(not so) Sorry

Apologies are funny things.

 

 

 

 

 

Remember this guy? This was Jimmy Swaggart’s tearful apology for his prostitute habit.  He was so sad.  He was so sorry.

Right.

As a result of the mild backlash from her insensitive remarks, Margaret Cho has written a heart-felt apology on her blog.  I encourage you to hop on over there and read it, and be sure to read the comments.  They make excellent food for thought.

I don’t really care all that much about the apology itself.  I mean, I don’t know Cho, she doesn’t know me, and she doesn’t owe me any apology.  She can be a jerk if she wants, and I can slam her for it if I want. (Freedom of speech, baby!)  The thing that rubs me wrong is how typical this “heart-felt” apology is.  Some celebrity is guilty of a fantastic boob, then they issue a sappy, crappy, “oh-I-didn’t-mean-to-hurt-anyone” apology.

Whatever.

I always wonder about apologies.  I sometimes ask my son, when he gets in trouble, if he is really sorry for what he did, or if he’s just sorry he got caught.  The phrase that comes to mind is “damage control.”

A lot of the comments on Cho’s blog suggest that people are just looking to be offended, and that it isn’t that big of a deal.  I guess, from a certain perspective, that right.  Ultimately, what a minor celebrity says during a cable television interview isn’t all that important, compared to, say, the President, the Pope, or Stephen King.  People say jerky things all the time.  The world is consumed by jerkiness.  Bygones.

But here’s the thing–Cho promotes herself as a great human rights activist, standing up for minorities of all kinds.  More than that, while it may not make any difference about what a person says, it certainly reveals their character, doesn’t it?

Take those comments–a lot of the commentators remarked that it was an “accident,” or that Cho “slipped up.”  “Humans make errors.”  Hey, you don’t have to tell me that.  I’ve made enough mistakes in my time to fill this blog and ten more.  You know what though?  I have never called anyone a retard.  Ever.  I’m sure I’ve hurt people along the way, but there are no excuses, and no apologies.  Those people can hate me, and rightly so.

And while I’m at it, that whole “accident” and “slip-up” thing really got me thinking.  An accident is when you step on someone’s toe, then say, “Oh, I’m sorry!”  Or maybe when you back your car into a parking meter. (Just an example.)  Those are accidents.  You might even “accidentally” hurt someone’s feelings by something you say.  I personally am very familiar with the taste of my foot.

However, when you set out to do or say something that you know is going to be hurtful and hateful, well, that’s not an accident.  That’s not a slip-up.  Cho was giving a little comedy routine right there on live television.  She’s promoting her new comedy tour, and she was giving everyone a preview.  Part of her repertoire is being crude and pushing the envelope.   That’s who she is.  No sense in apologizing for it now, I guess.

Don’t get me wrong–I do believe in apologizing when you hurt someone. Here’s the catch–being sorry for something doesn’t fix it.  Apologies aren’t a license to do or say anything you want.  Everyone would do well to remember that they while they absolutely do have the freedom to say what they want, others also have the freedom to react.  People who were Margaret Cho fans before probably still are.  I would go so far as to say that a lot of people she offended had never even heard of her until now.

(Can you say, “publicity?”)

One last thing–it is possible to be funny and racy and edgy without tearing others down.  You can even poke fun at others without hurting them.  There is a line there, and when you cross it, don’t be surprised by the consequences, and screw your apologies.

Oh, and make sure you have a good publicist.

read to be read at yeahwrite.me

 

 

Proud Parent of a “Retard”

Usually, I’m one of those people who are sitting at home, shaking their heads ruefully, when I hear about how everyone is mad because some pea-brained celebrity made some inappropriate comment during an interview.

You know what I’m talking about–someone uses a racial slur, or slams homosexuality, and the media feeding frenzy begins.  It’s played over and over and over and over and over on every network in the universe.  Aliens on the planet Zoobork hear about it.  Sometimes, it blows over, and sometimes a career can be shaken. (Remember Imus?)

I always sit around and say how the media makes it worse, let it drop, etc, etc.

Well, I’m a hypocrite, in case any of my regular readers haven’t figured it out, and I’m about to prove it to the tenth degree.

Recently, Margaret Cho, a comedienne, did an interview in which she declared she didn’t “necessarily want to have a retard” baby.  She’s older, and I assume she’s talking about the increased risk for birth defects as a woman moves along in her childbearing years.

This comment is possibly one of the stupidest things I have ever heard anyone say, and that, my friends, is saying a lot.  I refuse to believe anyone could be this ignorant.  She said it with intent–period.  Was it for the publicity, or is this really the depth of her mind?  Obviously, having a retarded baby is the least of her problems.

I hate that word–retard.  I hate it.  Hate, hate, hate.  Is has a real definition, and until very recently was commonly used in medical circles.  But that doesn’t matter–I hate it.  People use it, and they sure as hell aren’t using it medically.  They use it to imply someone is stupid or ridiculous.

In other words, they think my daughter is stupid and ridiculous.

In other words, Margaret Cho thinks my daughter is stupid and ridiculous.

I wonder if this little slur from this big idiot will get as much negative attention as, say, Imus’ referring to some black women’s basketball players as “nappy-headed ho’s?”  I sort of doubt it.  I guess the only ripples will be from people like me who have very personal feelings about these retarded babies, kids and adults.

I mean, purely hypothetically, if someone were to write something about Margaret Cho, and they were to use a racial slur, like Slant-eye or Buckethead, why, that would be very offensive, wouldn’t it?  Lot’s of people would be offended, and maybe whoever said those things would be dragged over the coals.  So of course, you would never want to use those types of racial slurs.  If you did, it would all just be in good fun, just a little joke, just pushing the boundaries to prove your edginess, right?  No harm done–no need to get upset, right?

In reality, I know I’m supposed to take the high road here, and that comments from such a small mind should just roll right off my back.  Oh, but it’s hard.  When I sit here and look at my daughter, and I think of how much I love her and how beautiful she is, I just want to snatch that bitch Margaret Cho bald.

Maybe there are lots of people who feel like her.  I understand that everyone wants to have a healthy baby, and no one would wish to have a child with any type of problem.  But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in this life, it’s that there are no guarantees, and let me go one step more–I would not trade my retarded daughter for ten “normal” kids. Here’s why:

  • She lives every day in the moment–no worries about yesterday or tomorrow.
  • She gets mad, but she gets over it.  No grudge holding for her.
  • She loves who she loves, unconditionally.  She has no prejudice, no bias, no preconceived notions about anyone.  (If only Margaret Cho could be so fortunate.)
  • She gives affection freely.
  • She has taught me what a gift life is, how important it is to be thankful for each thing we are given, no matter how small.
  • When she’s excited, she jumps and laughs and squeals.  She lives her joy with childlike abandon.  We’re all too hung-up with ourselves to ever really give ourselves over to happiness and joy.  We’re the ones missing out.
  • It’s hard sometimes, but it’s my privilege to take care of her.  She depends totally on me–what an awesome responsibility!
  • She is satisfied with so little.  It takes almost nothing to make her happy, where as all of us are never satisfied.

If all of these things come with being retarded, maybe we should all be so fortunate as to be counted among that number.  There are obviously worse things to be.

A narrow-minded idiot, for example.

 

P.S. In case you missed the message: Suck it, Margaret Cho.  You don’t deserve a “retarded” child. 

 

This is Evelyn when she was three.  Who knew being retarded was so frickin’ cute?

r-word.org

 

 

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