Danielle Bean, a wife and mother of eight, is editorial director of Faith & Family magazine and author of My Cup of Tea, Mom to Mom, Day to Day, and most recently Small Steps for Catholic Moms. Read more of her blogging at Faith & Family Live and DanielleBean.com.
You know what they say about publicity. Even the bad kind is good?
With the recent release of her latest movie The Switch, Jennifer Aniston certainly seems to be taking any kind she get.
First, she made her now infamous assertion that women don’t need husbands and children don’t need fathers to make a family.
Bill O’Reilly took her task for those statements and then was publicly chastised for having the nerve to point out the value of the traditional family. The NCRegister’s own Tim Drake also blogged on the topic and I took it up in a recent column at the Washington Post.
But now Aniston appears to be stepping in it again. She recently made a joke in which she referred to herself as “a retard” and advocacy groups such as the Special Olympics have taken offense.
“Special Olympics is always disappointed when the R-word is used, especially by someone who is influential to society,” the organization said in a statement.
Though I do find the use of the word “retard” offensive, I also know that it can relatively easy to put your foot in your mouth when speaking publicly. It must be difficult for celebrities to have their every word recorded and picked apart by people just waiting to be offended. I have more sympathy for Aniston in this case than I do in the previous one, where she very thoughtfully rejected the traditional family along with the importance of husbands and fathers.
But words do matter.
In fact, the state of New Jersey just passed legislation banning use of the word “retarded” in state laws or rules.
“We’d like New Jersey to get to a place where you can’t use the ‘R’ word without it being inflammatory,” said one Arc executive. The bill also bans the use of terms like physically handicapped, feeble-minded, and physically defective ... all of which currently appear in state laws and regulations.
If an entire state finds the “r” word offensive enough to make a law banning it, individuals should avoid using it as well. Aniston should apologize for her slip-up.