Q23: Adventures in the Mainstream

Q 23)

 “I have to admit to a certain prejudice against Williams after spending a day there.  Each evening a group of fake cowboys stages a gun battle on Main Street, in front of all the Route 66 souvenir shops.  This hokey little drama is well attended by tourists, because what else is there to do in Williams, Arizona, on weekday evening except drain the tanks in the camper?…


After an initial flurry of shots, the cowboys shouted at each other for a few minutes. Most of the “dialogue” was based on one cowboy calling another cowboy an idiot, and a third responding that they were both morons.  I left when a tall thing cowpoke called a hair old cow-man a “re-tard,” to the amusement of the crowd.  The cowpokes were clearly proud that they were able to ad lib such biting wit.


I was glad Ned had already gone, and sorry the cowboys weren’t using real bullets on each other.  Once again I found it interesting that people who wouldn’t consider using racial or ethnic slurs or mocking people with physical disabilities see nothing wrong in being offensives about intellectual disabilities..  It’s not just hick amateur actors in small towns, either.  Big time comedians, politicians, and movie and television writers do it all the time.  Someday I should write The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Intellectual Bigotry, except those for whom the book was intended wouldn’t get the joke.”  p. 90


How do you respond to jokes that are inappropriate?  Do you ask people not to use “the R word” ?  How would you handle this situation or one like it?

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