Thumbs down for “Tropic Thunder,” thumbs up for Maurice
Posted on August 14th, 2008 by Patricia
But I won’t be in the theater this week when the feature film Tropic Thunder opens.
I get it. Ben Stiller’s new movie is meant to lampoon the Hollywood film industry. But it is just NOT necessary to have people who live with intellectual disabilities become the objects of such broad satire. The discrimination experienced by the six million individuals with intellectual disability in the United States is intolerable. This movie only adds to the discrimination they face every day.
“Sometimes I think the word has almost lost its meaning,” said Wendy Murphy, director of therapeutic schools for Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago. “I hear a lot of teenagers using the word now, like they don’t know at all what it means.”
The article ends with some terrific words of wisdom from Easter Seals Autism Blog contributor Maurice Snell.
Just ask Maurice Snell, a 24-year-old employee at Easter Seals’ Therapeutic School and Center for Autism Research in Chicago.
Snell has autism and has been called retarded plenty of times.
“I hear the word retarded, it’s basically like putting people down,” Snell said. “I’ve felt that way when I was called retarded. I just wasn’t motivated … It hurts my feelings very deeply.”
He overcame such barbs, graduated from college and became a key spokesman for Easter Seals and for people living with autism.
Snell said he understands, and believes, that the filmmakers didn’t mean to be hurtful.
“But I would tell them,” he said, “not to judge a book by its cover.”
Maurice, I couldn’t have said it better.
Easter Seals — and I — join the disability community in its criticism of Tropic Thunder.