Something Worth Standing For

There’s a new movie coming out.  Tropic Thunder boasts some powerhouse comedic stars who you’ll do doubt recognize.  Jack Black, Ben Stiller, and Robert Downey Jr. are the big moneymakers in this one.  The folks at DreamWorks are banking that we, the American public, will be so drawn by this threesome that we’ll flock to theaters and gladly fork over 10 bucks or so for a couple hours of entertainment.

What they’ve neglected to tell us though, in all of their million dollar advertisements, and promotions and movie hype, is that some of the language in this “film” will most definitely be very hurtful to a large percentage of the population.

Do you remember the movie Napoleon Dynamite?  I do, though I’d like very much to forget it, not because it was offensive, but because it was dumb.  One of the reasons I remember it though is because for months after that movie was first made popular, I saw t-shirts for sale that had phrases like “Vote for Pedro,” and “Ligers Rock,” emblazoned across the front of them.  That’s the beauty of marketing I suppose: when done right, it sends an unforgettable message to consumers.

You can imagine then, how completely repulsed I am by the fact that t-shirts are being made to help spread one of the messages Tropic Thunder endorses.  One day soon you too might see someone walking around with a shirt that says “Full Retard” in bold letters.

Because, haven’t you heard?  It’s funny to disparage those with intellectual disabilities.

Or not.

When my daughter was born it was bad enough that I had to worry about the looming possibility of open-heart surgery, leukemia, and countless other potential medical disasters.  What made the situation worse though was the ignorant and hurtful comments from people I trusted.  People in the medical community who took an oath never to do harm, though harm is exactly what they did when they called my sweet baby girl a “Downsie” and hinted that I should consider adoption.

It wasn’t until I researched her condition on my own that I came to a know a wealth of stories, all heartwarming and truly inspirational, that featured an intellectually disabled person playing a starring role.

Throughout history these people we’ve come to know as “special” have been discriminated against in more ways than we’ll probably ever know. 

I think it’s time that we put a stop to that right now.

Please stand with me, with my family, and with my daughter as we demand dignity and respect for people all over the world who were born into bodies with limitations.  People who struggle to accomplish tasks that might seem commonplace to you and I.  People with feelings and souls who deserve far more than the hateful labels this movie has given them.

Please don’t spend your money to patronize a movie that ridicules my daughter, and others like her. 

There is a country song lyric that says it in a way better than I: You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.

Join me in standing up for people like Cassidy.  Your stand won’t soon be forgotten.

26 Replies to “Something Worth Standing For”

  1. OK, so I just have to say how amazing my wife is! In case all of you didn’t know. I can’t begin to tell you all just how lucky I am!

  2. Did you see the 5 Minutes for Mom website today…they have a link to a free petition boycotting the movie? Here’s the link

    I signed it. They will send you a email with something you can forward to all your friends to sign as well.

    I didn’t plan on watching the movie in the first place, now knowing more about it, i’m sure I will not. Some things aren’t worth the laugh.

  3. I had not yet heard of this movie. Sadly, some companies keep lowering the bar they use for measuring what is and isn’t acceptable for public release. What’s worse than that is the large number of people willing to line up and pay money to see these despicable movies—if more people took a stand against the garbage and refused to give the companies the cash, the companies would notice. I hope the movie flops at the box office. I am already standing with you. I want the bar raised!

  4. count me in too. I always feel like an outsider in the fact that i’m not a fan of Jack Black or Ben Stiller and a whole lot of other comics out there. They do too many movies that belittle people and their differences, we just don’t often notice tell it hits close to home.
    Great job taking a stand!

  5. Darcie, I remember the day I slipped up and said the word “retarded” about something. Although I don’t remember what the “something” was, I do remember your words of dismay with me. And yes, I felt very bad. Although I felt bad, I realized that I had only said that word oooohhhh a million times growing up and never had I linked it with someone who was special needs. In other words, that “R” word had come to mean something else entirely to me, just as us “80’s” children had turned “bad” into cool, and the 90’s kids turned PHAT into ooooh I don’t know what that means really. To me that was just a slang word, commonly used and without much thought.

    Not that I’m defending this movie, by any means, I’m not the slightest bit interested in seeing it. It’s just that I never told you how I felt about the moment I mispoke that word in front of you. Humiliated, yes.

    As for the doctors who may have hinted at adoption. They just had no idea what a strong, loving mom they were dealing with. Young, yes…. weak, not so much.
    xoxo my brilliant cousin

  6. First off…Jeff’s comment rocks. :) Got to love a man that is proud of his wife and doesn’t mind telling the world!

    I knew nothing about this movie before today, aside from the previews that I’ve seen. So thank you so much for enlightening me. It is beyond me how anyone could think this kind of “humor” is acceptable. Standing with you, sister.

  7. I’ve been a lurker on your blog for some time – hope you don’t mind. I love to read your stories, but have never been much of a commentor (is that a word?) :)

    Today I felt that I needed to. Your post brought me to tears and I have a lump in my throat as I type this. I stand behind you and will not see this movie and will encourage my friends to avoid it as well. It sickens me to think people would wear a shirt like that. The lyric you quoted is perfect!!

    I don’t know you but you sound like an amazing mom and that’s why God brought you the gift of your precious daughter. I pray she will never have to experience the kind of ignorance that people in this country show for anyone who is “different” – regardless of what that difference is.

    God bless you!

  8. I am definitely with you, and I cringe every time someone mentions that they can’t wait for this movie. I absolutely hate it when people toss around the r-word like it’s slang. Halfway through the school year, my students know they’re going to get LESS of a rise out of me if they drop the f-bomb than if they call someone retarded. And as much as I feel like I’m fighting an uphill battle with them sometimes, it’s important. I’m frustrated at how much this movie is going to undo that, because now I’ll have to hear, “But it’s from ‘Tropic Thunder’!”

  9. I heard about this on TV the other night. Sad.

    I agree with Jaime, though, that most people do not even stop to think about what they are saying or what it means. If they did I don’t think most people woud say that. They’ve just never had a personal experience that showed them how cruel it is. Kudos to you for pointing it out.

    Not that we ever go to the movies anyway, but don’t worry – this is not on our list.

  10. Fabulous post. When I heard about this movie I was beyond disgusted. Words can not describe how unbelievably stupid so many people were in making it. I truly hope the movie tanks and the studio learns that we do not need movies that are this insensitive to people.

  11. I too have read about this. And I’m in. I can’t stand Robert Downey Jr. anyway…..but it really irks me that they made a movie like this. I can’t imagine how you feel. It’s awful, completely awful.

  12. Hi. I’m new to your site but just wanted to say that I will support this boycott. I am so sorry that our society feels that hurting others is not only OK, it is desirable. I am off to check out your archives. Kudos to your hubby, too.

  13. I had no plans to watch this movie but now I know to avoid it. I’ve never been a fan of “anything goes” just because you attach a humor label to it. There are just some things that should never be made fun of period. I signed the petition too.

  14. De-lurking to jump and up down and cheer! My step daughter has Downs, and I COMPLETELY agree with you. She is a light to all of those around her – and a daily lesson to me. I have no patience for this kind of “humor.” We’re sticking with High School Musical! (she is a bit obsessed at the moment)

  15. I’m standing with you. Did you see a similar post by McKenna at This humor is totally inappropriate and not at all funny. I’m not spending my money on a movie that relies on cheap shots to put a fortune in the pockets of actors and studio execs.

  16. I heard about this movie on 5 minutes for mom, the special needs section. I can’t understand why anyone would think that would be acceptable, let alone funny. Can’t understand. I stand with you all the way.

  17. I’m with you girl. We wanted to see it – until I just read your post.

    So, we’re taking a stand and hitting where it hurts – the pocketbook!

    I hope this gets widespread coverage. People just aren’t going to stand for it!

  18. Amen! We are not going to see this movie and I am passing this on to everyone. One person can make a difference. Just look at all the people making a stand all because of you!

  19. As someone who dealt with “is she autistic or something?” the first six months we were home with our adopted daughter, I am standing up, applauding you.

    We will not be seeing this film. We will not give them our money.

    And please give your Cassidy a hug from all of us.

  20. You know that I support your cause. My family, who of course includes a child with limitations, support you and your efforts. I am sorry that people believe any humor that hurts someone else is considered funny.

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