Tag Archives: r-word

Dear Netflix, thank you for the character of David on “Travelers”

9 Jan

Josh and I have been watching “Travelers”, a Netflix Original Series. He started watching it during season one because he ran out of “Continuum”, so this was suggested (as Netflix does), and I happened to be in the room when he started watching it.

We both got sucked in.

Be warned, there may be spoilers.



[Image description – River Song from “Doctor Who”, smirking, and the word “Spoilers”]

“Travelers” is about people who come to the 21st century from a much more dire future time, trying to fix what went wrong. There’s protocols, and The Director, and other such things. Travelers arrive seconds before a human in the 21st century is about to die, and basically take over their body with their consciousness that’s been sent from the future (it’s a fine moral like, as they’re not taking a life, but they are assuming one, friends and relatives included.)

One traveler is sent into the body of Marcy, an intellectually disabled woman. Marcy has a case worker, David, who instantly notices Marcy goes from an almost illiterate woman who speaks slowly (can we say verbal apraxia?) to a well-spoken, literate, obviously above normal intelligence woman overnight.

Marcy – and therefore David – become a storyline in the show. David is the nicest of all the guys who, when everyone decides Marcy must have been defrauding people for those sweet sweet disability benefits, jumps to her defense. He doesn’t think she’s a cheat or was using the system. He just thinks that obviously some sort of miracle must have happened.

By the fourth episode, I worried more about David, a secondary character, more than most of the main characters. Because they wrote him to be exactly who I would want to be working with and caring for Maura someday. They showed how he paid for things for his clients out of pocket. How he knew what would help calm them, what their favorite foods were, where they were sleeping on the streets. During a pandemic during the second season, he went straight to the shelter to make sure his clients were okay, were cared for – because someone had to, and that someone was him. When he won the lottery, he gave it all to the people he worked for.

He is, for all intents and purposes, a perfect human being. He is who we all should try to be more like. He is the guy I’d want as Maura’s case worker. And that’s saying a lot.

But last night, as season two was winding up, there was a scene where the one character who’s been an asshole the whole first season, and is a recovering asshole in season two, reverts to his asshole ways when talking about Marcy to David.

He called Marcy “the retarded girl”.

I held my breath.

“That’s a hateful word.” David replied.

And I may have yelled “YES!”

David didn’t let me down.

Yes, they used the world I dislike. But then they addressed its ugliness. It was said to be ugly, by someone who’s behavior was ugly in the show.

And then, it’s ugliness was called out.

“That’s a hateful word.”

And the next time the recovering asshole mentions Marcy – two sentences later – he uses a more appropriate phrase – “mentally disabled”.

He was called out on his ugly behavior and it made a difference. David, once again, showed how to make a difference.

There was no big lecture, no big drama around the use of the word “retarded” – just a simple but pointed addressing of it – “That’s a hateful word.” – coming from a man who devoted his life to the people society overlooks or ignores.

For all I’ve seen people defend the use of the word “retarded” in shows and music and books because “that’s just how people speak”, I’ve never seen where then the use of the word is questioned by another character. It’s usually dropped by someone and then life carries on.

But not this time.

This time, some writer for Netflix deliberately chose it. And then deliberately chose to call it out for what it was – a hateful word. And then showed the one who use the word choose a different phrase.

Because while it is a word some people use still, there are those of us who are willing to call them out for that use.

And apparently, Netflix is now one of us.

So thank you Netflix. I know it was just two lines in one episode of a show, but dang if it didn’t mean the world to this mama.

Note – I was totally not paid in any way to endorse this show. No compensation was earned. I do totally recommend this show if you are sorta into sci-fi and like well-rounded characters. 


Okay, I am now writing from the Great Beyond.

Because when sharing this on Twitter, I did what good social media gurus are told to do – tag and hashtag.

And I got a response.

I got three responses.

First, from Eric McCormack, yeah, the lead actor in the show (and also producer for at least Season 1.) 



[image description – tweet from Eric McCormack]  – “Great Letter, Phoebe, thank you. The writer was @ken_kabatoff, and @bradtravelers created David for @PatrickGilmore because there is no one better at being a great human being.”


And then Patrick Gilmore, the actor who plays David, chimed in –



[image description – tweet from Patrick Gilmore] “Thank you for your letter, @herdingcatsblog. That scene was all @ken_kabatoff & @bradtravelers. I was blessed to have an Aunt with Down Syndrome. I got into fights in grade school with anyone who used the “R” word. I hugged Ken when I read that line 🙂 @TRVLRSseries @netflix”

And THEN, this appeared from the WRITER HIMSELF, Ken Kabatoff –



[image description – tweet from Ken Kabatoff] “I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying.


So now I’m dead, but in a good way.

Now everyone, go watch this show. Because it obviously is made up of a bunch of really decent human beings – and because I already need Season 3.







I’m just gonna leave this here

9 Jan


(In case you don’t know why this is so freaking hilariously spot-on – Ms. Coulter has a fetish for using the R-word unapologetically.)

And now, for a rebuttal

2 Mar

One reader – Beebe – couldn’t figure out how to leave comments on today’s blog post – The four types of people you’ll meet on “Spread the Word to End the Word” Day – an #rword post

Beebe left it elsewhere on my blog, but since they felt their words were so very important to leave me that they were forced to search out another blog post to leave their commentary on, I feel like I should also share, so the whole world can see and learn.

And now, Beebe’s Words of Wisdom –

“Well, this seems to be YOUR problem in that you cannot or will not accept your child is retarded – literally. It obviously hurts you to hear it spoken even when the reference is not about your kid. So it seems the problem is not in other people and how they talk, but with you.
Your issue is that you want other people to stop hurting you. Good luck with that. More of your issue is to make people stop hurting your kid. Good luck with that too.
Here’s the way your generation is dealing with this problem (not just the use of words, but anything that makes you feel lower than someone else): 1) make it politically incorrect to categorize or define other people in the way you are wounded, no matter the truth of it, and shame others when they do so; 2) use social media to stand on a soapbox and browbeat others into accepting your point of view; 3) rain a hail of vicious comments and self righteous diatribe against anyone who disagrees with you.
Here’s the way people in former generations dealt with this problem: 1) rose above it and realized name calling is just name calling (sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me); 2) taught their children people who used names and categories to diminish the worth of others are themselves very flawed, but you should not imitate them; 3) denying what you ARE in reality does not work, (if you are the mother of a retarded child, that is a fact) so it’s best to ignore those who would marginalize you and live your own life in a most honorable and exemplary way, rising above pettiness and judgement of others. Since you know what it is to be categorized and shamed by a word, to call out others on that is doing to them what they do to you, and the self righteousness is just perpetrating and justifying the same action by yourself.
Do some self reflection on how much having a retarded child hurts you, and realize you are just angry at the world for seeing what you would rather not. Because being the source of retardation makes you flawed too. (Shock!!! OH NO!!)
I know your generation hates hard words of wisdom, so take it or leave it. But just like facing there’s a leak in the roof and it needs to be fixed, denial is not going to make it all go away, and blaming and shaming others isn’t either. Reality is reality. It’s not other people’s comments that are causing your pain. It’s your sorrow at the situation you are in, and your child’s condition.”


Now Beebe…

I do wonder…how old do you think I am, with all your talk of “Your Generation”? Also, have you read any other of my blog posts? Seriously curious about that one. I do appreciate you taking time out of what must be a busy day for you to share your knowledge and insights with me. I didn’t know I was upset by having a retarded daughter. I need to realize that. And the fact that I am flawed. *sigh* I have a lot of accepting to do. Maybe you can help me love myself and my daughter more…by coming over and cleaning my kitchen while I reflect quietly upon your words?


Me, with Maura, hiding my anger and despair.


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