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March 29, 2006 | Read comments | Post a comment

Morgan Spurlock's Apology

Morgan Spurlock's exercise in free speech last week seems discouragingly similar in feel to the nastiness emanating from Tara McAvoy's death, which we wrote about in yesterday's World-O-Blogs entry.

The filmmaker who ate nothing but McDonald's meals for a month for his Oscar-nominated film "Super Size Me" gave what the Associated Press called "a profanity-laced, politically incorrect speech" at suburban Philadelphia's Hatboro-Horsham High School last week.

Spurlock joked about the intelligence of McDonald's employees, about "retarded kids in the back wearing helmets" ... The special education students in the back row were led by teachers out of the hourlong presentation. ( Read article.)

Hundreds of news outlets picked up the story -- and the subsequent one, in which he -- you guessed it -- apologized. Lot of that going around.

Initially he'd told reporters "he's never had a complaint after giving similar talks at other high schools and colleges." That's easy for him to say. Who's to know? His apology, it seems clear, was motivated by pressure more than any real change of heart.

The similarity to the Tara McAvoy fallout is found in the initial AP story:

Most of the 700 students laughed, gave him a standing ovation and mobbed him for autographs....

"The greatest lesson those kids learned today was the importance of free speech," Spurlock said.

Free speech is a good thing. It's also common shibboleth that rolls off the tongues of an awful lot of boorish reprobates, bullies who hide behind its high-toned meaning to cover up their own stunning lack of character.

I daresay this sophomoric stuff isn't what the Founding Father's had in mind. Nonetheless, I'm not advocating censorship. What I advocate is more free speech.

I think. Now, though, we get commentators who use words like "idiot" to castigate Spurlock for calling folks "retards."...

Posted by mjohnson on March 29, 2006 09:14 AM


A spurious apology? Sorry, sometimes I can't help myself when it comes to puns. :)

I think this blog entry provides an interesting response. The blogger responds to the removal of the disabled students from the room:

The act of removing those with special needs from the auditorium so they can't enjoy a speech that actually includes them in a joke shows your ignorance of what it really means to be disabled. It also sets a bad example for the rest of the school. Mr. Spurlock went on for an hour after that, so it must mean it's OK to joke about the retarded so long as they're not present. Let's make it easier for the "norms" to laugh by removing the ones being made fun of. If you had a public speaker who made a joke about African-Americans, would the teachers lead out all of the black students from the room? What do you think would happen if the teachers tried this? Don't you think you'd get serious attitude from the black students? Of course you would. So why is it OK to treat the disabled like this?

From: http://community.livejournal.com/no_pity/431950.html

Posted by: L N on March 29, 2006 09:21 PM

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