Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Freedom Costs a Buck Oh Five

I could roundup the criticism of Team America, but this link will link to appropriate other sources. There's been a lot of hemming and hawing about this movie, and it's been highly politicized. Left-wingers look approvingly on the insult of macho topgunism, but decry the portrayal of the Film Actors Guild (snick snick) as in an alliance with Kim Jong Il. Right-wingers, well pretty much the opposite. Also, the whole dicks, pussies, and assholes speech in the movie is often looked at as a vindication of Bush's policy. Some others, who hopelessly want to just enjoy films and entertainment this election and (probably like most of us) are growing at the same time more agitated about this and more weary just want to write the whole thing off as a Jerry Bruckheimer parody. I'm fine with that interpretation, myself. I mean, come on, "America, Fuck Yeah!" It's so perfect.

There's one thing that troubles me, though. One line of criticism bashes Stone and Parker (I mean this movie isn't without flaws, you can insult it all you want) as being nihilists. Why? Because they insult and mock all sides. So they must be nihilists. Both sides look on Matt Stone and Trey Parker and want to shout at them, as it's become popular to do nowadays, "You're Either With Us or You're With the Terrorists" (right) or "You're Either With Us or You're With the Fascists" (left). It's this line of criticism that has me terrified. And While I singled out good old Ebert, he's not alone with that sentiment. It's as if by the fact that the few unsophisticated statements in Team America and trying to lampoon both sides as absurdly lost in their own dogmas, that they've committed some atrocious sin. So why is it a bad thing to see some of the absurdity in both sides? Why is the middle and skepticism suddenly nihilism? Is there no room for anything but extremes left in this country, even when it comes to the arts?

Honestly people. While at times I'm very partisan, there's nothing wrong with skepticism. There's nothing wrong with looking at both sides right now and saying "what a bunch of maroons," because honestly both sides are a bunch of maroons. If anything, the haughty full scale attack on the right and left in Team America is what we need more of. You have to see things like that to feel self-aware at all. It's the fact that right and left both want to claim Parker and Stone and that those who can't see a clear allegiance get irritated that shows we've grown too entrenched in viewing things we do. Chris Rock is right, political parties have become little more than gangs now, gangs that demand allegiance and won't let anyone straddle the sides or refuse to take a side in this political gangwar. And that analogy isn't just right, it showcases how juvenile this country is in it's juvenile reaction to a pretty juvenile movie.

And really, if you watch this thing it definitely is more of a Jerry Bruckheimer slammer than political movie anyway.