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Monday, July 18, 2011

GQ's Ignorant and Insensitive Remark

GQ recently published their list of the 40 worst-dressed cities. They ranked Boston as #1. As if their opinion really matters. I wouldn't have given it another thought, except for a lovely little blurb by the guy who wrote up the Boston piece - John B. Thompson. His bashing against Boston included this quote, “Due to so much local in-breeding, Boston suffers from a kind of Style Down Syndrome.”

You won't find it mentioned in the online piece anymore. But the damage has been done. I read about it in the Boston Herald's article specifically mentioning that reference. By the time I went over to GQ's article that quote was already gone ... although I've yet to read anything from GQ on this issue, must less an apology.

In reading through the comments on the Boston Herald it seems a few people think this quote meant a "style-down" syndrome instead of a style "Down syndrome." I seriously doubt that. If that was the case why wouldn't GQ make a statement explaining that was how it was intended to be read? Why did they remove the quote online? If it was supposed to be 'style down' they would have put quotation marks around those 2 words, not capitalize the whole Style Down Syndrome. If they didn't mean "Down syndrome" there are plenty of other, more accurate, choice of words, or phrase. It was meant exactly as the put down was written.

Updated to add: According to Dr Brian Skotko's blog post about this, the full quote was actually, “Boston suffers from a kind of Style Down Syndrome, where a little extra ends up ruining everything.” I think it's pretty obvious this wasn't intended as a "style down" syndrome as some suggest. A "little extra" is a not-so-subtle dig at those with Ds who have an extra chromosome.

This isn't about being politically correct either. This was meant as an insult. This was a disparaging remark. How else was it supposed to be taken? "Due to so much local in-breeding Boston suffers from a kind of Style Down Syndrome." Really? Is this what journalism has come to? The author is that juvenile to think he came up with some kind of cool joke by making fun of Bostonians by saying their fashion style is like Down syndrome? What is that supposed to mean anyway? Is the breadth of his vocabulary so small he couldn't come up with anything else? Anything other than insulting the whole Down syndrome population?

Furthermore his ignorant and immature comment about "in-breeding" perpetuates disparaging, and untrue, misconceptions about Down syndrome. It attempts to make a connection between in-breeding and Down syndrome. Down syndrome is not caused by in-breeding (and this isn't the first time I've come across a reference like this).

Well GQ, here is my daughter proudly, and stylishly, sporting an extra chromosome and a Boston hat.

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Patti said...

hey Michelle, I'm putting together a montage of photos to send to GQ regarding this...I'm looking for ones similar to the one Brian did with his sister. I'd love to include one of you (wearing something "unique") and Kayla!

Cate said...

so infuriating. ugh.

Alison said...

A friend sent me a picture of the GQ website before the "Style Down Syndrome" quote was removed. Let me know if you want it. I'm going to try to get my hands on a print version, too, for my teaching.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, comedy today seems to be about seeing how offensive you can be and how much you can get past the sensors - think about family guy - and the sad thing is none of it is even funny it's just disgusting and disparaging. -Emmie

Trace said...

Absolutely disgusting! I was shocked when I read this - that can't be called journalism!

Molly said...

I put up a post with pictures of just SOME of my friends with D.S.

Nothing ruined about them.

Mom24 said...

The article and the quote are bad enough, but the fact that GQ is not addressing it let alone apologizing is horrible.

My Plate Is Full said...

As a mother of a child with physical and learning disabilities… I am always interested in hearing the stories of others and how they have coped with raising a ‘special’ child. I recently saw a film called ‘Dakota’s Pride’ which showed the MANY wonderful blessings children with Down syndrome bring to this world. I can’t even express to you how moved I was by this film! I was amazed by all of their accomplishments… one young man with Down syndrome even graduated from college, drives his own car and is an advocate for other adults with Down syndrome! I know you get to experience these many wonders on a daily basis, but I thought I would share the following link for the video. http://www.dakotaspride.com/ Brian Skoto is interviewed in it as well... I have to say... LOVE him! I can't believe GQ published that... unbelieveable ignorance and their part! The pictures of your children are precious! I have four kids and I always wished one would have beautiful blue eyes like your daughter! BEAUTIFUL!!!

Mary said...

You should definitely send that in to GQ. I just bet that they're getting an earful from people.