Ann Coulter called President Obama a “retard” on Twitter? I love when stories like this come down the pipeline because it gives me a chance to shoehorn in my own some-might-say “naturally contrarian” opinion.Being an alleged contrarian, of course, I would naturally disagree with that assessment.
Basically, what happened was this: On Monday night, after the third debate, right-wing pundit/talking head/author Ann Coulter posted the following to her Twitter account: “I highly approve of Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the retard.” She followed that up on Tuesday with the additional posting: “Obama: “Stage 3 Romneysia” – because cancer references are HILARIOUS. If he’s “the smartest guy in the room” it must be one retarded room.” Understandably, people got a little bit upset and took to the Twittersphere to chime in with their anger.
What compounds Coulter’s actions is that she regularly commits faux pas of “good taste,” perhaps most notably, she previously came under fire for calling Sen. John Edwards a “faggot” and then apologizing by claiming that it was only a joke because “calling Edwards a ‘faggot’ was too mean to homosexuals.” So she’s a repeat offender.
This article could be about the “heartwarming” letter a special needs man wrote in response to the Coulter “retard tweets heard round the world,” but it isn’t. That plucky young chap wrote a great letter, and it is being well covered by all the appropriate news sources. My issue comes with everyone else.The world is in a weird place right now. Everything is changing because of the Internet and SARS and flying automobiles, and nobody is really certain what is right and wrong anymore. Kids are becoming more sexually active, smoking cigarettes is evil, but smoking weed is fine, and “Titanic 3D” had awesomely bare 3D boobs, despite being PG-13. Words like “faggot” and “retard” are no longer acceptable, but they used to be everyday words. I remember engaging in the classic playground scrum, “Smear the Queer” — you damn well can’t play that anymore.
It almost seemed like someone shut off a language valve — one day we had “faggot” in our collective lexicon, the next it was mega-taboo. The same seems true with “retard.” I don’t care for these so-called “hate words” necessarily; sure I mourn the loss of them as slang (there’s something about that double-consonant in the middle that really makes certain words “zing” off your tongue), but I understand that they are inescapably linked with oppressive connotations and are currently too hurtful to be used in any capacity (many words change in “offensiveness” over time, so I never rule anything out).
Am I taking the roundabout way of giving Ann Coulter a “pass” because it isn’t easy for people to change their language (or their worldviews) as quickly as the language changes? Yes. I don’t care for Ann Coulter’s at-large rhetoric or her tactics, and I certainly hope this current incident inspires her to watch her mouth in public (it isn’t anybody’s business how she thinks within the confines of her own skull), but Twitter is an easy “tool” to fuck up on. Having the world closer to our fingertips than our brain doubtlessly will lead to mishaps. Granted, Ann Coulter didn’t accidentally type the word “retard” (twice!), and certainly she feels it’s an acceptable word to use. Welcome to America, land of the free. Whether she gets away with the use rather, is up to publishers and media booking outlets to decide. For the record, I’d rather attempt to re-educate people and get them on board with “progressive thinking” as opposed to outright banishing them from society, but that’s me. And before you say Coulter can’t be taught, lets see how she responds to the letter from John Franklin Stephens, the special needs guy that wrote to her.
Want to know why I’m so willing to give Ann Coulter a pass? In addition to getting Coulter’s original tweets, I also collected several tweets from people commenting on Ann Coulter. There was no shortage of outraged citizens using the term “retard” to describe Coulter for using the so-called “r-word.” Isn’t that the just the pot calling the kettle the “n-word”? What about the number of people who called her a “bitch” or a “cunt”? Those words are pretty goddamned hateful too, yeah? Or has the valve not been shut off on them yet? Maybe I just think Coulter, for all her potentially short-sighted political leanings, is just as irresponsibly human as the rest of us?