Lennard Davis critiques Tropic Thunder

August 26, 2008

Tropic Thunder—a recent comedy starring Robert Downey Jr, Ben Stiller and Jack Black—has been at the center of a storm of controversy lately for the film’s abundant use of derogatory epithets aimed at the mentally disabled. Recently NPR’s All Things Considered broadcast several stories on the issue including a piece by Lennard J. Davis, professor of disability studies at the University if Illinois and author of the recent Obsession: A History. In the interview Davis argues that films like Tropic Thunder capitalize on cruelty, and result in the exclusion of mentally disabled individuals from a society into which many must already struggle to fit in. Listen to the archived audio of the interview on the NPR website.

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