Dear Ms Gutterman, the following is in response to your Huffington Post article What I'm Actually Giving Up For Lent, about your participation in the campaign to stamp out "the R-word." I originally posted it as a Reader's Comment under your article, but it occurred to me that I might want to save it and publish it here, rather than wait and see whether it was going to pass through HP's moderation. In my original Reader's Comment I wrote "the R-word" rather than "retarded," but this is my house, and here people can say what they actually mean, so I revised my comment:
I'm against PC restrictions on speech. I'm sometimes called retarded, and it doesn't make me fall to pieces. Technically it's incorrect to call me retarded, because I'm a high-functioning autistic with a high IQ, but to some people, I seem retarded, and that's not going to change by tabooing the word. Will it soon be taboo for people to say "autistic," will we be pressured to say "the A-word" instead? It's ridiculous. You can use each and every un-PC word on a regular basis and still be a loving, nurturing person, and you can avoid them all and still be quite hateful. If you rub shoulders with celebrity supporters of causes like the Special Olympics, you might have occasion to talk to the Farrelly brothers, who agree with me on this subject. I suspect you might not want to talk to them because of that. I hope I'm wrong, that you're not that closed-minded. You wrote: "The Medievals [sic!] were right in that words have magical power in a way that is both social and scientific." No, medieval people were completely wrong about that. That's an utterly ridiculous thing to believe. The truth is closer to the opposite: words have MORE power to hurt when we taboo them. Not less. As always in discussions about things like this, I urge you to watch Bob Fosse's movie Lenny.People who watch that movie with an open mind might learn things about the benefits of free expression and the hateful ugliness of censorship.