Sunday, October 05, 2008

The New Retard

Once upon a time, people called each other “retards” or “retarded”. Only a decade ago it was not uncommon for people to tell retard jokes during Thanksgiving dinner or after staff meetings. Today, saying retard has become a social faux pas, to the point of being protested and rallied against. What happened to retard, and should we all make an urgent effort to ban this word from our vocabulary?

The flipside of the retard backlash is that this word has mutated into words used in common conversations. For example:


Those derivatives of retard are used on the Internet, Twitter and during coffee breaks at work. By transforming the word, is the re softened and the tard embraced?

Google, a reliable search engine, lists 962,000 results if one looks for “retard jokes”. Having sampled some of those sites personally, I discovered a pool of substandard humor interrupted by social activists, parents of mentally challenged children and actual retards who find this term insulting. Retard jokes are not what they used to be.

What do you think? You will advance to the bonus round if you misspell retard in capital letters as RTEARD, RETRDA or RATERD.

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Your friend, Rusty said...

Is 'tard still okey-dokey?

Anonymous said...

I have an issue with people who don't want their kids called what they are. I saw a woman have a fit once because someone made a joke about how she (the person making the joke) looked like an epileptic having a seizure when she ran. The woman went on and on about how her child was an epileptic and how rude that comment was. Whatever happened to not taking everything so personally, people?

GOPnot4me said...

I react to the term viscerally due to the taunts of classmates directed at my late, little sister many years back. Kathy had mental retardation, cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Her 'differentness' scared the neighborhood kids and they acted as children do. And it was always fodder for the neighborhood bullies. So please understand, for some of us it is a very loaded term.