Thursday, July 21, 2011

Slams against people with special needs...and one bit of awesome

I've been simmering all week over slams against people with special needs. As in, I need an exorcism or something to get them out of my head.

First I saw something despicable on a news aggregator site: A commenter had posted a photo of a smiling little girl with Down syndrome imprinted with the words: "I can count to potato."



You could have imposed those words on a picture of some clueless politico or celeb, and it would have been funny. But a little girl with Down syndrome? That's cruel, not to mention vile.

Then I heard about the GQ slam. The magazine named Boston its top worst-dressed city and said it "suffers from a kind of style Down syndrome." Brian Skotko, a doctor at Children's Hospital in Boston who has a sister with Down syndrome, wrote a post lambasting the reference. As he said, "My 40,000 fellow Americans with Down syndrome have been cheapened, and I will not take it." The magazine subsequently removed the reference from its website. To date, there's been no public apology.

Ignorant people who are so pitiful they stoop to making fun of kids with special needs are one thing...seemingly. The fact that editors at a respected magazine like GQ let that phrase fly just goes to show that ignorance exists in every stratosphere of society. Even well-educated people (as I assume the editors there are) see nothing wrong with demeaning people with special needs.

So I had that stuff on the brain this week, accompanied by some other crapola that unexpectedly came at me. And then, I discovered this bit of awesome in the Nordstrom Anniversary Catalog, courtesy of Noah's Dad:

And suddenly, I felt a little better.


  1. I'm so glad that you are on our team!

  2. Go Nordstrom! Rocking ad!! Beautiful kids. The GQ thing really got to me--can't understand that at all. Upsetting, for sure. What is wrong with people? The cruelty. The ignorance.

  3. Oh, my! He is just adorable! And so slick!

    I am so glad you posted that. I hadn't heard about that cutey only about the negative stuff this week. Thanks!

  4. I am so impressed to see Nordstrom's catalogue. What beautiful kiddies!

  5. I don't understand the slams either. Is it ignorance, fear, indifference to the pain and hurt they cause?

    The Nordstrom ad is beautiful.

  6. I refuse to let the GQ article and the other mean things that have been said in the medial recently bother me. Whenever a celeb uses the R word or a magazine prints such trash, it becomes increasingly clear to me that there are just lots of really stupid people out there who have no clue what they are saying. If you have to result to making fun of others (no matter what their abilities are) in an attempt to be funny, you're just totally unoriginal, unintelligent and sad. Someone needs to buy that writer a thesaurus and get her into a creative writing class, STAT!

    That Nordstrom ad is awesome. Who wouldn't want that amazingly adorable child selling their clothes?

  7. My own ramblings last night were also a litany of Not Fun things but I ended on an up note w/the Nordy's catalogue shot, thanks to you (hope you don't mind? Tell me if you do! That's what the edit button is for).

    But the potato reference... that made me queasy. Is it a public forum? Is it still up? I am full of mommy rage every time I think about it.

  8. love the ad. Cute. So cute. Let's forget about the others!

  9. I love the ad with the little kids. My uncle has Downs and even at a very YOUNG age I always hated the ( R- word). I hated when people used it around me or just used it in general. I have always felt so strongly about this and my feelings will never change..As for the GQ ad.. Completely inappropriate..

  10. Thanks so much for including that. I was so excited when I saw... I want to encourage all of your readers to check out the letter I posted to GQ Magazine. I'd invite them to please leave a comment to express how the feel. I'm certain that GQ is reading it, and would like to have you guys post on it!

    We also do a daily down syndrome video helping the world see that down syndrome is ok! We'd love to share our story with you guys!

    (Noah's Dad)

  11. That is awesome, glad you shared it. Maybe it will take some of the stink out from the other inflammatory things we've seen this week.

  12. I know. It's just plain awesome. The world needs more of those ads. krlr, great, spread that awesome-ness around!!!

    Tara R: Sometimes slams are from ignorance. Sometimes (like that potato one) they're a show of good old stupidity.

    Raregemsblog: "Somebody needs to buy that writer a thesaurus" made me laugh!

    Andrea: PROPS!!!

  13. I remember one time at work this customer made such a mean, insensitive comment. He couldn't figure out how to swipe his credit card and after I explained it to him he made the comment "Wow I feel like I have Down Syndrome or something." I felt like saying "Wow really A-hole? I know a few people who have Down Syndrome and I can assure you they feel the same feelings (or "way" as he put it) as you and I". wanted so bad to slap him!

    And awesome ad Nordstrom!

  14. Oh, PS, krlr, that comment was on one of those news aggregator sites. Sorry, I just can't share the link to it!

  15. Go Nordstrom! All of the kids in my dd's early intervention class have Downs, (apart from my dd, Congenital CMV, CP etc) and I have such a fondness for Rachel's friends that that I didn't actually notice Downs in that child. I just saw a bunch of super cute kids. I actually had to google the ad to check!

  16. @Amy I agree with GQ is cruel I have a good mind to sue them for discrimination :)

  17. I have sent numerous letters to Gap and Gyboree asking them to include "All" kids in their advertising. Both sent a standard response of "thank you for your suggestion, we'll look into it" but since I have not seen a change in their advertising I am assuming they did not deem it important.

    Thirty years ago a same-sex couple would never have been shown on TV - yet "Will & Grace" was a huge hit and Ellen DeGeneres is always talking about her relationship with her wife. Until all kids are shown in mainstream media on a regular basis our kids will never be socially accepted. change comes slow, but if we all keep persisting it will come.

  18. I saw that news aggregator site -- repulsive. But those sites always are -- smut, muck-raking mediocrity. I wonder sometimes if we give too much credence/attention to such vile stuff -- I'm all for protesting it, but isn't that what such sites want, anyway? I think the GQ thing was inexcusable and am glad they took down the website, but it would be nice for them to do some sort of sensitivity follow-up -- if not an apology then at least the intention to educate themselves -

    Thanks for the heads-up on the Nordstrom ad. It's great.

  19. OH COME ON!My friend has Down syndrome. She can color a mean lung, eat ice cream, dance, and she made me a birthday card once.
    <3 I have autism and I can raise a praying mantis, hold a witchetty grub and not recoil in disgust, and I know lots of things about reptiles. They are putting legs on a snake. They are making a praying mantis a vegan.


Thanks for sharing!

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