balder wrote:Troy T: These characters are who they are. They are true to themselves, warts and all. If you want to believe that a character like Parson would never make a crack like that, that would be one argument. Do you think that? That a fat twentysomething gamer from Ohio would never make a retard joke?
I can imagine someone like Parson, were he real, making a comment as you described. I am not naive to think that those kinds of words are never used. But that was not my point.
You seem to be suggesting that every character in every work of fiction must be written with perfect sensitivity, lest they offend any readers for any reason. You seem to be suggesting that all fiction should pretend that bad things and offensive attitudes don't exist, by never portraying them.
I never wrote or thought that every work of fiction must be written with perfect sensitivity, etc. I know what the real world is like and I can separate fiction from reality. The real issue is what words the AUTHOR chooses to use--not the characters. I have read hundreds of novels from many different genres and cannot recall having come across language derogatory toward people with special needs. Why? Because either by choice or coincidence the author chose not to cross that line.
An author cannot comment significantly upon reality by misrepresenting it. Erfworld is the best, truest story I can write. Retaining you as a reader is not worth giving up that principle.
As an author you have the awesome responsibility/privilege of influencing your readers. By using language derogatory in your literary works toward a sect of people based on their race, religion, sex, color, creed, or mental capacity you are demonstrating to your readers that this sort of prejudice is acceptable. Would Parson call an African American the "N" word? Would Parson use anti-semitic language toward a Jewish person? Would Parson mock an American Indian with crude imitation of one of their war cries? I doubt it. Instead, you picked a group of people who rarely are able to defend themselves--a group of people who are the butt of every joke that makes fun of a person who lacks intelligence (often times in self-deprecation).
I fight for awareness. I have made you aware. Your choice to use or not use language that hurts those with special needs lies with you. I bear you and your comic readers no ill. I simply hope that you make the right choice in not perpetuating the derision that is cast on people with special needs by using hurtful words.
In closing, I offer this link that I hope you will watch with an open heart and open mind: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRUOL5Rm2XY