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English is the issue

Letter to the Editor | Monday, November 17, 2008

While issues with the movie, “Tropic Thunder”, and the repeated use of a certain r-word, which literally means slow, have dominated the Viewpoint pages these past few days, the issue itself is not the movie. Popular culture has made differences bad, with everything from the negative connotations of the word “retarded” to the use of “gay” as an insult. The message to me of this Viewpoint skirmish is not the problem with the movie, “Tropic Thunder” itself, but a problem with ourselves. I wage a battle with myself relatively regularly, as gay and lesbian jokes come up among my friends, or the antiquated idea of a problem with learning disabilities surface in jokes and media. (Yes, by the way, based on traditional definitions, people with common learning disabilities such as forms of dyslexia qualify as “retards,” myself included). The challenge I come away with is one to become more accepting in my language and reactions, checking for offensive language and expressions. I challenge my fellow students to do the same.

Justine Debelius



Nov. 17