Today, a film like Tropic Thunder would not be admissible. Comedy has taken a deep dive and lost it's raison d'etre. Definitions of words can are changing.In a little over a decade we are no longer able to use the R word. OR do black face. Tropic Thunder has both in one fallen swoop.
Today there is actually a wikihow on how to avoid using the word retarded.
Advocacy groups have launched “r-word” campaigns urging people not to use it. https://www.spreadtheword.global/
Yet many out there would back up this notion (taken from a reddit post):
"I'm so sick and tired of the political correctness bullshit. It's just a fucking word there is no "hate" behind the word when it's not being used towards anyone."
Agreed. I was recently called an R by a passing motorist and agree it was full of hate. However, using the word to mean something is slow or backwards should not be offensive.
Consider this is how we CHANGE CULTURE.
Look at other words that have changed
"awful" (original meaning "marvelous, great, stunning or mind-boggling")
"nice" (original meaning "silly foolish or ignorant")
The problem with simply abandoning an official label to the insulting masses is that it requires finding a new label, and we know what will happen next. The schoolchildren will use the new one as an insult. It will slowly become common, and acceptable, and as the children grow up they will take their insult with them. Then yet another new term will be required, and another round of name changing and manual editing will occur.
Harvard linguist Steven Pinker coined the term “euphemism treadmill” for this churning of terms.
“People invent new ‘polite’ words to refer to emotionally laden or distasteful things, but the euphemism becomes tainted by association and the new one that must be found acquires its own negative connotations,” Pinker wrote in the New York Times in 1994.
“The euphemism treadmill shows that concepts, not words, are in charge: give a concept a new name, and the name becomes colored by the concept; the concept does not become freshened by the name.”
Zack and Miri Make a Porno