“Family Guy” Has Made Me Reconsider The Word “Retarded”

I am not a “Family Guy” fan. Seth MacFarlane’s brand of offend-everybody, aren’t-I-clever? humor is not for me. Bill Maher, the host of “Real Time With Bill Maher,” is not my cup of tea either. But I was quite intrigued by both of them after watching a clip of Seth MacFarlane on “Real Time” this weekend discussing Sarah Palin’s outrage of the portrayal of a character with Down syndrome in his show. As you’ve probably heard right now, on a recent episode of “Family Guy,” Chris took Ellen, a girl with Down syndrome, on a date and asked her what her parents did for a living. Ellen, who was played by an actress who actually has Down syndrome in real life named Andrea Friedman, Sometimes, I use the word “retarded.”

It’s always on the tip of my tongue whenever I get worked up about something I’m passionate about, like women’s rights. “Retarded” is not a particularly intellectual word, but in a pinch, it gets the point across.

Bill Maher: “Language is a living, breathing thing. Americans have voted with their vernacular. They need the word retarded. They use it constantly.”
Seth MacFarlane:“You’re not going to call a person with a mental challenge ‘retarded.’ You’re just not going to do that. Nobody with any sense uses that term in that way.”