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I got tickets for an early screening for the new movie from the South Park guys. Rather than carboard cutouts, like South Park, the movie uses puppets -- marionettes, actually.

The apparent goal of the movie was to make it a satirical jab at every facet of the "war on terror". Problem is, I think our side got the worst of it.

Team America, global police, wreak havoc everywhere they go in pursuit of terrorists. In the opening scene, they take out half of Paris, including all of its cultural icons, in order to kill three terrorists with an WMD. The WMD couldn't have done a better job itself. Ironic! And kind of funny. But that's about the worst the warmongers get.

What do we get? Peacenik liberal Hollywood actors coddling up to terrorist regimes (ha ha). If you hate Susan Sarandon, Alec Baldwin and Janeane Garofalo, then you'll love seeing them get killed in a bloody battle with Team America.

One dead Rush Limbaugh would've attoned for using Michael Moore as a suicide bomber. Perhaps massacring Fox's whole afternoon lineup and Tom DeLay would've balanced out the dead actors. But oh well. Me, I didn't care for it.

The movie does best when satirizing blockbuster movies (one dimensional characters, groan-inducing one-liners, stilted love scenes), or when showing us the limits of what marionettes can do on film (they don't strut, fight, or have sex too smoothly). The soundtrack was stellar, and gut-busting funny.

The politically, the movie would've been better served to dish out the satire in a bipartisan fashion. Like the JibJab Brothers.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Oct 10, 2004 at 10:46 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  kos, (1.25)
    I don't mean to seem like I am blowing my own horn or really want attention, but my latest diary is pretty important. It shows how Bush and Cheney are putting the lives of soliders after their own re-election prospects. Can you put it on the main page?

    "Today there is no substantial challenge to American ideals. The question is this: Where can we, with all our wealth and capabilities, lead mankind?" Gen. Clark

    by theprogressivemiddle on Mon Oct 11, 2004 at 02:44:31 AM PDT

  •  wtf??? (none)
    christopher reeve dies, two days after kerry mentions him in the debate. maybe something good will come of it if he becomes a martyr for stem cell research... so sad.

    http://www.lasercub.blogspot.com

  •  Boycott!! (none)
    Kidding. but how about we ignore until November 3?

    "We're not criticizing Bush for going after terrorists, we're criticizing him for NOT going after terrorists." - Paraphrase of J. Kerry, tip to Gen. Clark

    by Armando on Mon Oct 11, 2004 at 02:46:03 AM PDT

  •  youth vote (none)
    It may unfortunately influence the male youth vote. They may have been leaning Kerry after watching Bush get lampooned for his stupidity once in awhile on the Daily Show, but now that they've seen Team America's go-it-alone ass-kicking antics, the irreverantly patriotic groupthink zeitgeist becomes somewhat reestablished.

    Conveniently, Team America is a fiction in which there's no draft, either.

    •  if (none)
      If anyone is really stupid enough to have their vote swayed by puppets (insert bush/allawi joke here), I'm happy to go without their vote. they don't sound like the most reliable voters.

      It may be the most offensive movie ever made, but at least it's offensive to everybody. I imagine neocons will be so upset by the mockery of the war on terror (not to mention the puppet sex) that they won't even see it..

      •  South Park (none)
        Well, South Park is very popular and influential.  Humor is a powerfully persuasive means of seeding ideas among people, and so this should be of some concern.  After years of watching and loving South Park, fans will see Team America and take it about as seriously as anyone could that sort of movie.  

        I've always had trouble with South Park because of their political leanings.  I couldn't put my finger on it, but their show always seemed right-wing to me.  Now the proof shows up at precisely the wrong time.  

        "Revolutionary debris litters the floor of Wall Street." -Kurt Cobain, Diaries

        by Subterranean on Mon Oct 11, 2004 at 01:06:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  young males (none)
      are among the LEAST likely demographic to vote.  they're too busy committing crimes  ;-)

      This movie won't influence anyone unless the SCLM pick it up as some kind of social meme.

      Neither, btw, will the allegations/speculation about Bush's mental health.  However true that may be, there's not enough time.

      All we can do is work hard NOT to have this possibly  deteriorating person re-elected.   We can't afford Bush for 4 more years, but we REALLY can't afford to have Cheney

  •  Yesterday (none)
    I kept hearing the new Jib-Jab was anti-Kerry plus homophobic. Oh well haven't bothered to watch it and
    probably won't. Its too bad about Team America though it looked entertaining.
    •  inform yourself (none)
      you not watching the new Jib-Jab allows others to control what you think (wherever you heard it was anti-kerry, homoph.) Get out there and face the other side!

      Btw, I saw it, it by definition is anti both candidates. There are several gay jokes that are homophobic if you have no sense of humor. In other words, they are self-aware-offensive in a way that means they are playing with "homophobia".

      All extremists are irrational and should be exposed

      by SeanF on Mon Oct 11, 2004 at 11:35:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the enduring image of the latest Jib Jab... (none)
        ...is the gay coupling of Kerry and Edwards.

        I thought Jib Jab's first animation was okay, more or less balanced.  This second one is not.  Aside from being far less clever and creative, the enduring image from it is not the monied corruption of Bush and Cheney that is the one-note depiction of their side, it's the image of Kerry and Edwards naked in bed together.  That's what sticks, and that sucks.

      •  Okay but (none)
        I didn't think the first one was funny do I really need to inform myself about this one? Nah.
  •  I'm disappointed to read about Team America (none)
    South Park BL&U was prescient. "Blame Canada" could be the anthem of the Iraq war.
  •  Sean Penn said something about this (4.00)
    You can read it here: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1239608/posts
    Among the things he wrote:
    "I do mind when anybody who doesn't have a child, doesn't have a child at war, or isn't or won't be in harm's way themselves, is encouraging that there's "no shame in not voting" "if you don't know what you're talking about" (Mr. Stone) without mentioning the shame of not knowing what your talking about, and encouraging people to know. You guys are talented young guys but alas, primarily young guys. It's all well to joke about me or whomever you choose. Not so well, to encourage irresponsibility that will ultimately lead to the disembowelment, mutilation, exploitation, and death of innocent people throughout the world. The vote matters to them. No one's ignorance, indcluding a couple of hip cross-dressers, is an excuse."
    Good points.  Read the rest, especially the PS.
  •  i posted a diary on this 10 minutes ago (none)
    then come back to find kos has spotted the same problem.
  •  Nitpicking (none)
    South Park is actually done with computers, not cardboard; it's how they are able to crank out topical episodes so fast. And they tend to be more even-handed with the political slams than you describe the movie as being. Ah well..

    And for those who haven't watched the latest Jibjab, it's Republicans = Corrupt, Democrats = Gay. The first one they did was better.

    It's pronounced "Gooey-Duck"!

    by geoduck on Mon Oct 11, 2004 at 02:58:43 AM PDT

  •  Parker and Stone: Not Geniuses (3.83)
    While South Park is ground-breaking and sometimes great satire, I've long been wary of Trey Parker and Matt Stone's politics, suspecting them heavily of the libertarian bent so often found in clever white kids borne in privilege.  They think problems are solved when you talk about them openly, racism is cured when people are allowed to openly use slurs for humor in order to 'invert' the stereotypes or something.  It's a kind of stupid 'let it all hang out' worldview that's really just trumped up masturbatory immaturity.

    No doubt the most pressing issue in the world to them is pot legalization.  I'm not surprised they'd base a portion of their satire on slamming the earnest warriors of the left.  They have no place for them, since they find earnestness embarrassing and could never find themselves believing so strongly in something they would stand up for it and fight.  Which makes sense; they've never been on the sharp end of the stick on anything, and they're in a culture that rewards them bountifully for their clever vulgarities.

    I like South Park now and then, find it at times inspired.  But I hope to see Team America crash and burn in the Box Office.  I anticipate it will.

    •  libertarianism is the new cool (4.00)
      Which sadly translates into extreme-right poltics, kids loving things like "the ownership society," failing or refusing to understand what FDR did, etc.

      This is pretty bad for "our side" meaning people who would like to keep things like social security and the SEC alive.  Its natural to dismiss authority in the form of the two political parties, but if GenY and GenX think far-right politics with a close relationship with the GOP is good for them, then they are only fooling and hurting themselves.

      Oh well, back to fart jokes and celebity bashing. Didnt both these guys receive federal aid when they went to college?  Arent they both Hollywood celebrities as much as anyone else? I mean, they arent like indie rockers who shun the mainstream, they show up at all sorts of fancy galas, events, awards ceremonies, etc.    Can you smell the H word? I can.

      •  It's easy to be a libertarian (4.00)
        You get to whine about taxes, blame everything on the two party system, still be in favor of legalizing marijuana AND guns, and if you can memorize a couple of the main points, you can sound all smart at parties.  Plus, it seems noncomformist, so it makes young "libertarians" feel cooler than thou.

        But the best part about being a libertarian is that they'll never have to defend it in practice.  It's still far enough on the fringe that it will never become a viable political system, at least not in this country.  So they can all talk about the wonders of a libertarian society without ever having to live through the hell that would result from a libertarian society.

    •  Slacker-Cool Libertarianism (none)
      ...seems to be a still emerging Gen X (and I do mean Gen X...I think the younger generation is less prone to this) phenomenon.  Take an extensive knowledge of pop culture, add a heavy dose of ironic humor, fold in a big dollop of epistemological relativism, and finish off with a dash of disdain for anyone who believes anything else.  For another great example of the phenomenon, see Chuck Klosterman.

      In a "safe" state? Consider a vote for David Cobb, the Green Party's candidate for President.

      by GreenSooner on Mon Oct 11, 2004 at 09:50:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  don't knock it before you try it. (none)
      I saw the preview on Saturday night.  All I can say is, don't knock it before you've seen it for yourself.  If you think 18-30 year old males are going to get swayed by this movie, you ought to realize that they are a BUNCH OF PUPPETS on screen. That the on-screen agents happen to be a bunch of marionettes sufficiently subverts any outward jingoism of the movie.  You'd be hard pressed to find a 25 year old male seriously going "fuck yeah!"  when the fake, puppet terrorists are shot.

      I believe Trey Parker and Matt Stone are careful, equal-oppurtunity offenders.  I'm saddened to think that Kos thinks "our side" got it worse; I would've expected a.) Kos to have a tougher skin than that and b.) to be so blind to the fairness of their taunts.

      Futhermore, to act like (to quote South Park) a bunch of "aging hippie liberal douches" plays right into the con's perception that we're a bunch of pussies.

      And we're not.  

      •  Specifics? (none)
        Your argument that Kos was "blind to the fairness of their taunts" would be more effective if you gave some examples of how they were "equal-opportunity offenders" in the movie. What was it that Kos missed? Were they really as harsh on Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Fox News in general, or conservative celebrities or politicians?
        •  examples of con-bashing (none)
          I would say that American imperial behavior (exemplified by Team America) stems from right-wing policies, and that the central theme of this movie is to lampoon such activity.

          That O'Reilly, Limbaugh, FNC. et al. don't get comeuppance, you have to also realize neither do Franken, CNN, or another other big name left wing commentators.  Thats because this film isn't about the pundits or politics.  Its more about the absurdity of the times in which we live.  

          Sure, a bunch of outspoken left-wing celebs get ridiculed.  You know what? I don't mind that Sean Penn gets it in the film.  Trey Parker and Matt Stone are pointing out the stupidity of putting stock in the opinions of a bunch of actors, who have no business throwing their star wattage into the political sphere.  Especially self important ones that conduct their own "fact-finding" missions in Iraq.  Such behavior is cause of eye-rolling on both sides of the aisle.

          I'm no libertarian apologist, I just think 1.) y'all shouldn't form sweeping opinions based on bad information (thats for republicans to do) and 2.) you might want to take a joke.

      •  We have to pay to play now? (none)
        This idea that in order to criticize something you have to give the creator your money first is insipid.  Granted, we can't criticize specifics based on bits and pieces taken out of context, but we sure can critizie the gist of a work without seeing something.  

        Furthermore, Stone and Parker have made it clear what they find most repugnant in politics:


        fuge: are you two guys liberal or conservative? me and my friends have had debates about this.
        Trey: We avoid extremes but we hate liberals more than conservatives and we hate them.
        Matt: I hate conservatives but I really fucking hate liberals.

        Look, these guys are obviously free to make movies and have whatever opinions they want.  But both they and their supporters lie - first, when they claim to "skewer everyone" and second, when they claim to be above the hypocricy and extremes.  They are every bit as sanctimonious as those they try to critique.  Worse, at least those they critique, on both the right and left, actually believe in the ability of individuals to bring change to the world.  Parker and Stone see very little beyond their wallets, their egos, and their own deeply cherished libertarian polemics.  The result of which is not simply a chance to "lighten up" and have a laugh, but just more reinforcement to the pervasive sentiment that activism is for chumps and politics are useless.  Such "equal opportunity offense" does but one thing, reproduce the status quo that favors the powerful and smites everyone else.
        •  Andy Kaufmann syndrome (none)
          I would be careful even citing their own words against them - these guys love to mess with reporters, and you can never be sure when the answers are straight.  That's one of the reasons why we are having such a difficult time collectively labelling them.
      •  Groucho >>>> Parker/Stone (none)
        In 'careful, equal opportunity offenders,' they sound to me like a latter-day Groucho Marx.  Without the underlining concern for humanity.
  •  Parker and Stone (none)
    are conservative

    <"Do not seek the treasure!" >

    by moon in the house of moe on Mon Oct 11, 2004 at 03:02:26 AM PDT

  •  JibJab (2.50)
    JibJab sucks. the first one was kinda funny. but nothing in this one is empowering, or even remotely makes me want to vote, it makes NOT want to vote. and inexplicably they throw in a VOTE graphic at the very end? pandering?

    feh, and double feh on Matt Stone and co.

    •  Soo.... (none)
      By quoting two episodes, the folks at the site brush over hundreds of episodes that lean left and skew the right in cleverly ironic ways. Such as, say, the meteor shower episode reenacting Waco in a slightly different context. (The cult wasn't actually a cult) Or the "Afghanistan" episode.

      South Park is great satire when it comes to pop culture and society, though.

  •  I disagree... (none)
    I think everyone is taking the movie too literally. I saw a preview last night, and I  think the filmmakers were making fun of the way the media has stereotyped everything about the WOT. Thus, Team America destroys all of Paris so they can "kill some terrorists." Later in the film, they do the same thing to Cairo. In both instances, there are reaction shots cut in of the local populace aghast and horrified about what happened. The Michael Moore bit is, I think, a comment on how the right has made him the Bogeyman of all Bush's ills, even prompting McCain to trash him at the RNC.

    Maybe I'm giving the South Park guys too much credit, but they did do the cartoon interlude in the middle of Bowling for Columbine, and one of them appears on camera in the film with Moore. I think Team America is as much a commentary on the media's incessant jingoism and boosting of Bush's militarism as anything else.

    •  I disagree too (though I haven't seen the film) (none)
      The South Park guys are always perverse this way.  They try to offend as many people as possible -- both left and right.  But in the end you know they're on our side: freedom of speech, anti-stupidity.

      When most people don't get the joke, Parker and Stone are laughing harder than ever.  That doesn't necessarily make for a great film; but I'll guess that there's a good lesson in all the hyperjingoism of "Team America."

    •  I may give them too much credit, too. (none)
      I took the Saddam/Satan love affair in South Park BL&U the same way - as a comment on how the media took a run-of-the-mill brutal dictator and exagerated his power until he appearred to  be the world's greatest menace since Hitler.  And then the media proceeded to do the same thing again 12 years later. Like you, I may be giving the South Park guys too much credit.
    •  Michael Moore says this (4.00)
      on his site:

      "Lately, my favorite mistake is the one many reviewers made crediting the cartoon in "Bowling for Columbine" as being the work of the "South Park" creators. It isn't. I wrote it and my buddy Harold Moss's animation studio drew it."

      •  they're in the movie, though (none)
        and they don't sound particularly right wing. i think they are basically shock-type humorists, like howard stern or the farrelly brothers or the old national lampoon. humor shouldn't have a political litmus test. doesn't mean i don't worry about the effect of pop culture on the election.
  •  Compensating for "That's my Bush?" (none)
  •  They're Libertarians (4.00)
    and they're from Colorado.  Having lived there, I have met people who have a similar mindset as they do.  Libertarians in Colorado will have quite an anti-liberal streak when it comes to any type of government control.  They see DARE as the government mind influencing schools, and they despise  smoke free laws.  There's a number of persons who were peace activists in the 60's and 70's who are libertarians and are often proudly independent voters by choice.  

    The reason why I think Kerry's been doing well in some polls in Colorado is because there's probably a lot of anger from the libertarian contingent over such moves as the Patriot Act.  That and many Democrats are really energized in a way I have not heard of since 1992 (and really, not even then). Kerry can win based on a coalition between the two, but it will not be easy (I'm sure a number of them did vote for Wayne Allard in 2002).

     While the libertarians are responsible for Governor Bill Owens and the Republican state legislature there, they are still libertarian first (not quite conservative except of course for fiscal issues and are more government off their backs, etc.)  Libertarians are not tax fans, but they're not deficit fans either, and especially against lobbyist corruption which they would most certainly see the was in Iraq being all about.  Libertarians also would despise to be linked at all with religious right circles of Colorado Springs.

    But as I said, I know people who think like that including members of the gay and lesbian community.  And they'll be quick to attack liberals just as they attack a number of conservatives.  They love that independent streak of them, and Colorado has traditionally been a state with a huge number of independents.

    •  I have never met any non-psycho (3.00)
      libertarians who advocated shoving baseball bats up gay men's asses. Or trying to convince people that all homosexuals are either sissies or pedophiles, or both.

      If people like Matt Stone and Trey Parker are responsible for Marilyn Musgrave and Wayne Allard, then I hope they burn in hell.

    •  Libertarians (none)
      All the libertarians I've met talk a big game about their political independence, and talk up their "values" of small/no government, no taxes, absolute freedom, evil government regulations, and so forth.  They don't give a shit about the environment, about any societal issue, and really they seem to care only about themselves.  

      Funny thing is, when it comes to voting, the libertarians I've met and know all vote republican.  They talk a big game, but they are effectively republicans, which makes them hypocrites since the GOP is the party of big government spending, big deficits, and big brother government control.

      "Revolutionary debris litters the floor of Wall Street." -Kurt Cobain, Diaries

      by Subterranean on Mon Oct 11, 2004 at 01:44:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The cure for libertarianism... (none)
      ...is to have to live in an actual libertarian country. Like, say, Somalia. Or most of Afghanistan.

      People get the government they deserve.

      by chase on Mon Oct 11, 2004 at 08:15:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  lighten up (none)
    I totally agree with ctami on this one - the movie is really bizarre and funny.  Not all the jokes work.  But it must really be rubbing you the wrong way if you come away interpreting this as conservative/right. It's across-the-board mockery, parker/stone style.  

    And - keep in mind their other big goal here was to make as much fun of Jerry Bruckheimer films as possible, using puppets...

    No one here has mentioned how friggin funny Kim Jong Il was!  The scene where he feeds Hans Blix to his pet sharks!  I laughed almost as hard as when these guys made Saddam Hussein into satan's gay lover in their South Park movie.

  •  You don't understand this... (3.87)
    or you're commenting about it without having seen it.

    I respect Kos immensely, but I completely disagree with his assessment of this brilliant and subversive film.

    I just saw the film last night. Like all the other creations of Matt Stone and Trey Parker, it observes no sacred cows. Everyone is fair game for their satire, right and left.

    However, that said, by and large, this film is a satire of an America-centered, jingoistic world view. After establishing that we are in the world of people who think the U.S. should be world police with the first scene's rampage in Paris, the rest of the film progresses, filtered through this view. Michael Moore is a bogeyman -- not because he is a bogeyman -- but because that is how these pumped up American dick-heads see him. Susan Sarandon and Alec Baldwin are ineffectual liberal windbag pussies because that is how these macho miltary boys see them.

    By the way, I am really disturbed by how many people on this thead are posting commentary about a film they have never seen. Remember how many wing-nuts wrote diatribes against F911 even though they hadn't seen it? We who pride ourselves on being thoughtful, progressive thinkers shouldn't stoop to this. If you're going to comment on the film for Christ's sake, at least go see it first!

    •  tell 'em, brother (none)
      it's very dangerous to discredit something just because you fear you won't like it. It's also dangerous to malign something simply because it doesn't conform to your point of view. (it's even worse if you malign it because you heard it doesn't conform to your pov!) We might as well be f-in republicans if we're this knee-jerk intollerant.

      All extremists are irrational and should be exposed

      by SeanF on Mon Oct 11, 2004 at 11:45:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Subversism (none)
      I think if macho GOP jerk-offs come out of this film bragging about how they want to feed Hans Blix to the sharks, how Kim Jong-Il is the new Dr. Evil, and that Michael Moore wants to be a suicide bomber, Team America has done its job in helping Kerry get elected.  This is what "satire" is all about.  No serious adult would have their opinion swayed to vote Bush at all by this kind of stuff; it makes it look ridiculous, and makes people who think about it a little realize how irrational folks like Rush, Michael Savage, Anne Coulter, etc., when they talk about Hollywood activists being traitors.

      It's like, "oh, yeah, Sean Penn totally wants to join the Taliban" -- satire.  Taking a ridiculous point of view and exaggerating it, exposing its stupidity to all.

      No, I haven't seen the film, just the trailers, but I'm familiar with Parker & Stone's M.O.; from the descriptions I've heard, it sounds like their usual pointed satire.  And the reason they make fun of liberals for being so humorless is because many of us don't understand things like satire; we act like people need things explained to them like children because they're so stupid.  Newsflash: they're not.  People will be able to get the gist of this film, and I suspect they will be coming out of the theater wanting badly to vote for Kerry.

      And I wouldn't be at all suprised if Parker & Stone, once this film has gotten a wide audience, come out and endorse Kerry without reservation -- "I think all of you can guess, based on our new film, 'Team America', that in all seriousness we wholeheartedly support John Kerry in the upcoming election, and we hope you do to".  (Though I'm not sure if that would work in Kerry's favor . . .)

      They're talkin' about nuclear war
      It's a motherfucker, don't you know
      If they push that button, your ass gotta go
      -- Sun Ra

      by Jason Bergman on Mon Oct 11, 2004 at 12:27:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Maybe so (none)
      But if most people who see the film take home the message that jingoism is cool and Bush's cowboy attitude is hip, than the film crosses the threshold from misunderstood to dangerous.  This seems to be a common problem with South Park, people "misunderstand" it but in reality it's very funny (you've just got to be hip to get it).  At some point, people start asking, do I not understand this because I suck, or because the creators suck?  

      Dr. Strangelove was widely misinterpreted in the 60s as well. The Parker and Stone duo are no Stanley Kubrick.

      "Revolutionary debris litters the floor of Wall Street." -Kurt Cobain, Diaries

      by Subterranean on Mon Oct 11, 2004 at 01:56:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  JibJab are as non-partisan as O'Reilly (4.00)
    Their videos are offensive and blatantly Republican. The things that they have in that video, the attacks against gays, are unforgiveable. They are pandering to the basest and most dangerous attitudes in the public. And they peddle the laziest stereotypes about Democrats. I'm really shocked that you consider then nonpartisan.
    •  I agree... (none)
      I was actually offended the first time I saw the jib-jab flash video.  They are non-partisan just like O'Reilly is.  Both of them "take shots" at both sides.  However, the shots they take at one side are true, and the shots they take at the other are just "conventinal wisdom" that has been peddled upon us by the media.

      Jib-jab's brand of humor takes the political discourse in this country down a few levels.  That's the type of thing you would have expected in '96 or '00.  This election is different.  People are more engaged, at least they should be.  The stakes of this election are much higher, and Jib-jab seems to be preaching a type of humor that breads apathy to voters.  "Hey look, they're both idiots!  Don't waste your time voting."  

      SNL's kind of taking this approach as well with their debates, they showcased the flipflopping, the hand movements. However, the Bush impression is pretty funny though, and I think it's safe to say that they've given him a harder time than Kerry.  Whomever is doing Bush this year really has the whining down.

      I'm not sure what to think about this movie.  When my fiance first told me about it, I thought oh that's sounds great.  I figured they'd be laying it on Bush pretty hard.  Then when I saw that it stared the "Liberals from Hollywood," I lost some of my excitement.  I guess I'll go see it and for my own opinion.  It would be hypocritical to not see it before I form an opinion, as others have done for F9/11.

    •  Agree completely, see my diary on the new JibJab (none)
      I covered this last weekend, that new JibJab film tilts hard right and is offensively anti-gay.  Kos, I can't believe you watched that new clip and could call it nonpartisan.

      Read more in my diary on "D.C. Land" and see a number of clips from the film on this post from The General.

      Chaos, fear, dread. My work here is done.

      by madhaus on Mon Oct 11, 2004 at 09:19:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  South Park Republicans (none)
    This is not a criticism of TEAM AMERICA which I haven't yet seen.
    This is help to shed some light on Trey parker and Matt Stone's politics. They're show has actually been used to coin a movement: South Park Republicans. Read:

    http://www.techcentralstation.com/100702A.html

    and here:

    http://www.southparkstudios.com/news/list.html?sect=1&month=10&year=2002&min=3

    <"Do not seek the treasure!" >

    by moon in the house of moe on Mon Oct 11, 2004 at 03:55:26 AM PDT

    •  That always cracks me up (none)
      That's part of the "we're so cool, we're young and hip and we don't care about social issues, we just wanna KICK ASS!!!" meme which is so 2003. These Republicans do not exist, and never will. You notice that the man who coined it, Sully, is not exactly a popular Republican anymore.
  •  Team America (none)
    Was it funny?  I thought it looked horrible.

    I don't mind people poking fun at the left, it's deserved.  Unfortunately, most of it isn't very good, "Ha ha, Micheal Moore is fat, ha ha!"

    Don't get too uptight about which side the movie mocks more or less.  It's a Trey & Stone flick, it mocks EVERYTHING.

    South Park was always a good example of this.  Sometimes they'd mock liberals, sometimes conservatives.  What was important is that it was smart and funny, not which side got burned more often.

    •  What's funny about mocking everything? (none)
      If there's no point to a show besides tearing down everything, then it's little more than a trendy nihilist screed.  To tear everything down while having nothing constructive to say seems awfully boring to me.

      "Revolutionary debris litters the floor of Wall Street." -Kurt Cobain, Diaries

      by Subterranean on Mon Oct 11, 2004 at 01:59:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  cathartic if nothing else (none)
        occasionally education.

        not all the time.  But humor, even humor in bad taste, is capable of knocking huge holes in hypocrisy and self-absorption, and this is not a bad thing.

        All things in moderation, including moderation.

        IMHO

        Liberals are conservatives who have been through treatment.

        by marjo on Wed Oct 13, 2004 at 07:12:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The trap for Conservatives in Team America (3.50)
    Those conservatives who watch "Team America" and decide it's "the most patriotic movie ever" are themselves becoming part of the very thing that the creators are poking fun of-- a worldview in which simpletons like actors are thought to be important and big-budget Bruckheimer action movies have some kind of "deep message." It's almost like a piece of performance art in which the fans of the film are implicated in the very thing that the movie is poking fun of.
  •  Team America - bashes both sides! (3.50)
    I also saw Team America: World Police during the Sneak Preview on Saturday, and I can't say I entirely agree with the opinion at the start of this thread.

    First off, I laughed my ass off throughout most of the movie.  The humor in it was truly twisted, sick and vile, and I loved it for that.  The music was great, even though they did rip off one song from an SP episode.  If you like the really sick episodes of SP, and are ready to go to the next two levels, then see the movie.  I did not recommend it to my mother.

    As to the politics, well, it's a bit tougher to read.  

    Matt and Trey have always come down hard on both extremes when touching on any political hot-button issue.  Any episode of SP you look at will clearly be resolved by some thoughtful middle ground being reached, and the screamers on both sides getting their comeuppance.  By attacking both directly and indirectly, both sides can interpret them as both pro and con, which I think is why people have so much trouble pinning down their politics.

    My thoughts of the politics of the movie as I left the theater were that it might not do much to change too many people's minds, or at least any minds that were already made up.  If you leaned to the left, or had an anti-war bias going in, you would walk away remembering the Team America doing more damage, physically and to international prestige, than they fixed.  If you walked into the theater with a rightward bent, then you most likely would have left remembering the Liberal Hollywood Elite getting nuked for their stance of "everything can be resolved through negotiations and peace rallies," and falling in line with Kim Jung Il in a clearly Hanoi Jane fashion.  In the movie, as in real life, the solution lies somewhere in the middle.

    It doesn't appear to me that the boys intended to make a movie that pandered to the left or the right.  Certainly my left of center perspective had me interpreting it through a filter, and there was plenty of fodder for that.  The "shoot terrorists first and ask questions later, damn the consequences" actions of The Team bring to mind Cowboy Bush.  There is irony fact that all the generic Terrorists are seen simply as evil bearded middle-eastern men with blinking suitcases, and not associated with any country or cause, thus making terrorism itself a cause, not a technique - which is something lost on W.  The term "WMD" is bandied about with no definition as to what they are (Chem? Nuke? Bio?) other than an elusive thing that we all need to be afraid of.  At one point The Team is celebrating victory only to discover that they really missed the bigger problem in North Korea.  There's tons of this stuff, and not all of it was clearly spelled out.  A lot of it you had to think through a level or two to get to the nut, and if you really wanted to interpret it differently, you could no doubt find a way.

    They did take shots at the other side, too, most notably Michael Moore and the peaceniks and PCniks of Hollywood.  Well, while my wife is indeed quite a liberal and proud of it, she does not always approve of Moore's tactics, and there are lots of people out there who agree.  Heck, even Michael Moore says in "Dude" we probably need to tone down the Peacenik and PC image of the Democrats of we are to win back Middle America, so in my opinion, some of these people and attitudes can be taken down a notch.  And certainly some of the Hollywood Elite need to be taken down if not for their politics, but just because they are annoying.

    Then there is a lot of humor in there that's simply sick, childish, spoofing of other movies, spit takes, inconsistencies, and/or other non-political subjects.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, I laughed my ass off, and I think there was a lot of it that would not have worked if it hadn't been done with marionettes.  I for one don't ever remember seeing a sex scene that graphic outside of porn, and yet there were no genitals involved!

    Remember, this movie was not made by or for the DNC, RNC, or the readers of the DKos, so we shouldn't expect it to be a venue for our politics, and don't need to pan it simply if it touches a nerve or is not what we expected.  It was hatched from the twisted little minds of Matt and Trey.  Basically, they have done what they always do - pit the extremes of both sides of an issue against each other in a way that lets the 80% in the middle laugh at both sides.  They sell tickets to that 80%, hope that everybody sees enough support of their own ideology to be able to take a sporting shot or two against their own ideology and still be friends, and take it to the bank.  They are in it to make money, and they don't do that by alienating the middle.  I also suspect they are also in it to find new and interesting ways to mutilate marionettes, but that is a whole other subject.  Not EVERYTHING needs to be political...

    As I said, personally, I saw more anti-right and anti-war attitude in the movie than liberal bashing, but there was some balance.  But that could just be my personal filter talking.  I would hope most reasonable people would see it that way, but then again, if everyone in this country were reasonable, we'd now be gearing up for the Gore re-election campaign against McCain.

    I suspect that the reviewer may have expected it to be completely anti-war and/or anti-Bush, and to tell the truth, from the commercials, that could be a reasonable expectation.  I know I expected it.  But then again, most of the commercials I saw for it were run during the Daily Show, and it makes business sense to emphasize the anti-Bush stuff in the commercials for that audience.  I suspect they will have to cut the commercials differently if they start buying time on Faux News Channel...

    •  Liberal Elite? (none)
      And who exactly are these liberals that say the WOT can be solved via peace negotiations?  

      If satire is going to work, it's got to slam something that actually exists!  If all Stone and Parker do is create liberal straw men for the right wing to use as punching bags, then they've done a great service to Karl Rove.  

      "Revolutionary debris litters the floor of Wall Street." -Kurt Cobain, Diaries

      by Subterranean on Mon Oct 11, 2004 at 02:03:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I saw it too (Lighten up, you guys!) (3.71)
    Spoilers ahead....

    I respectfully disagree with Kos et al; the movie is breathtakingly bipartisan.  More movies like Team America can bring this country together.

    Dudes!  Team America blew up the Pyramids, the Sphinx, Eiffel Tower & Arc de Triomphe (in one shot) and the Louvre.  What better parody of collateral damage, of good intentions gone awry, can one imagine!?!?!

    And consider the theme song's (rockin') chorus: "Americuhhhh, Fuck yeah!!!"  -- the most succinct indictment of jingoistic tune mongering ever!!

    Trey and Matt's beef is with unthinking, knee-jerkers on both sides of the political divide.  That our country is screwed may be the Republican's fault, but that our political culture is a mess is a bipartisan doing.

  •  Good God (none)
    Anyone who takes the politics in a Matt 'n' Trey production seriously is a maroon.

    Sorry, kos.

    F9/11 was intended to change the way people saw particular issues. It was a documentary. It was  a polemic. Real people died in it.

    Team America: World Police is a movie starring puppets. Marionettes. It is first, last and only a comedy. You would have better luck finding a consistent political message in a Lindsay Lohan movie.

    It's not F9/11. It's not Bulworth. It's not even Dave, for pity's sake. On the political scale it's about on a par with the TV Funhouse Ex-Presidents skits.

    You want to know why liberals get mocked so often? Threads like this, that's why. How far up your ass does your head have to be to go see a comedy starring marionettes and come away analyzing how its subtext might impact the upcoming election?

    Maybe if we're lucky kos can review the Spongebob Squarepants movie too, for how it might affect the balance of power in the House.

    I love all you guys, but sometimes a lot of you make me wonder how we're even the same species.

    Sheesh!

    •  They have used their TV shows (2.20)
      to attack and incite violence against gays, minorities, women, etc. for years. I don't see how puppets are different.

      They think that anyone who is not rich and white should burn in hell.

      •  Re: They have used their TV shows (none)
        I would LOVE to see you try to post specific examples of this.  

        Satire is wasted on people who aren't capable of recognizing it.

        •  I guess you haven't seen the episodes (none)
          where they decide that the best way to get gays out of town is to anally rape them with baseball bats.

          Of course that's just 'satire' and they're real heroes...then again, so many here support Pete Coors and Tom Coburn, so no wonder they like South Park.

      •  uh. (none)
        no.

        this is exactly the sort of comment they enjoy lampooning.

        •  Of course, because they're just punks. (2.80)
          They think that anyone who cares about humanity, or who wants to have some peace, or some freedom, is a loser. That you have to go through life tearing people down if they don't want to sit through each day sneering at everything. They push the "don't do anything, then everything will be bad and we can be happy because it's all going to burn, and all those PC homos and dirty people will be punished" line that so many so-called libertarians push.
          •  James, You Slay Me (none)
            The most sympathetic -- heck, the most human -- character in the South Park movie is Satan. And he's a big red homo.

            Hamumu's right. You could not be more wrong here if you tried.

            The Ghost of Howard Beale -- Mad As Hell and Yadda Yadda Yadda

            by Anton Sirius on Mon Oct 11, 2004 at 06:16:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I think this comment is much more accurate (none)
            than your original one about them liking rich white guys.

            The South Park guys basically enjoy making fun of anyone who feels any passionate concern about, well, anything (hence their hatred of anyone prominent and liberal). Comedy is anarchic by its nature, but these guys are basically nihilists. They don't hate gays or minorities, but they do pretty much hate anyone who shows any concern about them.

            "Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it." - Mark Twain

            by soultaco on Mon Oct 11, 2004 at 07:13:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  No way (none)
        I think it would be extremely challenging to get more wrong than you are.
    •  BTW, they also cultivate a (none)
      climate of "everyone sucks, don't bother voting, everyone sucks" that is very dangerous in our current political climate. They want to depress Dem turnout so that the GOP can win more landslides.
      •  dude (4.00)
        I think you just aren't wired to get their sense of humor. They propogate arguments that are exactly the opposite their point. That's their style, to make a giant straw-man argument so ridiculous, so over-the-top, they don't need to have the moral at the end.

        I think southpark is a mixed show, cuz it often gets tiresome. But they definitely don't do what you accuse them of.

        All extremists are irrational and should be exposed

        by SeanF on Mon Oct 11, 2004 at 11:50:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Amen (3.00)
      I think Parker & Stone shouldn't be taken so utterly seriously. I've suspected for a long time that they are really GOP - goats.

      I don't think they are that political, they just like to pretend they are above everyone and everything, insulting all that they can. Quite often they can pull it off, but not always.

      I'm not going to waste money on Team America, as I'd rather see the new Lindsay Lohan film instead than Parker & Stone propaganda antics.

      But get over it people, it's not like we should have a heart attack over two asswipes that can't even make decent cartoons. They are irrelevant.

      Republicans best friend is ignorance.

      by Jonesyboy on Mon Oct 11, 2004 at 08:18:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I will disagree (none)
      I haven't seen the movie, but South Park is very politically/ethically charged.  It's comedy like The Daily Show is comedy.  95% of episodes are outright making a very strong point.  The remaining 5% are just pure silliness for the hell of it (Simpsons did it!).  There could be a college class dissecting the meaning behind South Park and it would never run out of material.

      These guys definitely have a conservative bent, but they're also intelligent, so for the most part it's hard to disagree (well, I'm only speaking for myself) with the 'moral' at the end of each episode.  They're extremely inclusive (unlike the comment below, I see them as VERY accepting of homosexuals), and while I think they do hold a kind of "hey, don't worry about it, just chill" attitude which isn't the best way to deal with the serious problems of today, I think they have a lot of great ideals.  And they've done an amazing job of getting to sneak their ideas/ideals into society through their vulgar cartoon.  I guess they tend to not present a solution to a problem, but rather say "look how stupid this is!" to kind of bring about awareness of the problem.  It's like me shouting at the TV when GW comes on, same idea, only other people see it, so they might wake up a little.

      The one time I disagreed with them that I remember was when they had an entire episode devoted to making anti-smoking activism seem stupid.  I totally disagree with how they feel about that, but you know what... agree or disagree, South Park is fucking hilarious!  

      And that's the point - real art has significance and meaning, but the greatest of real art is appealing to the masses so it can get that meaning to people who otherwise would read Archie comics.  It's why the Daily Show is the best thing on TV, and South Park is great too.  You can enjoy it as silliness, or learn a little something.  Compare that to vulgar noise like Crank Yankers, or sitcoms or reality shows, and you see how South Park isn't just mindless fluff.

    •  Exactly (4.00)
      I have read most of these comments about Parker and Stone and have seen some crazy shit. Really folks you should look at what you are getting all bent out of shape about. It is a movie starring puppets. I have not seen the movie but I have seen almost all South Park episodes and find the humor to be relevent and smart. It does poke fun at liberals but it also pokes fun at conservatives. It is funny, to me, but I understand if not everyone gets it. Just don't act like it is swaying the youth towards hate crimes or right wing thinking.
      I don't care what their politics are because I don't watch South Park to see a political commercial. I watch it to laugh.

      Good news for people that like bad news

      by nater1979 on Mon Oct 11, 2004 at 01:52:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  OT but ... (none)
      BTW I've seen the Spongebob Movie and it is destined to be a stoner classic for years to come.  If that's yr bag,  don't miss it
  •  Stinks (none)
    I hate "Southpark" and it's creators. Today, more than ever, it's so true that you will never go broke underestimating the American moviegoer.
  •  nobody's talking about... (none)
    What really is important here - Parker and Stone ripped off Gerry Anderson, creator of "Thunderbirds," "Fireball XL-5" and "Stingray," and the creative genius behind the "supermarionation" technology.

    Did Team America - World Police give Gerry Anderson any credit in the movie?

    my weblog and my website - they're, uh, in progress, OK?

    by snookybeh on Mon Oct 11, 2004 at 08:46:04 AM PDT

    •  Nope - regular marionettes (none)
      While the puppets do have the "look and feel" of the Thunderbirds, et al, the animation technology is not the same.  Most of the marionette action is shot in real time with people pulling strings, and the only time it's really "animated" is during some of the special effects sequences.

      A number of the jokes in the movie actually revolve around how labored the marionette's movements are.

      So one really can't say Andersons's technology was ripped off.

  •  Concurrance (none)
    I saw it on Saturday and laughed my ass off.  I only wish that the movie had been made twenty years ago, when the Top Gun / Iron Eagle / Red Dawn genre of movies would've been playing in the same theaters.  (I'm astonished that some studio didn't churn out a movie after 9/11 involving Arabic armies paratrooping into middle America and call it "Brown Dawn.")

    Parker & Stone are card-carrying libertarians, though they did shred Ayn Rand in one of their early episodes.  I felt that Team America and their related jingoism were self-parodying; hell, the entire MOVIE was a parody of the "America kicks ass wherever it pleases" mentality.  A few potshots at the right's larger-than-life caricatures (Limbaugh, etc.) would've been nice, but I'm sure that Michael Moore and Janeane Garofalo aren't losing any sleep.  Hell, after the one song, Michael Bay probably has more reason to complain.

    •  oh wait, I get it (none)
      movie's offensive on many levels. good idea to distance ourselves from it by denouncing its tastelessness. might
      even get the wingnuts to go see it. I must say I was revolted
      by the olympics this year -- "Team USA" and all that.
      flags. the sacred day of 9/11. c'mon. don't become a sucker for sanctimony or you're playing the other guy's game. they've stolen the flag, they've stolen 9/11, and "team america" is
      how the rest of the world sees our jingoistic fascist fantasyland.
      •  team america (none)
        if we as a country can fess up to our "team america" mentality, make fun of it and critique it, that might go a ways to mending our reputation among our former allies. Movies like this are our best ambassadors.

        All extremists are irrational and should be exposed

        by SeanF on Mon Oct 11, 2004 at 11:52:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  A lot of weird protesting. (none)
    Hey folks, it's a movie.

    It's a movie that is meant to piss off everybody who sees it and make them laugh at the same time.  I saw the Saturday night screening and for people to think that it was meant to be pro-liberal or pro-conservative really miss the point.  It isn't meant to be either.

    Do you remember the teaser trailer when it said the Alec Baldwin, Sean Penn, Michael Moore, George Bush, John Kerry, Kim Jong Il and many others were "going to be really upset when they see Team America"?  The first person to attack the movie was Drudge who said that a "Senior White House Advisor" was upset about how it obviously portrayed George Bush.  Here is the link: http://www.drudgereportarchives.com/data/2004/08/02/20040802_031804_ta.htm

    Well, George Bush doesn't appear in the film at all.  Don't go making the same mistakes that the conservatives do and go trashing a movie without seeing it, or worse, not getting the joke.

    This is a parody of Michael Bay/Jerry Bruckheimer films and goes to an amazing extreme, especially when presenting puppet sex.  Yes, puppet sex.  Remember, it only got a R rating, instead of an NC-17 rating, after cutting the golden shower sequence out of the movie.  They had to submit the film to the ratings board 10 times.  Here's the link: http://www.cnn.com/2004/SHOWBIZ/Movies/10/06/leisure.teamamerica.reut/index.html

    Take it easy and stop worrying about the effect this movie is going to have on the election.  The movie categorizes people into three groups: dicks, pussies, and assholes.  Don't be a bunch of pussies.

  •  The movie (none)
    is all about stereotypes. It's about the way the average American looks at the world and the people in it. This is not about trashing liberals, in fact Trey Parker and Matt Stone are not conservatives, and they are not completely liberal. They make movies to first entertain people, and second to give a critique on the world we live in.
    Really, do we need to get all into a huff about this? It's only a movie and South Park is the same way.

    Kerry/Edwards: Bringing complete sentences back to the White House.

    by TheIceQueen on Mon Oct 11, 2004 at 03:16:55 PM PDT

  •  They're PUPPETS, people! (none)
    Or to be more exact, marionettes.

    There's a reason these guys made the movie with marionettes- it's supposed to be absurd. The publicity line says something about "creating a new genre of marionette action-adventure movie." They were originally going to digitally remove the strings holding up the characters, but then figured why bother- the movie will seem even more absurd with the strings visible. This is a very "meta" movie that makes a lot of fun of the intertwining of politics and popular culture.

    That said (and speaking as one of the few on this thread who has actually SEEN the movie,) I think it's pointless to speculate about the politics of Parker and Stone. The entire movie was done purposefully from an "America First" point of view: when the film switches locations, the new locale is identified not by country, but as "The Middle East, 7255 miles from America."  Terrorists speak Arabic like this- "Durka durka, Muhammed Ali." This is done because that's the way a lot of Americans view the rest of the world, thanks to Bush and the neocons. It doesn't mean that Parker and Stone subscribe to that point of view. And I don't even have cable, so I don't watch South Park.

    At the end of the movie, I was wondering how they were going to resolve the plot, which had, I thought, skewered both right and left in equal measure. And the movie wound up coming down in the middle. I think that was the ultimate message of the movie- a strictly ideological view on either the right or the left is dangerous, and ignores the real problem (in this case Kim Jung Il... unfortunately, the most realistic part of the movie.)

    This is a hilarious satire on the "'Murca, for us or agin' us" mentality fostered by the administration; I don't believe it's some kind of nihilist rant about tearing down everything we liberals hold dear, or influencing the young male vote. If anything, young males are dumber than I thought if they walk out of this movie wanting to vote Bush. And I used to be one (young that is...)

  •  Trey & Matt are right-wing (4.00)
    Always have been. They won't admit it. Maybe they don't even know it. But they are, no question - they're conservatives of the "I'm not really political but I really fucking hate anyone who is high-profile and liberal" type. I lost my appetite for their crap a long time ago, as it got preachier and preachier.

    "Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it." - Mark Twain

    by soultaco on Mon Oct 11, 2004 at 05:59:42 PM PDT

  •  If Hollywood was mostly conservative... (none)
    Then they'd be making fun of Conservative Hollywood. Just look at what they did to the Passion.

    The point is, anyone rich and famous is fair game. Though I would probably wish they'd have parodied Fox News or Rush or something. Remember, this is only a sneak preview, so maybe they didn't leave out the right after all.

  •  They're Republicans (none)
    They said so three years ago.  They may support various "vices," but so does Glenn Reynolds as long as they don't get in the way of the party's daily talking points.  Their politics have been transparent since the first season of South Park.
  •  Who cares if they are Republicans (none)
    Who else would have had THE BALLS to create a sitcom called "That's My Bush" and air it just months after the Chimpenator takes office?

    We should be thankful we have these guys working in comedy in this country.  They are unique and incredibly talented.

    It is also true that this sort of comedy/satire is and always will be not for everyone.  But see it for yourself before judging it.

    This is probably a good time to once again thank our lucky stars for powerhouse producer Scott Rudin, who is responsible for a stunning triple-play of unusual, thought-provoking films this fall:

  •  Haven't seen the movie but... (none)

    I think we are in danger of losing our senses of humor here.

    As I posted on DU, it is my impression that they are going after pretentious, self-righteous Hollywood types (based on seeing some comments from them on another blog). It turns out that all the self-righteous Hollywood types happen to be liberals.

    I really don't expect that they intended the movie to be anti-progressive values. Afterall, a lot of what they run on SP is pretty progressive in nature itself.

    Now if we could get Sinclair to run Stolen Valor back-to-back with F911 then we would be making a difference...

  •  Parker/Stone are Republicans (none)
    Well, there has been a stronger argument case that Trey Parker an Matt Stone are more conservative than liberal. I don't have the information at my finger tips though...

    I don't care however. There is nothing wrong with political humor. ESPECIALLY not against Democrats who in my opinion are generally whining little bitches anyway.

    And yes, I'm a Democrat.

  •  Humor is very powerful. And personal. (none)
    Not everybody "gets" the same humor.

    But I'm glad we have freedom of humor in this country because that's what makes us human...humble...and wakes us out of stupor.

    Liberals are conservatives who have been through treatment.

    by marjo on Wed Oct 13, 2004 at 07:24:58 PM PDT

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