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Friday, August 08, 2008

Boycott Tropic Thunder...

I just can't believe that I have to blog yet again about the "R" word.

Here we have yet another production of a movie which markets as "fun", "hilarious", a movie that uses the word Retard so much that T-shirts are being made. "Tropic Thunder" ( I won't even give the film a link) is a new film by Dreamworks and stars Ben Stiller that is due for release on August 13th. The film includes satire about people with intellectual disabilities. Please. I don't even want to mention the details, as they are all here. Screenings of the film for disability rights advocates that have held meetings with Dreamworks, that were negotiated in meetings, have now been postponed.

And yes Spielberg, you are duplicitous. But yet, some say (and again I won't give the link...but its out there) that all of the inappropriate moments are merely devices used to drive the overall tone of the film — that actors are all assholes who would overstep the bounds of stereotypes to win an award and make an extra buck. I agree, just as production companies are all assholes who do the same. gotcha.

If you would like to reach anyone of the people at DreamWorks, Paramount/Vantage or Ben Stiller with your concerns, the info is here:

100 Universal City Plaza, Bldg. 5121, Universal City, CA 91608

5555 Melrose Ave., Ball/Lasky Bldgs., Los Angeles, CA 90038

Ben Stiller, Writer/Director/Producer
Read Hour Films, 629 N. La Brea, Los Angeles, CA 90036

My suggestion? Boycott. Just don't go to see Tropic Thunder and pass it on. Talk about it with your adult friends, as the movie is R rated. Hopefully the kids won't see it, but it doesn't matter. Education starts with the parents and we all know parents that still use the "R" word.

I know the masses, those that have no self-esteem, those that need SOMEONE to blame and plunder and to have a cheap laugh will go to this movie. I just hope its not you.

oh, and on the merchandise? Here is a little input from our friend Linda. You go girl.

It goes without saying that we should rally together and boycott "Tropic Thunder," and any sort of merchandising of "Simple Jack."
We, as parents of children with disabilities, should feel enough rage that we agree to calmly approach any of these such (Full Re****) t-shirt wearers and simply say something like, "My child has Down syndrome, a form of mental retardation, and I am sad that you would find your shirt humorous." And walk away.
I'm from Small Town, Indiana. I am not afraid to approach anyone and perhaps my naivete puts me in danger of approaching the wrong person. If you read that I've been mortally wounded by a punk wearing this shirt, rally a cause that brings light to the situation and tell people I equated the R word with the N word. I've survived cancer and long ago accepted that death is a part of life. I also know I would give my life for my daughter so approaching a stranger to tell them that their shirt makes me sad will be a piece of cake.
Please don't send me emails or advice to NOT approach strangers. I am not stupid. I will not confront them in a dark alley or if they're wielding bayonets. But I will NOT stand by and let them pass by quietly.
To paraphrase Audre Lorde: Your silence will not protect you, nor will it protect anyone else.

Please pass it on.


CharmingDriver said...

Thanks for the heads up, little momma. Will spread the word far and wide.

AZ Chapman said...

I am going to talk to my family and hopefully we will not attend movies this week.

Tammy and Parker said...

I plan on telling this same story on

Laura said...

Bunch of f%ck#rs! They suck! I am so hating this movie!

Hey, how did the spay/neuter thing go today? ;) Please....don't send pictures.

Miss you guys! Smoooch!!!!

Beth said...

I wrote about this too.

simplejack said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Liz Ditz said...

It is time to take the "r" word out of circulation.

I've written a blog post, Words Hurt: The "r" Word, on Wanda and Rick Felty's campaign to "Ban the R Word", and Jenna Glatzer's pledge campaign, as well as the "Tropic Thunder" controversy. I've included a link to your blog.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great post. I hadn't heard of this movie (I don't have tv). As a result of your post, I went out and saw the movie. It was great! Very funny. Thanks again for bringing this to my attention.

Jan Steck Huffman said...

You are welcome Anon. I am sure there are many T-shirts out there you will be purchasing and slanderous words to be said. What ever floats your boat. Too sad.

Anonymous said...

The cure for ignorance and prejudice is information. People can educate themselves about autism by listening to the free Midnight In Chicago audio podcasts at By understanding what autism is and how it works, they will be less likely to call people with autism "retards" and be more likely to respect them.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect Tropic Thunder does not make fun of the mentally disabled, it makes fun of self-important Hollywood types who create exaggerated mentally disabled characters for use as Oscar bait. It satirizes how Hollywood condescends and reinforces stereotypes with so-called positive portrayals of the mentally challenged.

It's a satire ripping on the way Hollywood uses and perpetuates stereotypes. The fact that some characters use the R word is to clearly demonstrate their ignorance and insensitivity to the issue they pat themselves on the back for.

Context is everything and I'm afraid I'll have to agree to disagree that the movie is offensive.

As a side-note one of the major organizers of the boycott of this movie is Tim Shriver of the Special Olympics Committee. He is also interestingly the Executive Producer of the movie 'The Ringer' about a man pretending to have special needs so he can compete unfairly in the Special Olympics. Taken out of context that movie could be deemed just as offensive yet was endorsed by the Special Olympics themselves.

Jan Steck Huffman said...

Anonymous and others that think we are just “not getting it”, that its “just satire”

read this. Maybe you will understand from a person that has mental retardation.. Maybe, just maybe, then you will get why the word “retard” when used over and over in a movie even “if” just to show how shallow actors are in Hollywood. Maybe you will see why the marketing then flows from this movie, and hurts others. Maybe.

So, what's wrong with "retard"? I can only tell you what it means to me and people like me when we hear it. It means that the rest of you are excluding us from your group. We are something that is not like you and something that none of you would ever want to be. We are something outside the "in" group. We are someone that is not your kind. I want you to know that it hurts to be left out here -- alone. Nothing scares me as much as feeling all alone in a world that moves so much faster than I do.
You don't mean to make me feel that way. In fact, like I say in some of my speeches, "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers," and it works out OK most of the time. Still, it hurts and scares me when I am the only person with intellectual disabilities on the bus and young people start making "retard" jokes or references. Please put yourself on that bus and fill the bus with people who are different from you. Imagine that they start making jokes using a term that describes you. It hurts and it is scary.
Last, I get the joke -- the irony -- that only dumb and shallow people are using a term that means dumb and shallow. The problem is, it is only funny if you think a "retard" is someone dumb and shallow. I am not those things, but every time the term is used it tells young people that it is OK to think of me that way and to keep me on the outside.
That is why using "retard" is a big deal to people like me.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I understand that watching this movie might offend some people. I personally thought it was funny. Here's a suggestion for those of you that find it offensive. Don't watch it. You don't have to try and stop everyone from watching it. Does it offend you if someone watches it? Everytime the movie is played to your "inappropriate humor" senses tingle? This is ridiculous. I do not watch movies I think I would find offensive but why should I care if others enjoy it? People are different. We all have different culture, personalities and etnicity. I don't see how it can offend you for someone to view something you would not view.
Just my two cents.


As for the t-shirt thing, I can understand your feelings.

Jan Steck Huffman said...

anon #3 or more...

Its not that the movie just "offends" me. I don't understand how people aren't getting it.

Ok, if you were black, would you want everyone to be using the word NIGGER all the time around you? We are doing the same for the word Retard.

We want to eliminate the word “retard” from everyday language, as well as in film and music. We view the R-word as derogatory hate speech that further perpetuates negative stereotypes and dehumanizes people with intellectual disability.

"Tropic Thunder" repeatedly uses the R-word and portrays people with intellectual disabilities in a derogatory and demeaning way.

Go see it if you want. Just don't use the Rword or buy a t-shirt. And educate the children, teens and friends that do use the word "Retard" and "That's so retarded".