Chuck Klosterman’s response to my letter –

My intention with my open letter to Chuck Klosterman, the Ethicist at The New York Times was only to elicit an answer. I was not looking for banning, burning, boycotting or firing. I wanted to know what he thought of the R-word. I got my answer. His response is beyond anything I could have imagined. I am quite grateful for that. (And that $25,000 will be put to good use.) – kwp

Dear Ms. Wagner-Peck:

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.

I should not have used “retard” pejoratively. It was immature, hurtful, and thoughtless. I have no justification for my actions. I realize the books that contain those sentiments were published over 10 years ago, but that is no excuse; I was an adult when I wrote them and I knew what I was doing. I feel terrible about this and deeply embarrassed. I take full responsibility for my actions and understand why this matters so much to you. I’m truly sorry.

Feel free to re-post this message on your web site. I deserve the criticism I am receiving, and I want other people to know that I realize I was wrong. I would also like to donate $25,000 to whatever charity you feel is most critical in improving the lives of people with cognitive disabilities — …, …,* or any other organization you recommend. I have done something bad, so help me do something good.

Again, I apologize — and not just to you and your son, but to anyone else who was hurt by this.

— Chuck Klosterman

* With apologies to Mr. Klosterman I have omitted the names of organizations he has suggested for obvious reasons.