Earlier this week, Sarah Palin chastised Family Guy for teasing her Down syndrome-afflicted son, Trig. This critique follows on her censuring of Rahm Emanuel and contradictory defense of Rush Limbaugh. Even Palin's regular detractors took a stand against Family Guy's poor taste.
Palin's most recent opponent, however, stands out. Andrea Fay Friedman, the Family Guy actress who voiced the controversial character, defended the episodes in a letter and subsequent phone interview with The New York Times ArtsBeat blog. What makes this letter particularly powerful is that Friedman also has Down syndrome.
In her letter to the Times--shortened in ArtsBeat and published in full on Palingates--Friedman rebukes Palin for lacking a sense of humor and for parading her son around for political points:
I guess former Governor Palin does not have a sense of humor. I thought the line "I am the daughter of the former governor of Alaska" was very funny. I think the word is "sarcasm."Friedman continued, in a Q&A with ArtsBeat writer David Itzkoff:
In my family we think laughing is good. My parents raised me to have a sense of humor and to live a normal life. My mother did not carry me around under her arm like a loaf of french bread the way former Governor Palin carries her son Trig around looking for sympathy and votes.
Q. When you get asked to play characters who have Down syndrome, does that make you at all uncomfortable?
A. No, I’m proud of it. I’m not embarrassed. But mostly, it doesn’t matter if you have Down syndrome. Really, it just matters to have a different challenge.
Q. When did you find out about the reaction that the episode elicited from Sarah Palin and her family?
A. [laughs] That I did not even know about until my mom told me, “You’re on Channel 4!” And when I watched on Channel 4, on “Extra,” and I saw Sarah Palin with her son Trig. I’m like, “I’m not Trig. This is my life.” I was making fun of Sarah Palin, but not her son.