So, five days ago I declared war on a nationally syndicated columnist because he used a very hurtful headline on his own blog. The columnist is Dan Savage, the headline was "The Tard Supper." I'm not going to go into all of the details about this situation – anyone who isn't familiar with it can read all about it on my advocacy blog, Oz Squad.
Anyway, to sum up what happened, I was offended, along with scores of other parents of children who have Down syndrome. We posted dozens of comments on Dan's blog asking that the headline be removed and demanding an apology. I actually made direct contact with Dan via email. He didn't apologize, but he did read my emails and he did write me back a few times (too bad he had nothing to say). He very likely even visited this blog. But it looks like that's all I'll ever get from Dan Savage.
Days later, I'm left to ask myself why, exactly, this particular episode struck so deep a chord with me. Why did I care so much about this headline? Aside from the fact that the headline was hate speech (wildly inappropriate, especially when used by a syndicated columnist), the answer, I think, is that my idols are falling before my eyes. I was a fan of Dan's column, just like I was a fan of the comedian/radio host I mentioned a few posts back. It's really shocking when a person you like says something so hurtful for such a cheap, disposable laugh. I feel betrayed.
I don't want this to be so personal. I want to just brush it aside and forge ahead, just forgive and forget. But something about this particular brand of senseless mocking is just unforgettable for me. It leaves a stain that never really washes away. I can read Dan's column again, I guess, but I'll never really enjoy it the same way. Not ever again. No matter how hard I try.
I have this uneasy feeling that this sort of thing will continue to happen, and I'll gradually have no more idols. No place to turn for entertainment. Jon Stewart? Colbert? Conan? Please, please no. Please guys, don't say anything stupid. Just let me believe that you are decent men, even if you are all jackasses.
Like everyone, at the end of the day I enjoy a good laugh. But I would appreciate it if people did not make jokes at the expense of my child.
Also, I would appreciate it if Saturday Night Live was funny again - last night's episode was terrible. But I digress.
7 months ago