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California Senate Bans the Word 'Retarded'

A bill that just passed the California State Senate would rid our medical vocabulary of the "R-word" -- on the grounds that it is "offensive and outdated."

The State Senate, which is nothing if not retarded, approved the R-word ban unanimously this morning. For once, Democrats and Republicans could agree:

"Intellectually disabled" is a much prettier, more PC term for the diagnosis known up to this point as "mentally retarded."

Declareth the author, Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), in her press release:

"The use of the 'R-word' is profoundly hurtful to many people with intellectual disabilities and to their families. As others have become accustomed to casually using the 'R-word' as a joke or to demean someone, those words have shaped the perception and self-worth of people who suffer with intellectual disabilities."

Next thing you know, they'll ban the word "gay" because douchebags like to use it as a synonym for "lame." (No offense, of course, to the vagina-cleansers of the world.)

From the senate's analysis of SB 1381:

Existing law refers to "mental retardation" or "a mentally retarded person" in numerous state statutory provisions, including provisions relating to psychiatric technician regulation, the state's unfair competition statute, educational and social services, commitment to state facilities, and criminal punishment.

This bill:

1. Deletes references to mental retardation or a mentally retarded person and instead replaces them with "intellectual disability" or "a person with an intellectual disability."

Funny thing -- or not so funny, for retarded people -- is that now the casual, derogatory use of the word "retarded," which will forever be tied to mental disability, like it or not, has just taken on more legitimacy, as it will no longer be used in an official capacity.

Bullies and tween boys and crass bloggers of the world, rejoice: "Retarded" is now free to mean exactly what you always wanted it to mean!

Personally, this is a big day for us, because we happen to love the word retarded. You know, in a literary sense. Those three bold syllables, allowing the perfect drop of emphasis -- retarrrded -- to sound out the utter numbskullery to which we refer. It is the verbal equivalent of scratching an itch, or punching the target of our outrage in the face. Red-light camera tickets? ReTARDed. No trash can on this entire block? RETARDATION. The guy trying to merge in the last 100 feet before the off-ramp? Reeeeeetard.

This so calls for some South Park.

[@simone_electra / swilson@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]


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