March 22, 2009

My blogging is like the Special Olympics or something!

Tragedy of tragedies (and by the thinnest of margins, it is sports-related):
While appearing on "The Tonight Show" to tout his economic plan, President Barack Obama -- who famously rolled a gutter ball while trying to woo primary voters last year -- told Jay Leno that he had been practicing in the White House bowling alley and recently scored an unimpressive 129.

"It's like -- it was like Special Olympics or something," the president said, prompting laughter from the audience.

-- Stacy St. Clair and John McCormick, L.A. Times, 03.21.09
Oh, no! That joke was just the most awful thing. I mean, all right-thinking people would agree that Special Olympians are just as coordinated and skilled as any other elite athletes. Which is why the differently-abled don't need their own, "special" Olympics.

Wait, they do? Hmm.

Look, I'm not saying Obama's "joke" was in good taste. It wasn't. Still, some of the events in the Special Olympics do have a certain awkwardness to them. So if his bowling is somewhat uncoordinated -- and by all accounts, it is -- it's not like the analogy was entirely ill-suited. It wasn't particularly sensitive, either, but let's be honest: For all the truly admirable qualities of Special Olympians -- determination, dedication, and positivity foremost among them -- their athleticism is generally somewhat less impressive. We can all applaud their achievement while acknowledging that the competition isn't exactly world class. To pretend that it is, well, is kind of absurd. So while it's a tad unseemly to make a joke at the expense of the less fortunate, Obama was attempting to poke fun at himself, and on the list of insensitive declarations by the powerful, I'd put it well below this:
Special Olympics bowler: I can beat the president!
I should probably mention that I'm referring to the declaration made by the AP with the headline, not the one by the actual bowler. Anyway, just look at that for a moment. That's an actual headline from an actual AP story. Written by Corey Williams, the item went on the wire and was picked up by hundreds of news organizations. I saw it and had just one thought:


Is there any way that if this story was about a non-mentally disabled person that they would've used an exclamation point in the headline? Fuck no. I mean, it's not even a direct quote, so they can't even justify it by saying the statement was uttered excitedly. So how did it end up in there? My guess is it went something like this:
Associate Editor: I'm gonna tag it "Special Olympics bowler: I can beat the president"

Editor: Yeah, you better throw in an exclamation point at the end there. That's how retards talk.
Seriously, what else could it have been? Even if that's not precisely the way it went down, it didn't just occur randomly; someone made a conscious decision, one that was at least tacitly supported by the powers-that-be. And it was allowed to happen because the AP is, quite frankly, the Worst. Organization. Ever. To wit:
Retail Sales Plunge
October 15, 2008 - 2:47pm
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Retail sales fell off a cliff in September, plunging by the largest amount in three years as worried consumers shunned the malls and auto showrooms in the midst of the country's financial meltdown.

The Commerce Department reported Wednesday retail sales decreased 1.2 percent last month.
That's right. "Plunge" = "-1.2%". I am wholly convinced that sensationalized reporting by the AP has been a major contributing factor in the current economic climate; notice that this story is from October, when the recession hadn't become nearly as severe as it is now. The AP has completely inundated us with this type of cartoonishly-negative hyperbole, affecting the collective subconscious and eroding consumer confidence. Yet for all of the typically over-the-top hysteria used in the story, there was at least one tactic that the AP apparently thought would have crossed the line: using a fucking exclamation point the headline. Nope, gotta save those up for the stories about 'tards. Kudos to you, fine sirs.

1 comment:

  1. “The sign of intelligent people is their ability to control their emotions by the application of reason.” Marya Mannes

    People read "retard" and automatically disregard any opinion that isn't patronizing or sugar coated. Basically, if you aren’t in denial about what the Special Olympics is and/or what it isn’t, you are an insensitive prick.