I Hate That Joke.

Occasioned by seeing this in a TWoP recap of American Idol:

Simon calls her “gloomy” and congratulates her for even showing up, which coming from Simon is like getting a gold medal that says “Special Olympics” when you turn it over.

World, please stop saying, “[Achieving something you think is awesome but it’s actually pathetic] is like winning a gold medal at the Special Olympics!”

A Special Olympics gold medal is not a dummy prize. It is awarded to world-class* athletes who have managed to beat dozens of other world-class athletes to achieve a distinction to which very few people can aspire. Special Olympics gold medalists think their medals are awesome because they actually are awesome.

You might try this instead: “[Achieving something you think is awesome but it’s actually pathetic] is like making ablist jokes for cheap laughs that are both unfunny and deeply stupid!”

Aw, doesn’t have the same ring?

*I should here note that the Special Olympics is in fact also run on a community, regional and national level – but when people say this, I think they say it in comparison to the Olympic Games. The motto of the Special Olympics, by the way, is “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” That sure sounds non-competitive to me!

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  • Sean Carmody

    A little late on my part, but I agree. I know it is not a great, intelligent film, but “The Ringer”, all about a lazy slacker turned con man, makes the exact same point. Guy plans to enter the special olympics as a runner, in order to get the money and the sponsorship thinking it will be an easy race. What he very quickly realises is that these special olympic competitors are athletes, in every sense of the word, and he very quickly realises he will have to train, and train hard.

    Now that is fiction, but in 2003, the olympics were held here in Ireland, and it was absolutely incredible. Amazing. For many, myself included, it was the highlight of the summer, and they were treated with far greater respect than the comedians you mention undoubtedly would have been. Each countries’ team were allocated a county to stay, and many of the families they stayed with gave them presents and gifts (I remember one family, while being interviewed on television with one of the athletes,said “show them the new present you got”, at which point he took off a track suit top, to reveal the local teams sport’s jersey. A touching moment that highlighted the warm welcome these athletes recieved. Made me proud to be IRish.)
    It truly is an amazing event, and these competitors display far more resilience, far greater strength and incredible resilience. They put the Olympics, with its drug scandals and cheating, to shame. True sports men and women.

    A better alternative is the “winning an argument on the internet joke”. Very difficult to offend anyone with that joke.