Boston-based physician Brian Skotko e-mailed me yesterday to tell me about a situation he thought I should know about. Last Friday, it seems, GQ magazine published on its Web site a list of the 40 worst-dressed cities in America.
Boston topped the list. But that’s not what bothered Skotko. What got to him, he wrote in a blog post, was this line in the story: “Boston suffers from a kind of Style Down Syndrome, where a little extra ends up ruining everything.”
The Boston Herald picked up on this right away, publishing a story in Saturday’s paper that Skotko noticed. His sister has Down syndrome, and as a Down syndrome specialist, he treats many patients with the condition. So he used his blog post to “explain what ‘Style Down Syndrome’ really is”:
‘Style Down Syndrome’ is smiling when everyone else prefers to frown. It's spending three summers, in sheer determination, learning to ride a bike because you want the freedom to be like everyone else. It's singing tunes from ‘Grease’ at the top of your lungs with your friends. It's celebrating a third-place victory at a swim meet with as much gusto as the gold medalist. Style Down Syndrome is strong-willed, persevering, and forgiving — because it has to be.
Skotko’s post went live on Monday morning; that afternoon, when I went to read the GQ posting myself, the sentence in question did not appear in the story, and there was no mention of it, or its removal, anywhere on the site.
Late-day calls and an e-mail to GQ’s media relations office to learn more were not returned by the time I wrote this entry.
So I can’t independently verify that it appeared at all, but then, the editorial situation isn’t what compelled me to write this item.
I just wanted to remind folks what I have always taught my kids: Making jokes at other people’s expense isn’t kind, it isn’t respectful, and it’s not funny.