more than just words: tropic thunder boycott

With a national boycott being called this week for the movie Tropic Thunder and protests brewing all over the U.S., a lot of conversations have been popping up around the r-word [retard], “political correctness,” and the line that exists between satire/humor and excuses for spitting out whatever shit you wanna say and not being accountable for it. (Another example of this being The New Yorker’s recent magazine cover of Obama).

Tera and Ophelia both talk about how humor doesn’t happen in a vacuum and that the execution of a joke is most important. Cody points out that there wasn’t a character in the movie to call out the ableism out and make it ridiculous. Other bloggers call the r-word hate speech and explain why this language hurts people. Nondisabled mainstream bloggers have responded with their own words— most focusing on the idea that disabled people have taken political correctness too far and that our community just doesn’t get the joke.

Though the definition and nature of Political Correctness has changed over the last 30 years, the claim is commonly used by people with privilege as a defense when naming and defining others’ existence in relation to them. Why should they have to think about the way they talk? It’s too much work, we’re asking too much! Why should they have to think about the way their language excludes others? Y’know they’re just words after all….

When are some other times you’ve heard this?

Words set the tone for a dialogue. They frame the way we communicate, the space we are interacting in, and what will be the assumed standard values for our community (i.e. if you always read the sentence “So and so suffers from X disability”, you are automatically prone to think that disability is a horrible painful experience). Words are about power and the battle has only just begun.

Below is a captioned public service announcement put out by the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), this week:



Filed under community, disability

8 responses to “more than just words: tropic thunder boycott

  1. Meg

    I cannot belive that the actors from “Topic Thunder” are supporting this crap!!! They say that it is a joke and tell us to “lighten up”, but it is not a joke at all when they are poking fun of people like me with a disablity and being called a r***** . I beleve that the hollyhood community and the people who sadly supports this movie, just doesn’t get it at all when their words and their actions hurts people. They refuse to acknowledge that what they are doing ie harmful to people with disablities. Their only concerns is to make some money and the fame. I am sick and tired of hollyhood are using the “R” word and thinks it is acceptable to embrace it. It is worse as saying the “N” word. I am also sick and tired of them using the “N” word and embracet it too. It is time for us to advocacte people by stop embracing these words and have love for one another. I thank The Autistic Self Advocacy Network for sending the message of how the words are affecting people. As long as I live, I will never ever watch these trash, “Topic Thunder” and any other trashly movies who wanted to hurt and degrading people. So I say to boycott it, and to stand against of what you know it is wrong!!!

  2. Pingback: Disaboom | Alexa | The "Tropic Thunder" debacle

  3. The cure for ignorance and prejudice is information. People can educate themselves about autism by listening to the free Midnight In Chicago audio podcasts at By understanding what autism is and how it works, they will be less likely to call people with autism and other differences “retards” and be more likely to respect them.

  4. Pingback: Tropic Thunder

  5. Like my friend Nancy always says, “Disabled people are the last group you can pick on and get’s picked on everyday.”

    That and Liberals.

  6. It sickens me that people don’t get it that making fun of people with disabilities is NOT cool. We had our first protest against Tropic Thunder yesterday, and I couldn’t believe some of the negative comments that were hurled at us. One man said, ‘it’s just a movie”. Another said that we were trying to censor speech, and that made him want to see the movie. Another kid gave us the double bird as he and his father (I presume) drove by. The police had kicked us off the theatre property at the request of the manager, so we were in the driveway. The folks at Home Depot came and kicked us off of what the said was their property, so we were practically in the street, which turned out well, since all the cars had to pass by us. A few folks did take the flyer, but not many. We are turning this into a campaugn, so we will be hitting other theatres in the future, and ADAPT will be providing meeting space for planning, since in this case, we are as supporters and in solidarity with the main organizers.

  7. Gen.Vader

    Black people need to boycott this trash that Ben Stiller racist but porduced,and there’s no funny about black face and I don’t give a damn if a black person produced,hell it’s still a problem.

  8. Ben Stiller has a track record of doing anything for a laugh (i’m thinking Heartbreak Kid, yuck)

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