Michael Arrington, writing in TechCrunch.com via the Washington Post, reports that comedian Sarah Silverman has agreed to donate her time to a Los Angeles-area fundraiser to benefit people with Down syndrome.
Proceeds from the March 6 benefit in Culver City, called TwentyWonder, will go to the Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles.
Silverman stirred controversy last week when she appeared before an international audience at the exclusive TED conference and cracked jokes referencing the current debate about the use of the word “retard.” Here’s how CNN described her routine:
In front of an audience of Nobel laureates, mathematicians, artists, scientists and inventors, Silverman did not hold back on her edgy brand of comedy.
After talking about the merits of adoption and the problem of overpopulation, Silverman joked on stage that she wants to adopt a “retarded” child with a terminal disease.
[Note: A writer on Salon.com said the term Silverman used was "terminally ill retard."]
That would earn her sympathy points, she said. But, because the child would die soon, she said she wouldn’t have to be stuck with the burden for too long.
In a video on the CNN site, Silverman explains her approach to comedy and says there is one category of humor that strikes her as offensive and unfair.
“I don’t really care for like fat jokes about women, specifically,” she said.
“Because I feel that we live in a society where fat men deserve love, and fat women do not deserve love — at least in white America. And so I feel like that’s an ugly thing, and it doesn’t make me laugh.”
In response to questions about Silverman’s upcoming appearance at TwentyWonder, DSALA board president Gina Vivona sent out the attached response. An excerpt:
It is DSALA’s position that we will treat people like we wish to be treated; with acceptance, respect, and understanding. Within those guiding principles, our goal is to extend the reach of our community by building relationships, providing education and increased awareness whenever possible.
There are many ways to be heard. One is to show people who don’t understand just how amazing our community members with Down syndrome are.
(Image from CNN video)