Adopting a Mentally Ill Baby with a Terminal Illness

Sarah Silverman
Sarah Silverman

Sarah Silverman talks to Bill Maher about why her appearance at the TED conference, curated and invented by my ex-boss and Future Publishing founder Chris Anderson, was met with disapprobation.

To be exact, Mr Anderson tweeted that Ms Silverman was “God awful”. The video of her performance was never aired. Now, I have not only got a connection to this by dint of the fact that Chris Anderson was a former boss. I was also the father of a seriously disabled child who died in 2005.

There’s been some misunderstanding about this post.

I used to work at the Australian Caption Centre. Once upon a time a copy of South Park came in featuring a character called Timmy – you know the guy, cerebral palsy. So, rather than get me to caption the episode, I was taken aside by some really good-willed people. They were sure that I’d be offended by the sight of an actual disabled person being portrayed in a satirical cartoon.

I watched the episode and was happy as happy could be that Timmy was portrayed as a character. Not an evil genius. Not a pitiable caricature (thanks Nick Cage). Not a ‘Token’. Timmy was there. More people were offended for me and my daughter than I was. More people were made uncomfortable by a home truth than I was. The home truth? Heavily disabled people exist.

I think that Sarah Silverman’s thought-catalyst (as I’m sure the people at TED would say over the sound of heads nodding at the same speed as headbangers at a Slayer gig) offended people on that basis. Also on the basis that, yes, there are a lot of kids out there already. Yes, the retarded ones need love too. Yes, in a great number of cases, such as mine, those kids will die before their parents do. Those are real thoughts.

In short: I actually agree with Sarah Silverman on this one. Thanks for bringing it up.

PS: why were you so rubbish when you came to England though?

Watch the clip

4 thoughts on “Adopting a Mentally Ill Baby with a Terminal Illness

  1. Moved. Wish it hadn’t become adversarial, but I guess that’s how life is. Is it bad that I still want to shag Sarah Silverman?

    See, just one sentence can make you think someone else is even worse. In my case, shallow as a puddle of pond spill. :)

  2. Hmmm I don’t think she is being genuine.

    Retarded is a word that is bandied about in GenY as a derrogative term. Her choice to us it seems provoking – add fuel to the fire I saying “I want one that’s going to die soon”. It made me angry – no one chooses that way of life.

    Bob you are only human she’s shaggable but wear earplugs!!!

    1. Linda said: Hmmm I don’t think she is being genuine.

      Given that she’s also done a deal of work for Autism charities and events, and give that she’s kindly responded directly to me about this post, I can say that she is being genuine.

      Linda said: Retarded is a word that is bandied about in GenY as a derrogative term. Her choice to us it seems provoking – add fuel to the fire I saying “I want one that’s going to die soon”. It made me angry – no one chooses that way of life.

      It is provoking and it’s meant to be, it’s the kind of humour provokes. In this case she is drawing attention to the use of the word. It’s also a word that technically does have a direct meaning in this case.
      When it comes to the fact that she makes people aware of the fact that disabled and retarded kids often do die earlier than their parents – and are therefore even less likely to be adopted but very likely to be abandoned or laid into homes – I applaud that truth telling, albeit a violent, tragic truth – not being couched in mawkish sentiment. It’s certainly as appropriate as being told again and again, “You’re so brave…”
      Tim

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