H-h-hi, I'm J-jim Mc-C-c-clure.
July 3, 2001 5:18 PM   Subscribe

H-h-hi, I'm J-jim Mc-C-c-clure. You may reme-me-member me from such c-c-conventions as....
uh...sorry, that was incredibly insensitive.

posted by skwm (43 comments total)
It's Troy McClure. If you're gonna be a jackass, be an accurate jackass.
posted by Optamystic at 5:22 PM on July 3, 2001

''Stuttering has traditionally had a lot of baggage attached to it,'' said Jim McClure, a 20-year veteran of the organization and leader of the group's Chicago chapter. ''People live in fear of stuttering.''
posted by perplexed at 5:31 PM on July 3, 2001

Okay, so I'm the jackass. Same as it ever was.
posted by Optamystic at 5:32 PM on July 3, 2001

There was an article in the NYTimes recently about testing done on orphans before WW2 where the subjects (kids) were used in a very unethical manner. The subject was stuttering if I remember correctly and the effects of the testing (some were reinforced to stutter more) lasted their whole lives even though it seems to be a learned behavior and can be unlearned (or mitigated significantly.) It was a very, very sad story all around.

Anyone remember it?
posted by gen at 5:37 PM on July 3, 2001

No, Optamystic, I still think skwm is the jackass. You made an incorrect assumption, Skwm mocked a group of disabled people for no good reason.
posted by Doug at 5:42 PM on July 3, 2001

i remember seeing a piece on PBS about that very subject. they interviewed a woman who worked for a doctor doing stutter research, and was a 'speech therapist' for some kids, and was able to 'create' stutterers through suggestion.

it was very sad. to this day she recieves hateful letters from people whose lives she ruined, and she treats packages as if they were mail bombs.
posted by o2b at 5:45 PM on July 3, 2001

im telling my nephew about this fellow.
posted by clavdivs at 5:46 PM on July 3, 2001

Ethics & Orphans: the "Monster Study". Two part series from the San Jose Mercury News, scroll down for the links. It tells the story of the Dr. Wendell Johnson studies mentioned above.
posted by girlhacker at 5:47 PM on July 3, 2001

As a stutterer all my life.... im offended... oh wait, not really- but other people could be.
posted by ewwgene at 5:47 PM on July 3, 2001

Yeah, that orphans and stuttering study was linked on MeFi back here.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 5:48 PM on July 3, 2001

skwm, you are the weakest link. goodbye.
posted by rebeccablood at 6:02 PM on July 3, 2001

oh come on! lighten up!

if we're not allowed to make jokes that offend a certain demographic, well... the laughter will stop for fear of offending someone.

you don't see me getting all offended over people making jokes about have large penii do you?

no. so relax. it's just a joke.
posted by jcterminal at 6:59 PM on July 3, 2001

i meant having, goddamnit.
posted by jcterminal at 6:59 PM on July 3, 2001

skwm, how about finding something intelligent to say?
posted by will at 7:44 PM on July 3, 2001

Hi. I'm skwm and I'm an inconsiderate, unfeeling asshole. You may remember me from my comments about people with mental disabilities, little people, and minorities.
posted by tayknight at 7:54 PM on July 3, 2001

if we're not allowed to make jokes that offend a certain demographic, well... the laughter will stop for fear of offending someone.

I don't see anyone here afraid to make jokes that serve some purpose other than offending certain demographics.
posted by harmful at 7:57 PM on July 3, 2001

There is a guy in my office who stutters and I find it kind of sexy. I asked him if women ever said that to him and he said "Yes, all the time". His girlfriend also works in my office and she said it was the thing that attracted her to him in the first place.
posted by culberjo at 8:08 PM on July 3, 2001

I wonder how those of you so easily offended by a mild joke deal with your lives.
Hasn't something horrible enough to put an abstract concept, even an unkind one, into it's proper perspective happened to you yet? What are we, infants?
posted by dong_resin at 8:42 PM on July 3, 2001

dong, I wonder how you deal with other people. hasn't anyone ever treated you horribly for no good reason, enabling you develop even a shred of empathy? what are you,a teenager?

(my apologies to the young people in the thread who have developed empathy.)

never mind that the "joke" just wasn't funny, anyway. - rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 8:51 PM on July 3, 2001

why that's calvinism!

posted by jcterminal at 9:01 PM on July 3, 2001

Th-th-th-that's all, folks!
posted by Opus Dark at 9:15 PM on July 3, 2001

It was a weak joke, rebeccablood, but that's not the point.
There's empathy, and then there is hypersensitivity.
Skwm is not making fun of people who stutter, he was making fun of the concept of stuttering itself, separate from the people it afflicts.

Unclench a wee bit.
posted by dong_resin at 9:22 PM on July 3, 2001

you don't see me getting all offended over people making jokes about have large penii do you?

Well, there are at least two explanations for that, and I'm leaning toward the less charitable one.
posted by anapestic at 9:28 PM on July 3, 2001


lean towards the more charitable one!

/me gives to charity.

posted by jcterminal at 9:37 PM on July 3, 2001

Just speaking for one stutterer here, I wasn't offended, and in fact, found it pretty funny. I spent two years in intensive speech therapy, and one of the most important things they drilled into my head is that the more seriously I take stuttering, and the more anxious I get about it, the worse it will be. What's to be upset about, really? Stuttering does sound funny! I recognized that skwm wasn't making fun of me personally, or anybody in particular, just the affect. Now, if I happen to meet skwm in person, and I falter, and I get a mimick of my mistakes back, I'll change my mind, but that's not what happened here at all.
posted by headspace at 11:03 PM on July 3, 2001

You tossers who think that people who stutter are 'disabled' and need 'protection' offend me more than skwm ever could.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 12:27 AM on July 4, 2001

It's don't mind that some people take offense at things they don't like, but I wish they would develop a better sense of scale and not parade their indignation about at the slightest transgression of their personal limits.

Better stuttering jokes are here, here, and here.
posted by pracowity at 3:50 AM on July 4, 2001

And here.
posted by pracowity at 3:54 AM on July 4, 2001

And here.
posted by pracowity at 4:02 AM on July 4, 2001

I used to work in a hardware store, and one day a lady came up and asked me for a "light light bulb." I thought she was taking the mick, and told her that all light bulbs were light, otherwise there was no point in having them, making a joke about what she'd said.

Then I realised she was stuttering, and I felt sooo bad. But she didn't seem to be offended (and didn't call the manager, thank goodness).

Just thought I'd share that memory.
posted by ajbattrick at 4:12 AM on July 4, 2001

How about the stuttering guy in Pearl Harbor? The girls fell all over him ;-)
posted by emc at 6:13 AM on July 4, 2001

I wonder if all these "offended" folks got offended by the film "A Fish Called Wanda"

"Oh no! K-k-k-Ken is coming to k-k-k-kill me!"

Lighten up, folks. Nothing is more offensive than political correctness.
posted by bondcliff at 8:21 AM on July 4, 2001

stutterer here, and not offended.

are there any stutterers here who were offended by skwm's little joke?
posted by tolkhan at 12:37 PM on July 4, 2001

well, it's funny, this post offended me more than almost anything else I've seen here. I can't say why, really. maybe because it was pointless and mean-spirited. maybe because I was subjected to more than my share of relentless teasing from schoolmates when I was growing up, and now, when I hear something like this, I feel what it's like to be the brunt of a joke.

and I have to say, I'm getting really sick of the "you're political correctness is a pain in my *ss" arguments. my reaction wasn't a result of political correctness: I was genuinely offended. I am always offended by thoughtless unkindness.

discounting someone else's opinion simply because you disagree with them is a poor defense of your actions. the "political correctness" argument is usually used to try to maintain a status quo that favors one group over another, to silence the voices that would point out that not everyone is getting a fair shake.

on mefi it seems most often to be used to defend unkindness. so let me be clear: respect for others does not equal some sort of mindless adherence to an imagined new order.- rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 12:59 PM on July 4, 2001

A lot of humour is pointless and mean-spirited - that's why it's funny. The situation presented to us is inappropriate and thus threatens our boundaries. However, we're in a non-threatening environment. Our brain tries for 'fight or flight', gets 'wtf?' instead and we giggle our asses off involuntarily.

We often cover our mouths or turn red with embarrassment when we laugh at such humour, because we consciously recognise its inappropriateness and understand that we're laughing in spite of our better judgement. It's complete involuntary - it's just the way the brain is wired. Smiling and laughing at the inappropriate is a good survival mechanism - it defuses a threatening social situation.

Thanks to the brain's wiring, the line at which innappropriate material stops being funny and becomes offensive to the point where you'll attack the joker is a very wide one (hence the popularity of dead baby jokes and their ilk).

My brother told me about the time he told this howler at a party - 'What's a foot long, meaty and makes a woman scream? Cot death.' Everybody there pissed themselves laughing - it was was hands-over-the-mouth-leg-crossing-groaning laughter, but it was genuine. Except for the hosts, who had lost a child to cot death. Nice one.

In short, reading about stu-stu-stutterers and having a giggle doesn't make you unkind or insensitive - if you were unkind or insensitive you'd tell stuttering jokes to stutterer's faces without embarrassment. It's just the way people are.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:09 PM on July 4, 2001

you're missing the point here: nothing funny was said. this isn't about how humor works, or what makes something funny, or whether or not something *is* funny.

it's about an unfunny post to the front page to which I, and a number of others, took offense.

everyone seems to agree that it wasn't funny; at issue is whether it is offensive.
posted by rebeccablood at 6:47 PM on July 4, 2001

you're missing the point here: nothing funny was said

So if a joke falls flat it's not a joke? Of course it is.
posted by kindall at 8:53 PM on July 4, 2001

Everyone agrees? I guess that makes me nobody.

Not funny? It took something completely unfunny (an unknown guy called Jim McClure), and tied it to a comedy icon (Troy McClure's by-line), with a speech impediment to boot. It was visual and aural. It required a small mental leap to get all the elements. It relied on 'insider conspiracy' (ie, you had to know the Simpsons to get it). It was f*cking classic.

Perhaps you walked out of 'A Fish Called Wanda', and have a fit whenever one of the many speech-impaired Warner Bros characters opens their mouths. Fit? But I've made fun of epileptics now, haven't I? Must burn my 'Flying Circus' DVDs - the 'Ministry of Funny Walks' sketch mocks people with gross motor disorders. And that episode of the Simpson's where Bart pretends to have Tourette's Syndrome - disgraceful. George Costanza's father's breasts? Those insensitive bastards!

Incidentally, why are you offended? Do you stutter? Or do you just feel the need to take on the causes of others even though you've got next to zero idea about how they really feel and what they really experience? I can see a few replies here from people who do stutter, and none of them were offended.

I think you're having a bit of a *makes bent-wrist-hand-shaking-head-rocking-tongue-lolling-eyes-rolling-grunting-noise spastic impersonation* over nothing. Get yourself a Steady Eddie CD and chill.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 11:59 PM on July 4, 2001

I just reckon skwm weakened the joke by inline-apologizing!

uh...sorry, that was insensitive too, wasn't it?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:36 AM on July 5, 2001

Jesus H. Christ people, don't you have jobs, bills or other concerns?

Harmless jokes are just that...harmless.

RCB- I think your diaper may need changing. If you don't like the contents don't click the thread.
posted by ttrendel at 3:17 AM on July 5, 2001

> on mefi [PC] seems most often to be used to defend
> unkindness. so let me be clear: respect for others
> does not equal some sort of mindless adherence to
> an imagined new order.- rcb

I agree. People are accused of being PC like people used to be accused of being communist, and the accusers, then and now, are of course usually the foaming-at-the-mouth sort.
posted by pracowity at 4:07 AM on July 5, 2001

"everyone seems to agree that it wasn't funny"

Please don't speak for everyone here. While not the funniest post I've ever seen on Mefi I did find some humor in it.

Even funnier is the way so many people's panties are all in a bunch over it.
posted by bondcliff at 5:58 AM on July 5, 2001

Hello, my name is Eric... and I s-s-tutter too.

I centainly didn't find that offensive. Hell, I find stuttering hilarious... especially when I get flustered during a rank-out contest.

It's also a very controllable condition... so it's not as cruel as, say, selling a headless bird to a blind kid like "Dumb & Dumber".

Uh...Come to think of of it, that was pretty f**king hilarious too!

Perhaps you walked out of 'A Fish Called Wanda'
They ended up censoring all that for TV, and butchered the damn film, didn't they? Politically-correct people need to be shotshipped off to their own island. Humor is *always* at someone's expense.
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 11:55 AM on July 7, 2001

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