Saturday, March 21, 2009

You Want To Be Offended, Don't You?

Am I really supposed to be upset or outraged that President Barry made an ill-advised, off the cuff remark during his chat with Jay Leno? I really hope I'm not because I don't think that I can really muster up enough outrage to be convincing and to make it worthwhile. That's because it's just another fake controversy (or fakeroversy) that's been contrived (a contrivroversy), mainly by the media (way to go, CNN), over something that I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone who is actually enraged by this and not just people who think that they should be enraged. You shouldn't.

Here's the scoop: President Barry can't bowl. During the campaign he infamously bowled a whopping 37. And of course, almost a year later, the media still leaves out the part that it was not a full game!! He only bowled five or seven frames. That doesn't change the suckiness of the score, but at least it makes it sound like it's explainable. (Yeah, right. As if there is any explanation for an adult with all of his major limbs and organs in functional order who could only bowl a 37. The only explanation for that is 'you are the world's worst bowler'.) So Jay Leno was asking him if he had already ripped the bowling alley out of the White House and was surprised to hear that President Barry had not removed the bowling lanes and had been practicing to the point where he managed to bowl a 129!

That's when Jay started giving him crap about his 37 game and they were both laughing and that's when, in the midst of the laughter, President Barry said, "It was like the Special Olympics or something."

QUICK! Alert the press! Call in the media! Outrage! Bring your fake outrage! Pretend to be really angry! Offended! We need offense! Sound the alarms! Ring the sirens! Bang a drum! (Do we have drums? We do? Then bang them, for cryin' out loud! Didn't you hear what he just said?!?! At least, that's how I picture things right before a media frenzy begins.

OK, look, was it a bonehead thing to say? Sure. Should he have said it? Of course not. Do I think that because he said that it means that President Barry hates disabled people? No. Do I think he said that out of malice? No. Do I think that he has anything at all against anyone because of their disability? No. Of course not. And anyone who does needs to have their soft, soft head that is made out of cheese examined.

Now there's the "outcry" by those claiming to be "offended". To my knowledge, none of those who are "crying out" are either a) Special Olympians or b) disabled. Some of those weighing in on the non-issue were Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, herself the mother of a child with Down syndrome. She said that the comment was “degrading...especially since it was...coming from the most powerful position in the world." "These athletes overcome more challenges, discrimination and adversity than most of us ever will," she said, her words obviously directed to the black President. And still not content to hop off her soap box, she voiced these words of hope: "I hope President Obama’s comments do not reflect how he truly feels about the special needs community."

Oh, for God's sake, woman, did you lose the election and your mind at the same time?! You "hope" he doesn't really feel that way? Do you mean that you think there's a possibility, given all that you know about him, given all that you've seen of him, that he does feel that way? I can't imagine that you really think he might feel that way as opposed to just having said something stupid. You know what it's like to say something stupid that you later really regretted, don't you, Mrs. Palin? Think hard! I'm sure you can come up with a time or two (October and November, perhaps?) when you may have said things that, in hindsight, were not the most well-thought out statements. You keep thinking. I'll get back to you. Or I'll have Katie Couric give you a call.

Who else wants to throw in their inflammatory remarks of fake offense taken after the President's comment? How about Special Olympics Chairman Timothy Shriver? He said, "I think it’s important to see that words hurt, and words do matter." And I totally agree with the guy. But I have yet to hear from the those who were "hurt" by the "words." And these words that in some respect can be seen as humiliating or a put-down to people with special needs do cause pain, and they do result in stereotypes.” They can be seen that way, yes. Were they in this instance? I don't think so. It wasn't a mean or malicious statement. And he certainly wasn't trying to "humiliate" anyone! That is just ridiculous to even insinuate at. (And fortunately, not all of those involved with Special Olympics in a managerial sense feel the same way as Mr. Shriver, as Lori Arnold, the head of the Special Olympics in MIchigan stated, "We appreciate that the president "wasn't attempting to humiliate the Special Olympics." Finally! Sanity.) But let's see what a Special Olympian's reaction to this was.

Meet Kolan McConiughey, one of the nation's top Special Olympics bowlers with an average of 212 and a total of 5 perfect games. Holy crap, he's good! According to the AJCHe bowled a 129. I bowl a 300. I could beat that score easily." Yeah, he could! President Barry only bowled a 129 once! Kolan would also like to bowl against President Barry and show him a thing or two about bowling. I’d tell him to get a new bowling ball, new shoes and bring him down to the lane. Keep his body straight, his arm straight and keep his steps straight. He has to practice every single day.” Good advice. Anyone else?

Then there's a one 21-year old Daniel Fletcher of Brentwood. His reaction? "I am willing to get a team to challenge him. I'd challenge him myself." Huh. Doesn't sound bothered. What about his dad, Warren? What did he think? "A little off-key, but he really didn't mean anything negative." Huh.

Actually, his father Warren puts how he feels about what President Barry said into words that are damn near eloquent. The video of him speaking is below and I can only hope that some of those who are trying to stir up something that isn't there would watch it and listen to this guy. They know what he meant. So if something that is supposed to be offensive to a certain person or group is not offensive to that person or group, is it still "offensive"? I don't know. I don't think so. Don't get me wrong, it can still be a stupid thing to say, but I don't think it has to be offensive.

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grannyann said...

It's not what he said that bothers me, it is the fact that he has a love affair with Air Force One and keeps flying all over the place, adding up more and more dollars from cost of flying that plane while he tells everyone else to save money.

Alice Amplified said...

Goshdarnit. Once again here I am on the other side of the fence from you on this issue (try and hold back your gasps of surprise)....

No, it doesn't require all this controversy (fakerversy is a great word, BTW)....BUT, it was a big old fat blunder for the leader of our free world to say something as off hand as that. Maybe he should hate babies or park in a handicapped spot while he's at it.

Just like with the Giftoversy with Brittan... i keep asking he running this place all by himself over there at the whitehouse? Hello? Advisors?

It was a pretty uncool comment, but I think he handled it fine by calling the director of the special olympics (who incidentally is really hot...whoda thunk it huh?) Google him. Hot.

Anyway, Me. Fence. You.

Square One! WELCOME!

Mare said...

Alice, whaatt? You? Fence? Side? Other? Than mine? Really? Yes, shocking.

Actually, I think we are on the same side of the fence for most of it. (We're certainly not riding it.) We agree that it doesn't require fakeroversy (thanks). And I don't think I said that it was FINE that he said what he did. It was a slip (or as you put it, a "big old fat blunder").

But to say that maybe he should hate babies implies that he made the comment he did because he hates (or has something against) those who participate in Special Olympics and I just don't think that he does. I really don't.

And that he called the guy who runs Special Olympics and apologized is great. That he did it BEFORE the show aired (because he knew he screwed up and didn't need to wait for an uproar before he apologized) was awesome.

My point was that people shouldn't have been offended by it and, if the video I posted was any indication, the ones who COULD have been offended by it CLEARLY were not. So if they're not bothered by it, then folks shouldn't make a big deal about it.

More on GiftGate in a later post because while I don't think that was intentional, I have learned a few things that have caused me to alter my stance just a little bit to one side. And maybe up a notch. And over a hair. And with a little nudge. And a quick heel clap.

By the way, I do have a pic of the Shriver dude (who you're referring to as hot) in the post. He's alright (though I think I'm more partial to his cousin).

So while I thank you for my welcome back to Square One, I think we're good. I think Square Two has vacancies. Join me, won't you?

~ Mare