Ted Nugent tried to be clever yesterday when posted an “openletter” to the media who he believes are dishonest and sneaky in which he called them all “retards.” Instead, the Ted Nugent of “He’s Ted Nugent” fame ended up insulting Trig Palin instead of the media he was addressing and just in time for him to hang out with Sarah Palin on her Sportsman Channel show. Depending on the shooting schedule of the show, it may already be too late for her to talk to the infamously conservative rocker about his insult to her son who has Down Syndrome, but whether or not she will say anything about it is still an open question. Palin has a habit of defending politically incorrect conservatives she likes who have used the term as an insult before so the betting pool at the “evil media” headquarters should be competitive.
The message Nugent posted (which can be seen below in its uncensored glory) was meant to be insulting. It really was. The regular columnist for notoriously crackpot site World Net Daily was trying to make a point. The only point that was really taken is that his editor for the column must be a very overworked person. The message he typed himself was riddled with errors, including “openletter” and a distinct lack of very necessary commas. Of course, this is par for the course on the internet, so it really does not matter much. What matters a lot more (to both his ideological opposites and supporters) was the use of the R-word in the meme he posted.
The internet is no stranger to memes and they tend to circulate with some regularity, like the way ocean tides sweep trash to one specific place in the ocean. This particular meme, however, has caused trouble for the famous people who have used it. Former Bachelor star Juan Pablo Galavis used it back in March of 2014 and no one was happy with him (though apparently no one liked him anyway for different reasons). He claimed that as a native Spanish speaker that it was excusable because in his home country of Venezuela, the R-word is not an insult. That might be news to Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, who used it to insult the Colombian defense minister back in 2009.
Nugent, however, cannot claim that English is not his first language and that he did not understand how offensive the term was, especially since he is on record as saying that non-English speakers should leave America. Though it might be amusing if he tried to explain that his real first language is “American” because he is not from England. That in itself, however, is an internet meme, so perhaps it is only a matter of time before he posts that, too. As of now, Nugent is unrepentant about his use of the R-word as an insult, despite some of his own supporters voicing their concern and anger about it. Instead, he seems to have doubled down and lumped anyone who disagrees with the word as one of the very “numbnuts” he was talking about in the first place.
So much for Ted “I should probably get this cat scratch fever checked” Nugent. The story would be nothing more than another eye-roll worthy instance of someone on the internet trying to be insulting and failing miserably, but Sarah Palin has actually saved the day for once and provided the story with a bit of intellectual heft.
Nugent’s turn on her Sportsman Channel show Amazing America with Sarah Palin has caused many to speculate about whether she will chastise him for using the term like she did liberal politician Rahm Emanuel. After all, she has likened it to using the N-word as an insult and has expressed her own consternation on behalf of her son Trig, who has Down Syndrome. This is one issue where Sarah Palin actually makes a good point: This “slur on all God’s children with cognitive and developmental disabilities –- and the people who love them – is unacceptable, and it’s heartbreaking.”
It would make sense for the outspoken former Alaska governor to say something to fellow Tea Party hero Ted Nugent on the subject, but there is just one problem. When Rush Limbaugh used the term she defended him, creating a double standard that makes it difficult to predict what she will do next. According to The Huffington Post, she read the quote from Limbaugh and said, “They [liberal media] are kooks, so I agree with Rush Limbaugh.” This is enough to be ridiculous, but she went on to further explain why she was not angry with the conservative shock jock. “Rush Limbaugh was using satire… I didn’t hear Rush Limbaugh calling a group of people whom he did not agree with ‘f-ing retards.'” Except he did and he was not being satirical. At all.
So apparently it is okay to use the word as an insult if you are conservative and Sarah Palin already likes you. If she does not like you and she disagrees with your politics, then you cannot use that word and she will make sure you know how bad it is. It is hard to say what is more disturbing, this hypocritical belief system or the fact that she seemingly has no idea what satire is.
Ted Nugent trying to address the media was instead an insult to Trig Palin and every other person with a mental and cognitive disability out there. It was a stupid and immature stunt on the part of a man who has already opened himself up for ridicule time and time again. But it does open up Palin and other conservatives who may agree with her for examination of their double standards. Everything they do is fine and only liberals do bad things, like use the R-word as an insult. Sadly, the only people this will end up hurting are people like Trig Palin and others who are disabled. As Dony Knight, a Special Olympics athlete from Oregon who has Down Syndrome, says, “When you say the ‘R’ word it makes people feel bad and it hurts my feelings and I don’t want to hear you guys say it.” Not saying the R-word is not “political correctness.” It is kindness and it is something that is sadly lacking in Ted Nugent and this whole situation.
Opinion By Lydia Bradbury
Media Matters for America 1
Media Matters for America 2
Media Matters for America 3
Top image by Mike Licht – Flickr License