English Funny man Ricky Gervais has been defending himself after a comment he said in a recent show caught the ire of The Daily Record. The creator of The Office apparently was in a bit making fun of Susan Boyle, and called her a “mong”.
For those of us on the other side of the pond, a “mong” is a shorted version of the word mongoloid and at one time referred to people with Down Syndrome. Ricky apologized instantly on his blog.
“I clearly explain that words change and that at no point am I referring to anyone with Down’s syndrome. Not only am I not referring to people with Down’s Syndrome I also explain that I am not associating the word with its old derogatory meaning. I also do it as part of a routine about comedians taking responsibility for everything they say. I hope this is acceptable.”
That clearly seems to be the issue, since the term “mong” hasn’t generally been used as a derisive word for people with Down Syndrome for quite some time. In fact if you use Urban Dictionary (the most sacred of internet texts), the first entry it lists is has nothing to do with Down Syndrome at all.
Apparently the term is so archaic in that context that even The Record admitted that the term is “outdated”.
Leave it to the Brits to screw up a perfectly good chance for a media circus. Even the Down Syndrome Association was pretty half-hearted when it came to actually getting angry at Gervais. Apparently they accepted his apology and said it was a “fully explained and acceptable reply. Please extend our thanks to Ricky for the prompt reply.”
Man, that stereotype of the British being un-abashedly polite is looking to be true.
Not that this is a new concept Americans. Comedians and humorists have been arguing for a change in meaning to the term “faggot” for quite some time. Louis C.K. has a famous bit about it, and South Park even had an entire episode devoted to it.
The only difference is, in America no has had the courage to actually use the term in a different context without having to explain themselves while doing it yet.
Via [Punchline Magazine]