The new counter-culture groundswell
You know that by the time a new way of thinking makes it into a Hollywood blockbuster it is already deeply embedded in the culture. When it comes to Team America: World Police, how the thought must make lefties cringe.
Made by South Park’s Trey Parker, 35, and Matt Stone, 33, as a Thunderbirds-style puppet movie, it has a team of trigger-happy, flag-waving Americans fighting terrorists, while the peacenik liberals of FAG, the Film Actors Guild, headed by an “Alec Baldwin” puppet, try to stop them.
It features “Michael Moore”, a hot dog in each hand, as a suicide bomber, “a fat socialist weasel”.The movie opened at No. 1 in Australia last month and was still at No. 5 after three weeks. It strikes a chord, despite the lukewarm reception from a lot of reviewers.
They have said the movie attacks left and right with equal vigour. It does not. They liked the beginning because gung-ho Team America blows up the Eiffel Tower while chasing terrorists. “Let’s go police the world,” say the puppets. But those who thought the movie was a satire against American warmongers were shocked to find the opposite.
To her credit, Margaret Pomerantz of ABC’s The Movie Show gave Team America four stars and declared it “hilarious”.
But her co-host David Stratton was “really disgusted”. “It seems to become completely skewed, in the second half of the film, towards attacking liberals in the film industry,” he said. “Sean Penn and Tim Robbins have been very principled in what they’ve said about the Iraqi war and to deliberately destroy them the way this film does is really playing into the hands of George W. Bush.”
All I know is the teenage boys in the theatre I was in laughed heartily at the obscene jokes, puppet sex and savage mockery of Penn and co.
“As actors, it is our responsibility to read the newspaper and then repeat what we read on television like it’s our own opinion,” explains
“Tim Robbins” complains that corporations are “all corporation-y . . . and they make lots of money!”.
“Sean Penn” keeps saying, “I went to Iraq, you know” and says before Team America arrived there were “flowering meadows and rainbow skies and rivers made of chocolate, where children danced”.
In one scene, evil North Korean dictator puppet “Kim Jong Il” won’t let UN weapons inspector “Hans Blix”, or “Brix” as Kim calls him, inspect his palace.
“We will be very angry with you, and we will write you a letter, telling you how angry we are,” threatens Brix, just before Kim feeds him to his shark.
After terrorists blow up the Panama Canal, TV newsreader puppet “Peter Jennings” intones: “Team America has once again pissed off the entire world”. Then “Alec Baldwin, FAG” comes on the screen: “Who’s to blame for these attacks? The terrorists? The people who supplied them with WMDs?” No. “Team America, the blood of the victims of Panama is on your hands.”
The final summation of why the world needs Team America, even if they are, “reckless, arrogant, stupid d—ks”, to save them from terrorist “a—holes” is unambiguous, despite reviewers who expected a puppet Fahrenheit 9/11.
“We tried to make the movie optimistic and pro-American,” said Stone in an interview.
Even new movie The Incredibles has an anti-political correctness theme: super hero family forced to blend into society and hide talents. Super-fast runner Dash thinks it’s not fair: “Everybody is special, Dash,” says his mother. “That’s just another way of saying nobody is,” he moans.
The movie also celebrates family: “Mom and dad’s lives could be in jeopardy, or worse – their marriage!” says daughter Violet. These subversive themes are the new counter-culture.
The way it works is that those who build a culture, over 40 years or so, have a vested interest in maintaining it. So the old counter-culturalists become the conservatives, even though they still think they are progressives and deride as “conservative” those who disagree with them, though disagreeing is counter-cultural.
Then along comes a generation which has known nothing but the old “counter-culture” and feels oppressed by it, because there are so many rules now about how you should think, and to a fresh mind many are absurd.
So you get the first signs of rebellion from the most independent-minded, and soon enough it builds into a tsunami that breaks down the old counter-culture and begins the process anew. This is what is happening now, vomit jokes, puppet sex and all.