I had an idea I was working on for a post, and I will revisit it shortly (as it has been demanded of me), but something happened last week that derailed that for now, because I just have to bring it up to you all.
I heard about a patient who came in with an eye problem (as they do). Usual stuff, but at one point in her description of her problem, she dropped this bomb:
“And then my eye starts swelling up, and I look like those retarded children….”
OK. Hold on. Full stop.
Now, I’m thinking she was referring to someone with Down’s syndrome, which I know is not strictly the same thing. But crazy old cranks don’t split enough hairs about these sorts of things.
Here’s what’s really troubling about this statement, other than its very existence: the casualness of it. It wasn’t a statement made loudly to incite or anger; it was said very matter-of-fact. “You know, like those retarded children. You’ve seen them everywhere,” and I’m supposed to reply back, “Oh yes, those children. With their swollen eyes.”
This is the kind of stuff that would lead me to block someone on Facebook. This is the kind of stuff that has led me to block someone on Facebook, mainly because I don’t want to put up the fight required to argue or even kindly discuss the pigheadedness of the statement before me. This is every “OBAMA IS A SOCIALIST BENT ON KILLING AMERICA” or “IF EVERYONE WERE ARMED IN AURORA THAT GUY WOULDN’T HAVE KILLED ANYONE” that makes me bristle with rage, precisely because it’s said with such expectation of agreement.
“Yes, certainly, if elementary school teachers were packing Glocks, there wouldn’t have been so many funerals in Newtown.”
I don’t know which is worse: the angry rhetoric of the loudmouth bigot, or the sly bomb-drop of the casual bigot. The casual bigot has his hatred so self-ingrained, he wonders why people don’t just agree with him, and that’s a bit creepier to me.
Of course, the loudmouth is probably rallying together something scary, so maybe keep an eye out for him too. In fact, let’s just all keep a lookout for bigotry and ignorance in all forms. Better that way.