Monday, August 11, 2008

I am Boycotting Tropic Thunder

Last week, while reading a few of the blogs on my blog list - I found out about the following scene from the new Ben Stiller move, "Tropic Thunder".

The actor character played by Ben Stiller, Tugg Speedman, has key scenes in the movie which recreate a character he has played called Simple Jack. Jack is a ‘retard’. This element of the movie gives rise to a slew of objectionable phrases slanted directly at the disabled. Take the following, a conversation between Downey Jr’s character and Stiller’s, revolving around Stiller’s decision to play said ‘retard’:

Stiller: There were times when I was doing Jack when I actually felt retarded. Like really retarded.

Downey: Oh yeah. Damn.

Stiller: In a weird way, I had to sort of just free myself up to believe that it was okay to be stupid or dumb.

Downey: To be a moron.

Stiller: Yeah.

Downey: To be moronical.

Stiller: Exactly.

Downey: An imbecile.

Stiller: Yeah. When I was playing a character.

Downey: When you was a character.Stiller: Yeah, I mean, as Jack. Definitely.

Downey: It’s like working with mercury. It’s how science makes art form.

Stiller: Yeah.

Downey: You an artist.

Stiller: It’s what we do, right?

Downey: Everybody knows you never do a full retard.

Stiller: What do you mean?

Downey: Check it out. Dustin Hoffman, Rainman, look retarded, act retarded, not retarded. Count toothpicks to your cards. Autistic. Sure. Not retarded.You know Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump. Slow, yes. Retarded, maybe. Braces on his legs. But he charmed the pants off Nixon and he won a ping-pong competition? That ain’t retarded.You went full retard, man. Never go full retard.

I am appalled by this scene. As the niece of an aunt who is intellectually disabled, I am outraged that our society seems to think that it is okay to discriminate against those who can not defend themselves. I am willing to admit that I have been guilty of using the "r-word" myself, and yes, I have laughed at jokes about the "short-bus". But at the time I was young, immature....and I am not proud of my actions.

There will be people who will think that the millions of people who are protesting this movie are just overreacting. But would those people think the same thing, if the scene was discriminating against another race, another gender, perhaps someone who is gay? I think not....

There are others who will say that they do not mean to be offensive when they use the r-word, or when they make jokes about those with mental handicaps. Meaning to or not - it is offensive. My Aunt is a wonderful with a capacity to love unconditionally - she loves all those around her without judgement......she sees the good in everyone. And that is something that I can not even begin to say that I do. She does not deserve to be the but on anyone's joke....PERIOD!

You have the freedom to go see this movie if you choose, and I have the same right to voice my disgust and to protest this movie by making sure I do not spend a single penny on a ticket to this "comedy".


Mommy to those Special Ks said...

Thank you for posting this and getting the word out there!

Anonymous said...

Not a Stiller fan anyhow. Thank you for posting your views. I don't like the stereotypes used for the disabled. They deserve the same respect & understanding we all want.