Every Friday, we choose an alum who has been making headlines—for better or for worse.
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Tim Shriver ’81

What is the R-word? No, not “recession.” Tim Shriver ’81, son of long-ago vice presidential candidate Sargent Shriver ’38, ’41LLB, and Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy, has been chair of the Special Olympics for 11 years. He’s been making the media rounds recently in the campaign for a boycott of the movie Tropic Thunder. “The degrading use of the word ‘retard’ together with the broader humiliation of people with intellectual disabilities in the film goes way too far,” he wrote in a commentary.

Shriver and the Special Olympics have been trying to get the word “retard” off the playground and out of kids’ (and adults’) vocabularies for a few years now, but Tropic Thunder has brought the issue into the spotlight. The boycott campaign has drawn decidedly mixed reactions. One blogger who had worked with disabled children wrote, “Oh my, how much I would love to see an end to the use of the ‘R’ word forever from any kind of discourse.” On the other hand, a commenter on an LA Times blog called Shriver a “Commie Pinko Rat” and told him to “go back to Russia.” Uh-huh. That’ll show him.

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