Thursday, August 19, 2010

Open Letter to Ms. Aniston

Dear Ms. Aniston,

I understand you live in an alternate universe. I understand that inside that universe, there are only repercussions for things such as: using the N word, using the 3 letter F word to describe homosexuals, and being conservative. But I don't live in that bubble of yours. And outside of Hollywood? Here in the real world where we commoners live? Many of us don't appreciate your flippant use of the word retard. I was struck by how effortlessly it flowed from your mouth as you playfully bantered with your buddy Regis.

You may feel I'm being overly sensitive. Do you feel African-Americans are overly sensitive when they object to the N word? Do you feel homosexuals are overly sensitive when they object to derogatory terms used to describe them? I venture to say you would never consider letting n***** or f** slip from your botoxed lips. I'm guessing those words horrify you (as they should!). How about spic, jap, or chink? Again, horrifying! I'm guessing you would stand in line with all of your do-gooding, Hollywood pals to rip apart anyone who uses such language. But retard? Well, who really cares about the retards, right? Because you didn't mean anything by it, right? You were just joking around during an interview, right? I should lighten up, right? My deceased daughter, Victoria, would have been what you consider "a retard". So, no thank you Ms. Aniston, I will not lighten up. What I hope for is free speech coupled with common sense and compassion.

I value the freedom of speech we are afforded in this country. Do I want all of our words monitored, picked apart, placed under a microscope? Of course I don't! And that's not what I'm doing to your words. No picking apart, and I wasn't monitoring you. Simply had the tv on and heard you very clearly throw out "retard". I'm not sure why you would use such a term. Maybe because you are insensitive, callous, maybe you just haven't ever cared enough to consider that using the term "retard" could cause others pain? Possibly the word flowed freely because you don't think there will be repercussions. No powerful groups like the NAACP, GLAAD, or La Raza are going to come after you. This won't be splashed all over the news. Or, maybe it will be? If it is, you know you can simply issue an apology through your publicist. You'll visit a few special education classrooms. You'll flash that smile of yours and once again, all will be well in your alternate universe. I'm not buying it.

Before too long, you and your Hollywood people will decide you can make a "cause" out of this, you and your celebrity cronies will somehow find a way to make the free speech/compassion combo beneficial to you. Maybe you'll all come together for a prime-time special on tv, you'll take turns answering phones and prancing around on stage. You can share your stories of how you once used hurtful words, but now see the error of your ways. Maybe you could invite Mel Gibson and John Mayer. Maybe even the President...he did have that little slip up when referring to his bowling skills as being on the level of the Special Olympics. Fans will send in money for your cause. Some may even fall at the feet of Hollywood, praising you for saving the world from the ills of hurtful language. But there are thousands of us who have never, will never, fall at the feet of Hollywood. Shocking, isn't it? The fact that not everyone is enamored and awed by celebrities. The fact that there are people out here who already reject derogatory, ignorant speech...and we didn't even need a celebrity to enlighten us.

There are countless numbers here in the real world who already understand words can hurt. We know it isn't all that difficult to think before speaking, to rid our mouths and even minds of derogatory words. Words that pack punches so hard they can knock grown adults to their knees. We are capable of enjoying free speech, and adding compassion to that freedom. When you and those living in your alternate universe decide to preach on this topic, just know we won't be listening. We're way ahead of you on this one. We're way ahead of you on most things.

In the mean time, Ms. Aniston, you might want to check this out:
You could probably learn a lot.


Kiera said...

Well said.

Sue said...

Ms. Aniston is not high on my list lately. I wasn't too fond about what she said vis a vis not needing men to have babies, either.

What's wrong with these people?


PS. LOVE to see your name come up on my google reader.

Jess said...

I love that scripture that says that even though the tongue is the littlest member of the body it can do the most hurt- it's true!

On a snarkier note you need to watch Get Smart- it totally reminded me of this- there's a line in it that makes me laugh every time
"ohh too bad you'll blow up all of the movie stars"
"Yes, we'll truly miss their insightful political opinions"

Hope it brightens your day!

KC Mom said...

Oh crap. I guess I better watch my mouth too!

At least I'm not a celebrity so no one listens to me anyway! :)

You're right, by the way. (hugs)

jen said...

SOOO glad you posted today. My blog roll crashed and I lost everything. It's been so slow piecing it all back together.
That being said, I've missed your snarky self! You were on my mind yesterday as I was out biking and I decided I'd email you when I got home. But when I got home all heck was blasting loose, and then I forgot.
Sorry. I'd love to hear how you're doing.
And if you get a chance, I've got a giveaway on my blog until tonight. Can't everyone use $40 to Target?
Miss you, Sister!

Karen said...

And she is BACK!! In Spades! I took this challenge last year when you spoke up up about this subject and I agree whole heartedly.

Good to have you back!

Hope all is well with the hubby and pray he is safe and ya'll are doing well.

Hugs to you.

Barbara said...

"Free speech coupled with common sense and compassion."

Absolutely. Perfectly put.

Love you

SnarkyMama said...

Oh yeah...she's baaaaaaaaaack and better than ever! Long live Snarky, the world was way to "common" without her!

And yes,the "great minds" do think alike...

Loving you still....

Hi Snarkettes...been missing you, as well!

Em said...

When I was in college my class on exceptionalities addresses using the word "retard." I hadn't realized before that class how offensive it was bc I had heard it so often used as a filler word like "like." it sounds like a swear word to me now. Well said my friend, well said.

Kari said...

I think you can appreciate why I totally hate the way people so flippantly use the word, retard. The word in and of itself is not offensive; it's our society's inability and blatant refusal to feel, show or even comprehend how hurtful and derogatory of an expression it can be when used in such a nonchalant way.

Cherie said...

Very Very well written/said!
I get so tired of the Hollywood crowd saying whatever the crud they feel like it without repercussions!
So sorry about your daughter.
I am new to your blog and your newest follower!
I like it here already!!

Have a wonderful evening.

Cherie :-D

Midwest Mommy said...

I have to say I was quite shocked when I read about this in the news. Not cool, not cool at all.

Margaret Christine said...

So very true. Jennifer pretty much rose near the top of my s-list during that. In school, that word is used waaaaay too often. Fortunently, my friends--all of them, every time--will correct anyone who lets that one slip. Its a truly awful word. For the little effort it takes for it to fly off the tongue, it sure does hurt a lot, doesn't it?

Ash said...

That word. Oh that word.

By the grace of God and medical intervention, my PKU son will reach his full potential. Most children of my generation were not so lucky. Mental retardation was the only outcome.

I worry about the day when the school bully fully comprehends that.

I'm all for free speech, as long as the speaker understands that I may exercise my right to think less of the person who can't come up with a better description of something they think is stupid.