Obnoxious? Yes. Retarded? No.
I feel compelled to write to you (again) to object to your use of the term “retarded” in today’s paper (“Kvetchfest” [WW, April 9, 2008]—Jack Nicholson’s “retarded cousins.”). If Mr. Nicholson actually had relatives with neurological limitations, you would never refer to them this way, nor would you make a joke about someone in a wheelchair. So too is your usage here inappropriate.
I dislike the L.A. Lakers as much as anyone, but there is nothing funny about this derogatory usage of the word retarded. As a parent of a child with a developmental disability, I’m more accustomed to hearing this from thoughtless middle-schoolers, but unfortunately this usage seems to have increased. Fortunately school kids are open to being educated that people shouldn’t be picked on because of tragic conditions they didn’t choose and had no ability to prevent. I hope your writers are similarly open to finding other ways to express themselves than using terms such as “retarded” (or “autistic”).
Thanks in advance for addressing this point—this type of comment really shouldn’t be found in your otherwise fine paper.
Northeast Stanton Street
Stand by Your Facts
One of your authors, Mr. Byron Beck, wrote in WW [“Stand by Our Woman,” March 26, 2008] that Senator Barack Obama’s former pastor, Dr. Jeremiah Wright, had made “homophobic tirades.” This is completely false and requires a retraction from Willamette Week. Dr. Wright is a long-time supporter of the gay and lesbian community and his former church, Trinity United Church of Christ, provides leadership and advocacy in support of gay and lesbian causes. In fact, the United Church of Christ, which Trinity UCC is a part of, is the only mainline church to support marriage equality for gays and lesbians. As a minister in the United Church of Christ, I respectfully request that you correct the false reporting published in your paper.
This article from The Washington Blade will help to correct the record: washblade.com/2008/3-21/news/national.
The Rev. Chuck Currie
Parkrose Community United Church of Christ
Byron Beck responds: Consider me corrected.