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When to Say Retard

palin retard

Like us, you may have been surprised to learn (about 20 years ago) that some people frown on the use of the word retard. And every time it’s said again, the same problem pops up. For 20 years! It’s a hilariously retarded misunderstanding that will never go away until someone comes up with a funnier replacement for the word retard. Keep on trucking, mentally challenged. You’re almost there!

Retard as a noun actually dates back to the 1700’s according to etymology types who look into such things, and of course that comes from word retard in the sense of something that was slowed in some way. It picked up prominence in the 20th century as a way to describe people with various mental delays and the juvenile minded amongst us have never looked back. Anything anyone ever did from then on that seemed absent-minded, stupid, clumsy or lacking in forethought could be labeled retarded. Why? Because we were suggesting that someone’s brain wasn’t working quite right. Ha ha, take that, ya retard!

Retard became the vodka of insults, it blended with everything and it was smooth like silk on a hooker’s ass. And slowly, throughout the 1970’s and 80’s, people felt that actual retards were getting the shit end of the stick. Actual retards, of course, being the people who were allowed to be called retards at the time. Because that’s what doctors called people with various cognitive and developmental handicaps and delays. They were called the mentally retarded. But the moment you use a word pejoratively, you can no longer use is descriptively. So it had to be abandoned. And a slew of new terms, like mentally challenged for instance, came in to replace it. Those terms are also no longer acceptable, but we’re not in the present yet. Retarded, we know. Durr.

tiger retard

Strictly speaking “mentally retarded” is 100% devoid of any insinuation or insult and is, in fact, a perfectly reasonable description of someone whose mental faculties are not fully developed. They have been retarded in some way. But it’s offensive now, in the present, to say that, because it’s an insult. People call it the r-word now. The only other words that get that are the f-word (which we can’t say on this site which is totally f*cking retarded) and the n-word (which runs rampant through the comments because we have an RSS feed that goes to a number of institutions peopled by retards. Not the mentally challenged kind, just the retarded ones).

Nonetheless, retard is now embroiled in its most heated battle for survival thanks to people like Sarah Palin who, ironically, are retarded themselves (sorry Republicans, lots of you are swell people but come on. Come on!). The problem is that no one is talking about the same retard any more and that’s what’s confusing anyone. Let’s clarify!

Acceptable: You’ve just held a white fear rally at the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of MLK’s most famous speech. That is retarded.

Acceptable: You are responsible for CBS programming: You are retarded.

Acceptable: New Coke was a retarded idea.

Acceptable: OJ Simpson writing a book in which he hypothetically admits to killing his ex-wife and Ron Goldman was retarded.

Acceptable: Freedom Fries were retarded.

Acceptable: Asking what the definition of “is” is, is retarded

Acceptable: Let’s Get Retarded by the Black Eyed Peas is a retarded song

Acceptable: The anti-mosque-at-ground-zero song is really retarded.

Acceptable: Michael Bay’s filmography is retarded.

Not Acceptable: Corky from Life Goes On? Oh man, he’s my retard!

kanye retard

See what we did there? Yeah you did. The thing Palin and crowd are missing out on is that no one (beyond a few special folks who think overalls are a full outfit) calls people with intellectual delays retards, not any more. That’s a dick move. And it’s not how the word was used in any of the recent instances that have gotten so many panties in a bunch. See, language evolves and words take on new meanings. The word “set” has over 200 definitions in some dictionaries. The word retard can arguably have more than one meaning without people getting all retarded on us. So use it the way it’s meant to be used now. Call Sarah Palin a retard, not her child. Call Glenn Beck a retard, not Corky. And rock on, retards. Rock on.


21 Responses to "When to Say Retard"

  1. spike dawg says:

    As a former retard, I can only say, ahhhh….where was I? Never mind, dammit!!

  2. Al Gore, Internet CEO says:


  3. Ian Fortey says:
  4. StupidBimboInquisitor says:

    Who’s that braindead-looking brunette in the photo, what class is she teaching, and where?

  5. Suck it! says:

    Whatever makes you feel like you’re not alone, Rick. Is this what you tell yourself at night when the demons come?

  6. Jo Denny says:

    LOL, its pretty funny when you think about it dude.


  7. Rick says:

    Gallup poll in July 2009 showed that 40% of Americans identified themselves as conservative while only 21% identify themselves as liberal. Don’t confuse Republican = Conservative and Democrat = Liberal.

    Also, a more recent poll by Rasmussen showed that even a higher number of Americans identify themselves as conservative.

    It’s a conservative country which explains a lot of the distrust and disappointment with the current administration.

  8. Libtards says:

    Libs want it both ways. They want to be able to call people they don’t like retards. But then when you call Obama or Pelosi a retard, they get all indignant. If calling someone a retard is going to become socially acceptable, then all idiots will be called out as retards.

  9. I'mScared says:

    Man, what a world that would be… One little goosestep away from Nazi Germany.

  10. The College Retard says:

    This is the best post I have seen about being able to say retarded. But this site is completely dedicated to people being allowed to say retarded.


  11. Photoshopping pictures is retarded.

  12. Anonymous2 says:

    Sarah Palin is not a conservative. She is a retard.

  13. Rick says:

    Funny — except for the Palin reference. Say what you want, but November will prove me right. You are funny, but conservatives are the majority in the US (poll after poll shows it). It would be “retarded” to piss-off that many potential viewers.

  14. Anonymous3 says:

    Fixed: Your mom is a retard. She is not conservative.

  15. Ian Fortey says:
    I didn’t insult conservatives, I insulted Palin, who is retarded.  I even said conservatives can be cool, it’s just her.  She’s retarded.
  16. Luis Prada says:

    Actually, Rick, conservatives do not make up the majority of Americans. Your comment got me thinking about that idea, so I looked it up. It turns out that there are more independents in the US than anything (but not by much), a majority of which lean more towards the left. But if you want to make the direct comparison between republicans and democrats, democrats have more registered voters by a pretty decent margin.


    Also, apparently, the Democratic Party is the largest political party not only in the United States, but in the world.

    And as for November, yeah, the democrats will probably lose a ton of seats, but really, that’s just a part of the natural ebb and flow of politics. America isn’t like other countries where they’ve all pretty much figured out who and what they want to be and generally vote in that direction (example: England is very left wing, so even their right wingers look like Socialists in the eyes of people like Glenn Beck). In America, who we are politically changes every so often. It’s never a definite thing.

  17. Al Gore, Internet CEO says:

    Don’t listen to Rick. He’s just regurgitating the diarrhea put forth by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and the like.

  18. Dr POoPenHEiNZ says:

    now thats just plain retarted

  19. right says:

    “registered voters”

  20. Olala says:

    I love breasts and that first pic reminds me why.