Writer puts his money where his mouth is to right a wrong

6:37 PM, Nov 15, 2013   |    comments
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PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Best-selling author and New York Times Columnist, Chuck Klosterman, was taken to task for his use of the word retard by a mom in Maine who blogs about the triumphs and tribulations of raising a young son with Down Syndrome.

Klosterman, who writes the Ethicist column, was asked if it is 'ethical to contribute to the denigration of the vulnerable through the use of language' by blogger Kari Wagner-Peck.  She says she was researching the use of the R-word when she came across quotes attributed to Klosterman - one of her favorite authors.

"He is not going to care if some mom in Maine writes him a letter." she thought, and initially her gut feeling seemed to be right, as she did not get a reply for a couple days.

Then she rechecked her email and found his response which overwhelmed her.

"I have spent the last two days trying to figure out a way to properly address the issue you have raised on your web site. I've slowly concluded the best way is to just be as straightforward as possible: I was wrong. You are right," he wrote. 

Klosterman went on to say he was sorry and embarrassed for using the word, and offered to make a $25,000 donation to the charity of her choice as a gesture to right his past wrongs.

"This is so much great er than anything I could have imagined," exclaimed Wagner-Peck.  "I was a huge fan of Chuck Klosterman before.  Now I am a huge fan of a man named Chuck Klosterman who seems to have tremendous character."

She hopes this topic, which generated tremendous buzz on social media, has reached a tipping point where others will also see the pain and hurt using the R-word causes people who are disabled.

"You know, sometimes, something is the right thing to do," she said.  "And maybe there is the right time for that and I think that is what this time is."


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