A conservative pundit has reignited the debate around the word retard by using it as a slur.

Advocates for people with intellectual disabilities are taking the opportunity to renew their call to “end the r-word”. Is it insensitive to use the word retarded this way, or is it just another sense of the word with a different meaning? Does it do any good to declare certain words off-limits?

Linguist Daniel Midgley gets it started on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Show notes

Coulter’s tweet
http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/23/living/ann-coulter-obama-tweet/index.html

John Franklin Stephens’ response
http://specialolympicsblog.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/an-open-letter-to-ann-coulter/

Coulter doubles down
http://mediamatters.org/blog/2012/10/25/ann-coulter-continues-to-use-offensive-term-ret/190939
http://www.alan.com/2012/10/25/coulter-in-radio-interview-doubles-down-on-use-of-r-word/

Weak sauce from Coulter: “Language police”
http://www.examiner.com/article/ann-coulter-has-had-it-with-the-language-police

The Piers Morgan episode
http://samuel-warde.com/2012/10/piers-morgan-destroys-ann-coulter-over-retard-remark/

You can pledge not to use the R-word
http://www.r-word.org/

And you can not say ‘that’s so gay’.
http://www.thinkb4youspeak.com/

About gay: Dan Savage, gay sex advice columnist, responds to a gay reader who tells him to stop using ‘gay’ to mean ‘stupid and lame’. Listen from about 36:00.
http://www.thestranger.com/SavageLovePodcast/archives/2009/03/02/savage-love-episode-124

How about ‘dumb’? The ‘stupid’ sense of the word has been around since 1823.
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=dumb&allowed_in_frame=0

Meanwhile, retard qua loser: only since 1968, according to Oxford.