This week’s Family Guy featured a female high school student with Down’s Syndrome who was a demanding bitch and at one point says, “My mom is the former governor of Alaska.” There was also a song, led by baby Stewie, about sex with a girl who has Down’s Syndrome.
Naturally, Sarah Palin and daughter Bristol Palin lost their shit over it. And frankly, I don’t disagree with them, up to a point.
Sarah Palin, a public figure with whom I’ve been known to disagree on damned near everything, had this to say:
People are asking me to comment on yesterday’s Fox show that felt like another kick in the gut. … Bristol was one who asked what I thought of the show that mocked her baby brother, Trig (and/or others with special needs), in an episode yesterday. Instead of answering, I asked her what she thought. Here is her conscientious reply, which is a much more restrained and gracious statement than I want to make about an issue that begs the question, ‘when is enough, enough?’
Mrs. Palin then turned the proverbial microphone over to her daughter Bristol, who had this to say on the subject:
When you’re the son or daughter of a public figure, you have to develop thick skin. … My siblings and I all have that, but insults directed at our youngest brother hurt too much for us to remain silent. People with special needs face challenges that many of us will never confront, and yet they are some of the kindest and most loving people you’ll ever meet. Their lives are difficult enough as it is, so why would anyone want to make their lives more difficult by mocking them?
As a culture, shouldn’t we be more compassionate to innocent people – especially those who are less fortunate? Shouldn’t we be willing to say that some things just are not funny? Are there any limits to what some people will do or say in regards to my little brother or others in the special needs community? If the writers of a particularly pathetic cartoon show thought they were being clever in mocking my brother and my family yesterday, they failed. All they proved is that they’re heartless jerks.
So yeah, they’re upset, and understandably so considering their family’s personal stake in the treatment of persons with disabilities.
I WAS on the verge of saying “Get over yourself, not everything in the world centers around YOU!” But then I remembered, the show specifically brought Sarah Palin into the fray with that one line about the character’s mother being the former governor of Alaska. Damn you, Seth MacFarlane — you set her up with a valid reason to take it personally!
Sarah Palin aside, I did think the episode was in poor taste. I laughed at times, but at other times I just stared at the screen with my jaw open. At some points I tried to do both at the same time, unwillingly.
For a show that’s given us matricidal neo-Nazi babies, an alcoholic dog, and a pedophiliac neighbor with a walker, I guess they’ve got to keep raising the bar to maintain shock value.
Which is frankly terrifying — what’s next?!