Friday, February 5, 2010

Retard police? How retarded!

A loyal reader recently informed the werewolf that according to the Special Olympics' online retard police, this blog was safe because it had not used the word retard in print form. (Why does fucktard get a pass?) That just changed, thank goodness. The werewolf wouldn't be able to sleep in good conscience knowing that some sort of self-appointed steward of political correctness approved of him. Since when did the Special Olympics appoint themselves guardians of the word retard? Who the hell do they think they are jumping into the world authorizing what can and can't be used in the vernacular? How retarded!

The werewolf is a big fan of the Special Olympics and hopes that every human life will be given a chance to shine in some capacity. He values the service the Special Olympics provide to segments of the world population. He will continue to support them while they host forums that allow people to shine and excel while displaying acute physical prowess. However, he will not abide them expanding their charter into the realm of linguistic thugs.

According to


[ri-tahrd, for 1–3, 5; ree-tahrd for 4] Show IPA
–verb (used with object)
1. to make slow; delay the development or progress of (an action, process, etc.); hinder or impede.
–verb (used without object)
2. to be delayed.
3. a slowing down, diminution, or hindrance, as in a machine.
4. Slang: Disparaging.
a. a mentally retarded person.
b. a person who is stupid, obtuse, or ineffective in some way: a hopeless social retard.
5. Automotive, Machinery. an adjustment made in the setting of the distributor of an internal-combustion engine so that the spark for ignition in each cylinder is generated later in the cycle.

1480–90; < L retardāre to delay, protract, equiv. to re- re- + tardāre to loiter, be slow, deriv. of tardus slow; see tardy

re⋅tard⋅ing⋅ly, adverb

1. obstruct, check.

1. accelerate.
There are many legit uses for retard in the daily vernacular.

The werewolf's hunt for employment has been retarded by weak macro-economic conditions.

President Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel, acted like a retard when he called uncooperative democrats Democrats "retarded."

Liberals prefer aborting babies who may be retarded.

Like all things, language is delicate, important, and should be carefully deployed at times. Using language well is an art form that escapes larger segments of the population as each generation passes. Each word has implications to being used and that should be noted. However, policing and trying to erase some words, especially flexible words like retard is a shame. It's almost as outrageous as the retarded people who think the word NIGGARDLY is racist.


  1. I find that the use of the word "retarded" as a catch-all negative adjective is unfortunate and disparaging toward those with mental handicaps.

    The word "retard" (especially in verb form) does have some common uses without the same negative connotations. It seems to me that words like this - when used inappropriately - can be very hurtful. I am firmly against policing of free speech, but I do think that the world would be a better place if people were a little more thoughtful with their choice of words.

  2. Here's a problem with political correctness: so long as the underlying thing is considered to be bad by society, you can rename it as many times as you like and the new name will end up becoming a slur. Hence the fact that "black" has been a settled, near-universally accepted term (with the exception of loony PC-land white people) is a sign of progress. Conversely, as long as being mentally disabled is considered a bad thing (and I'm not commenting on the merits -- on one hand we're all God's creatures in a normative sense and have been told he loves the least of us -- on the other, I don't know many people who would want their children to be mentally disabled), the very term "disabled" will soon become a colloquial slur too (like "mentally handicapped" is already becoming).

    So certainly using the word "retarded" or "idiot" or "cretin" or -- soon -- "disabled" as a slur is impolite, but I'm not sure how much is to be done about it.

    I should also point out this idea is entirely unoriginal -- Steve Levitt and James Taranto, to name two, got there way before me.

  3. Oh, and Mr. Werewolf: Rahm Emanual didn't insult "democrats." He insulted "Democrats." The capitalization has very substantive meaning, since right about now the Democratic party is only slightly more "democratic" than it is "liberal" (in the sense of freedom-loving).