The genesis of this post began years ago, when an argument on the radio raged over the pejorative use of the word "gay". One caller suggested that instead of saying "something was gay" people should instead that "something is lame." This struck me as being rather ill conceived, considering that people who are "lame" are suffering from a defective limb.
I was then again spurred on to write this after reading a blog post over at Big Mental Disease about Michael Noonan "hiding the retard" [Enda Kenny]. "Mike" commented that the use of the word was an insult to the disabled, to which I replied....
"Regarding the word “retard”, I didn’t want to sound like a grammar spastic by explaining it but since Enda came on to comment here himself, I might as well give it a lash.
A quick Google defines retardation to be something which “causes to move more slowly or operate at a slower rate”. With the way Enda Kenny is stalling on the debating debacle, hiding away in a closet all the time and avoiding general PR, I think one could call his behavior quite “retarded” in terms of speaking out in public.
Now, lets look at “retard” as a derogatory term. We don’t like using words like retard and spastic because they are old fashioned terms for physical and mental deformities and hold a certain taboo status. And yet we quite often use the word lame (someone with a crippled limb) without giving it a second thought. One of my favorite words, cretin, would hardly raise an eyebrow with the PC brigade but if we trace back to it’s origins we find that cretinism is a condition of severe stunted mental and physical growth due to deficiencies in thyroid hormones. It really makes one think! Unless you’re a cretin of course.
Finally, to complain about the use of the word retard on a blog called Big Mental Disease is in itself, ever so slightly lame."I have compiled a short list of words and (Google) definitions that are in the same vein but offer varying amounts of offence:
Verb: Delay or hold back in terms of progress, development, or accomplishment.
Noun: A mentally handicapped person (often used as a general term of abuse). More »
Adjective: Relating to or affected by muscle spasm.
Noun: A person suffering from cerebral palsy. More »
1. A stupid person.
2. A mentally handicapped person. More »
Verb: Make (a person or animal) lame.
Adjective: (of a person or animal) Unable to walk normally because of an injury or illness affecting the leg or foot: "his horse went lame". More »
Moron "is a term once used in psychology to denote mild mental retardation" [wiki]
So the next time you feel like getting spastic over the word retard, don't be a cretin, and get all lame, because that would be gay.
Next week: "Why your wife should be pleased that you call her a cunt."