The PC Brigade is at it again, their target Ben Stiller’s new movie Tropic Thunder. The movie is about a group of actors who are filming a war movie on location in a combat zone and wind up being captured by guerrillas.
The cause of the controversy is Stiller’s character, Tugg Speedman, who in a bid for an Oscar did a movie called “Simple Jack” about a man who was, uh, mentally challenged. It’s tagline, “Once upon a time…there was a retard.” The producers decided to launch a companion website with clips from the ‘film within a film’ and intersperse clips throughout the movie. Though intended to be a parody of how actors portray disabilities in successful bids to win Oscars, the joke was lost on disability activists.
Patricia Bower posted on her website that activists are upset because retarded people, “share a history of segregation and exclusion, and report that what many call the “R-word” reinforces negative social attitudes just as surely as racial, ethnic, and sexually oriented slurs do.”
Peter V. Berns, director of the developmental disabilities activist group The Arc of the United States, wants to screen the movie because it is “a cause of great concern. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities have had a lot of pejorative labels assigned to them over the years. I’d like to think that we as a society are getting past that, but we are seeing one after the other examples that this is not the case.”
Personally I think this whole controversy is a case of Political Correctness gone mad. While everyone sympathizes with the plight of the disabled, people need to lighten up and take a joke. The movie is not encouraging people to run out and harass the disabled it’s parodying how for actors playing the retarded is regarded as critical acclaim. I am Sam is closer to a stereotype than this. You know going in that the character of Simple Jack is going to be an exaggeration and is not meant to portray a group as a whole. If anybody actually believes this portrayal is representative of the disabled then they probably should be sterilized.
I have ADD and the disorder has become the subject of parody. Am I offended? Not at all, it’s humor and what is humor but laughing at another’s calamities? So go see the movie, laugh for the two hours, and return to reality. But if you’re one of those who are offended, just don’t see it. But you’d be retarded not to…