manicmedic has done a great job at gathering all of the “bad stigma actors” we’ve been talking about lately into one place. He’s also reprinted the entry in the Associated Press (AP) Style Book, which is their internal guideline, on how to write about mental illness related topics. I didn’t know there were such guidelines, but now that I do I’m even more horrified to see what’s been allowed to get through the cracks. Granted, if they’re quoting someone who’s going off on “keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill,” that’s a quote and they would be violating Free Speech if they censored it. Or would they? What if (and this is a HYPOTHETICAL EXAMPLE and does NOT reflect my personal opinion in ANY way, just a really lurid example to bring this closer to the light of day: What if some ignorant public figure said we need more laws to keep guns “out of the hands of criminals and n*ggers”? Would they print that, citing Freedom of Expression? I very much doubt it. I bet they would censure the speaker for making racial slurs and not print what they said at all.
That is my vision. I want slurs against the mentally ill to be seen as just as offensive as racial slurs. We can do it. Only recently there has been a campaign against using the word “retard” as a slur. It’s taken hold, and is being reinforced and enforced in schools, on school buses, etc.
So if kids can be taught that being developmentally disabled is not something to joke about or use as a slur, certainly supposedly educated television personalities can be taught that serious illness is not something to mock or sneer at? That one I’m not so sure about….that one might take one or two hefty lawsuits to resolve. It’s the pockets, people, it’s pain in the ol’ wallet and bad publicity that talks to these idiots who think they’re above common decency.
Thanks, manicmedic, for a great job, well done!