Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Stealing a page from Mr. Hingsburger

Armed with an e-mail address and phone number for Ben Stiller, I have stolen a page from Dave and have written a letter which I already sent.

Dear Mr. Stiller,

I am writing with the hope that reaching out to you will mean reaching many others. I am of course writing in response to your film “Tropic Thunder.” I do believe that the words you use in the film were not meant to hurt; I do believe that, as you say, you were poking fun at self absorbed actors. Here is the problem, just because you don’t use those words to hurt doesn’t mean they hurt any less. People with intellectual disabilities are the last group of openly oppressed people in our country. Part of the problem is that people don’t “think” about the words they use, the ways in which disability is characterized because they don’t give people with ID/DD a thought. The problem with this is that people with ID/DD can then become a target for people who would categorize them as somehow “less than human,” “less than us.”

Did you know that people with disabilities are abused at alarming rates? Some statistics reflect that 90% of the population of people with intellectual disabilities are abused. This is able to happen so frequently because of how disability is characterized across the globe. I am certain that with this information you would rather do something to stop it rather than inadvertently encourage it. Again, I know that hurt was not your intent however, you must be aware that now teenage boys will have new phrases to brandish as weapons against fellow man. “Full r****d” is already being used, and it will only get worse as more people see the film.

Furthermore, are you aware that about 75% of infants with Down syndrome are aborted before they even get a chance at life? I am sure you can see how this might make Mathew McConaughey’s statement in the film "Well, at least you still have a choice. I'm stuck with mine,” more than a little offensive. You see, there is a belief out there that people with ID/DD have less value than those of us who are typically developed. If you don’t believe me, read about Tracy Latimer, Brent Martin, or Danieal Kelly. Sometimes we are still not much better than the Nazi’s and their t-4 program, and we certainly have only come so far since the eugenics movement and forced sterilizations.

I write this letter to ask you to become educated and perhaps, in turn, educate others. I would also like to thank you in a way. Because of your movie, people are speaking out, self advocates are given the opportunity to stand up for themselves and say “enough!” Maybe, because of that, in a few more years we won’t have to have conversations like this any more.
If you would like to do the same, here is how:
You can call Ben Stiller and leave him a message at 323-602-5000
DreamWorks SKG Studio DreamWorks SKG 1000 Flower Street Glendale, CA 91201 Tel. (818)-695-5000

Take a look at the protests!


rickismom said...

FAB, This letter is FABulos!!!!! I am posting a link to it on my blog... you wrote EXACTLY what I wanted to say myself.

FAB said...

Thanks! I'm glad there are some like-minded people out there, I just read Dave's blog and some of the comments he's gotten on his letter to Ben are scary.