Monday, August 11, 2008

Please Boycott "Tropic Thunder"

a word from David Tolleson of the National Down Syndrome Congress
I am taking the unusual step of contacting you over the weekend, because we have a lot of work to do and a short time in which to do it. On Friday, our Resource Specialist, Sue Joe, and I attended a special screening of DreamWorks new film, "Tropic Thunder". Journalist Pat Bauer also attended the screening and reports on the contents of the film on her blog, So far, we are the only members of the nationwide disability community who have seen the film, though more screenings are planned for Monday for leaders in other cities.
To say this film is offensive is an understatement. For me, watching this film felt like sitting through an assault.
The National Down Syndrome Congress is a founding member of a coalition of disability-rights organizations who have been in discussion together -- and with DreamWorks -- about this film. Now that we have seen this movie, there is no doubt but that we must come together to fight what has been characterized as damaging and hurtful hate speech.
Members of the Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles, led by Gail Williamson, will be among the local and national representatives providing informational leafleting and picketing at the Hollywood premiere of this film on Monday. However, we need your help.
If you are in Southern California and can get to Los Angeles on Monday, please contact Gail at
If you cannot make it on Monday, please start planning for Wednesday's nationwide premiere by polling your members for those who might be able to show up at one or more theatres in your area that day to share our message that movies like "Tropic Thunder" do cause harm, both emotionally and by giving insensitive individuals new ways to taunt children and adults with intellectual disabilities. It would be best to have a large turnout at one theatre than to have one or two people at many, and it is important to involve self advocates.
Lest you think the movie is so ridiculous that no one will take it seriously, Josh Tyler, Editor-in-Chief of CinemaBlend, has already given the film a glowing review, noting that his "current favorite" quote, "You never go full retard," comes from the film.
On Monday morning, we will provide information gathered from various coalition members, to use in your efforts.
In Solidarity, David Tolleson
National Down Syndrome Congress

Liz Ditz has a comprehenisive list of posts on this offensive film.
Jess at Raising Joey has the New York Times article on the upcoming protests.


Anonymous said...

What can we do on the east coast, Leticia?

Leticia said...

For now, spread the word to your contacts. The National Down Syndrome Society may be arranging protests here in New York. I'll keep you posted.

Anonymous said...

You know, Leticia, my hate for those liberals is honestly reaching the seriously sinful level.

Liz Ditz said...

Here's my post, Words Hurt: The "R" Word. It covers more than the Stiller movie. I linked to this post and as many others as I can find.

Anonymous said...

Those of the same mindset have attacked our Lord. Why wouldn't they attack his Angels, too?

Anonymous said...

I have to admit, I'm a little amused by the comments here putting the blame solely on 'liberals'; much of the hateful, ableist slurs I've seen from the people attacking the disability community's response has been from people characterizing the protest against the movie as "oversensitive liberal bull****".

Ultimately, I think the issue is not so much one of left vs. right as compassion vs. dehumanization.

Leticia said...

You are right in saying that it's compassion vs. dehumanization. Let me explain why some see it as liberal vs. conservative. For all their protests of political correctness (no "n word", etc) liberals favor the abortion of precisely such individuals as those who are mocked in this film. Over 90% of unborn babies with Down sydndrome are aborted. I praise such liberals as Teddy Kennedy when he supports excellent programs like the Special Olympics, his family, in the person of Tim Shriver is involved in this protest, however, the fact that liberals support the killing of disabled children cannot be overlooked.

Anonymous said...

If it were only as easy as that, I would be much less of a fence-sitting moderate. I've met many people who identify as liberal and/or pro-choice but believe that the current mass abortion of disabled fetuses is abhorrent and wrong. I've also seen far too many people who identify as pro-life but make an exception if the child would be born disabled.

I am autistic. There's a big-name, international charity which claims to 'Speak' for people like me dedicated to trying to find a prenatal test to, in their own words, 'eradicate' us 'for the good of future generations'. I am every bit as outraged by the devaluing of disabled children and disabled lives as you are. I just believe that if we want to actually reduce the amount of abortions happening in this country, rather than forcing them underground or leading to more infanticide of disabled children after they're born, we need to do it by addressing the underlying causes that drive people to seek abortions in the first place.

In any case, conservatives such as you who support excellent efforts like the ADA Restoration Act, the Kennedy-Brownback bill, and this protest have my praise as well. Even if we don't always see eye to eye on other issues, we can still stand together on things like this. Thank you for your dedication to fighting for equality and compassion.

Anonymous said...

I understand your point, Anonymous. However, books for children, following this identical vein, are now introduced into the school system, all under the liberal agenda.

Of course I know this isn't a 'political' issue. Neither is abortion a political issue, but many liberals condone it, if not all.

The fact remains that these types of movies are generally introduced by liberals and liberals do make up an enormous percentage of Hollywood.

Anonymous said...

Robert Downey Jr. cracks me up... he's got a knack for not taking himself too seriously

Anonymous said...

It's too bad that you see this as an issue that you need to protest. This film covered MANY controversial subjects, including racism, homosexuality and retardation - why do specially abled individuals get to be exempted from being a part of that? Why are we so damn PC and how many severely retarded people out there will be upset by the portrayal of Simple Jack?

The idea of "going full retard" is more a joke for the Oscar/Hollywoods than it is aimed at the group you support. Looking at the Oscars the character points out something that is entirely true: people can't connect as well to a fully mentally retarded character as they can to one that retains a strong personality. (Rain Man vs I am Sam.)

If you want to make a difference then get out there and try to get someone to connect to an entirely disabled person - someone who cannot live, cannot function on their own with assistance of machines, of caregivers. Try to find out why the suicide rate is so much higher in retarded patients than others.

Take abortion out of your initiatives, and make it more about the people who ARE living with this, those who are disabled and trying to find work, places to live, and spouses - trying to live "normal" lives.