Limbaugh won’t do the same.

  2. Pelphüma says:

    You probably are a retarded asshole. Join the club, it is a big one. I find it hard to believe that your gentle reader has even seen an actual cotton plant. Not many people these days have. If I’d have been that pissed at you for writing a word I would have called you a cunt, right to your face. Cotton-picking n_gger is so 1880s. I mean, really!

    • I’m sure her sensitivity to the phrase’s being way out of fashion caused her to use it only in reference to herself, as I did with “retarded.” For all I know, she may have used it accurately.

  3. Anonymous Advocate says:

    The fact that my email stirred the pot enough for you to write another article defending the use of “retard” astounds me. I will admit, I admire your conviction.

    I recognize that you’re right, I was name calling. In my defense—and it’s not a good defense—I was pretty pissed to see someone defending the use of “retarded”.

    Again, and I can’t reiterate this enough, the word “retarded” doesn””t offend me in any way. “Mental Retardation” is still the medical diagnosis for someone with an intellectual disability. It’s the label “retarded” that””s offensive, because of all the negativity that goes in to it, hence my allusion to “nigger”. The word gets used all the time though it””s extremely dated, but if one was labelled a “nigger” then they’d be rightly offended. I used the example of referencing myself as a “cotton-picking nigger” because just like you have never been diagnosed with an intellectual disability (I’m assuming), last time I checked I wasn’t black.

    I have never met a person who has spent time with a child, adult, loved one, or complete stranger who has a intellectual or developmental disability who is okay with the label of “retard”. So again, I invite you to spend time with a disabled person, it’s really quite eye opening.

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