In GP comments, we’ve seen the occasional mini-kerfuffle over someone’s references to the mentally handicapped: whether they were hurtful, or whether the critics (those claiming hurt) were just playing mind games, etc.
In that light, it’s interesting to note that beloved lefties Bill Maher, Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters all agree that it’s perfectly OK for a comedian to mock Sarah Palin’s Down Syndrome child as “retarded”:
Maher mocked Palin’s special needs son by referring to him as “retarded” during a June 8 Las Vegas show…
Walters, who grew up with a special needs sister, said on June 17 on The View that she did not think Maher was “mean-spirited” when he referred to Palin’s son as “retarded.” Walters speculated that Maher did not know the word could be hurtful…even Walters’s in-studio audience was not buying this defense and was left silent…
Goldberg lamely tried to assist Walters, saying “we, society took the word ‘retarded’ and made it into something derogatory…When I was a kid, it wasn’t derogatory…” Video here.
I regret that I couldn’t find the exact original quote of Maher’s, but Walters and Goldberg clearly wanted to speak out in Maher’s favor: the camera flashed to an old family photo of Walters’ as she spoke, which means that Walters’ remarks were planned.
So, what’s the official standard? Is it still baaaaad to refer to anybody (whether mentally challenged or not) as “retarded” – with an exception for Republicans perhaps, or Sarah Palin’s children? On what grounds?
Lefties, please don’t try to say “Oh who cares, it’s only Bill Maher” – because it isn’t, now: it’s also Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters.