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What do you do when people FIGHT for the right to insult your child?

Posted Feb 20 2010 8:22am
Family Guy. Admittedly I have never watched a single episode of it. I made the presumption that it would be the same as picking out a seat at the back of the school bus. The spot the sixth and seventh grade kids like to occupy. I'd go to the dentist's chair before that bus seat.

It has come to my, and just about everyone's attention that in the latest episode, written by Seth MacFarlane, featured the voice of an actress with Down syndrome to play the part of an animated woman with Down syndrome. The writer of the show slyly used Andrea Friedman to lob a bomb at Sarah Palin, and her son Trig. Andrea played the part of a date to one of the Family Guy's main characters. Here are the words to the song played on the show, to give you a better feel for the episode:

“You’ve got to look your best tonight, you tubby little parasite
‘Cause there’s a lovely lady and she’s waiting for you.
And though her pretty face may seem
A special person’s wettest dream
Before you get to see it there are things you must do.
We’ll try a tie, and boutonniere of yellow.
A rose that shows that you’re a classy fellow.
With a posh panache of Jefferson at Monticello,
Busting out a mile with style.
I know you just can’t wait to stare
At all that luscious orange hair
But boy before you touch a single curl
You must impress that ultra boomin’,
All-consumin’, poorly groomin’
Down syndrome girl.
On any normal day you reek
As if you’re on a farting streak,
Your fingers up your nose and you are dripping with drool.
But if you want a lady’s love,
You’re better off by smelling of
A gentleman’s cologne instead of sneakers and stool.
A squirt, a spurt of something just for Ellen
And you’ll see that she will find you so compellin’.
And she does because the only smell that she’ll be smellin’
Won’t be comin’ from your bum.
You want to take that little whore
And spin her on the dancing floor
But boy, before you do a single twirl –
You must impress that effervescing,
Self-possessing, no-BS-ing
Down syndrome girl.
Her eyes are emerald portals to a secret land of love
And her smile is like the sweetest summer flower.
Her kiss is so inviting, and her hugs are so delighting.
And what makes them really nice is that they’ve got a little spice
Because they’re tighter than a vice and they go on for an hour.
My boy, between the two of us we’ll get you on that shorty bus.
And then you’re going to take it for a whirl.
Now go impress that super-thrilling,
Wish-fulfilling, Yoo-Hoo-spilling,
Ultra-swinging, boner-bringing,
Daily singing, ding-a-linging
Stupefying, fortifying,
Stimulating, titillating,
Kitty-cat impersonating,
Mega-rocking, pillow talking,
Just a little crooked walking,
Poorly pouting, boobies sprouting,
For some reason always shouting,
Fascinating, captivating,
Happiness and joy creating
Down syndrome girl


Don't you feel uncomfortably juvenile after that?

This is just the latest in an ongoing media battle with Sarah Palin. We all know that the media will find a tender spot and do it's worst. Apparently Trig is the open door for the media fanatics who disagree with Sarah Palin's politics. Unfortunately the media types are unaware that moms of kids with DS have been complaining about the r-word ad infinitum for years. There are hundreds of articles and blogs and organizations and self advocates that denounce the use of the r-word. Why is Sarah Palin not allowed to?

Well, she is. Just like any mom of a child with Down syndrome, it is her duty to. But the media is going to use Trig, just like the writer of Family Guy used Ms. Friedman, to take down Sarah Palin. It's too bad for all of our kids that the media's modus operandi has to come at a cost to all of our kids. You may dislike Sarah Palin, but how can you not despise the media for how they are dealing with this? Ms. Friedman defended her role in a statement to the NYT.

I guess former Governor Palin does not have a sense of humor. I thought the line
“I am the daughter of the former governor of Alaska” was very funny. I think
word is “sarcasm.” In my family we think laughing is good. My
parents raised me to have a sense of humor and to live a normal life.

Supposedly she went on to add

My mother did not carry me around under her arm like a loaf of French bread
the way former Governor Palin carries her son Trig around looking for sympathy
and votes.

I have a hard time believing those are Ms. Friedman's thoughts. Maybe they are, but they are ill-conceived. I have a hard time believing that Ms. Friedman dismisses her own mother's love and support as part of her own success. Her words belie her role as a self advocate when she says "...looking for sympathy...". If the very appearance of a person with DS evokes "sympathy" to Ms. Friedman she hasn't come very far has she?

As I mentioned, advocating for people with Ds has been around a lot longer than Trig Palin. Parents of kids with Ds pick up the torch the moment they realize that in a world that supposedly embraces tolerance and diversity and acceptance, kids with disabilities get the chump change leftovers after homosexuals/blacks (and other liberal pet diversities) get their pieces of the tolerance pie first.
What kind of mother would I be if I did not stand up for my kids? My son’s siblings might also have something to say about the elementary school humour (scratch that, of all the schools my kids have attended, they have never heard such demeaning, low-brow humour).

There is no hay to be made with this type of humour, just political points. If this is MacFarlane’s politics then let everyone know. Let the world know that this is the currency of the left, to marginalize and manipulate, to belittle and condemn. Make that the headline here, not that Sarah Palin is writing the exact same thing that parents of kids with Ds have been writing/publishing/blogging about for YEARS.

I suspect that Friedman is unaware of how she has been used by MacFarlane. I fault her parents for that. Self advocates who have Ds have spent tireless hours raising awareness, raising expectations and demanding respect for people with differences. I can’t imagine they look upon the Friedman family’s tradition of humour as anything but a slap in the face.

Nevermind though, parents like us will keep fighting to raise the the bar in a world that embraces the most base thoughts. Some of us parents blog away to an audience of a dozen, some of us write to an audience of millions. God bless us all.

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