Senior Editor
08.14.08 38 Comments

Slate recently discovered an 11-page action kit that from the coalition of disability groups that are protesting Tropic Thunder which offers step-by-step instructions on how to be the best humorless killjoy you can be.

The Rally for Respect action kit contains a basic checklist (designate "one person to organize efforts"; produce "flyers and posters for distribution") to help supporters achieve "coordinated and organized action" (Page 4). Group chapters are advised how to identify venues screening the film ("you can find that information by going to and typing in your zip code"), and it’s suggested that mentally disabled people acting as "self advocates" be "present to meet and greet theater patrons." The words retard, idiot, imbecile, and moron are condemned as "hate speech …. on par with the N-word" (Page 3). The action kit also provides "talking points" for self-advocates ("as a person with an intellectual disability I have been affected by use of the R-word and other hate speech"; Page 5).

Basically, they want you to find a retarded person who’s just chillin out having a good time and take him to the movies with you to shame people over something he doesn’t understand.  That’s the thing – there aren’t actually any retarded people in the movie.  It’s Ben Stiller playing a bad actor whose last character was Hollywood’s conception of a retarded person.  Never once do they ridicule an actual retarded person.  And anyway, the quickest way to inspire fear and misunderstanding about a group is to make people feel like they always have to tiptoe around them.  Wanna be part of society? Step 1, learn to take a joke.  Now dance, retard.      

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