I remember during the mid to late Bush years, America bashing was a cottage industry within the elite. Since a lot of small-minded Americans were programmed by “the elite” to believe that “the elite” were crowned “the elite” because of their superior intellect (see a pattern?), many average Joe’s started thinking it actually mattered. I did my best to remind them that most of the world gets their images of America through what they see from Hollywood and the media based in New York and Washington. Just like most Americans view France as a culture based around kissing pretty fiances underneath the Eiffel Tower and Italians all look like Sicilians. Nobody produces shows about 98% of the citizenry who live, work and go home to their families to live humble lives. Jersey Shore is more entertaining…somehow. But as the years go by, I’m noticing that Americans are capitulating their own negative stereotypes.
In continuation of yesterday’s post about American culture, In Mala Fide linked to this article from M4 Monologue about how America is viewed through the filter of Hollywood at home and abroad.
“The last movie I ever saw on the Big Screen was the American made “The Hangover”. It convinced me forever that there is nothing in common with me and America, or, the America as portrayed by their Hollywood, and that I never want to watch a movie at the cinema again.”
My best friend was begging me for months to see this movie. He finally brought it over and although it was probably one of the better comedies I’ve seen in a while, that’s not saying much. It’s like eating bad Mexican and praising it because it was better than a Twinkie that’s been dropped in a litter box.
None of the characters were likeable, in fact, they were utterly repugnant. Worse, the movie opened with some “joke” about one of the leading characters being banned from within 500 meters (or something) from a High School for lewd behaviour. This was a” joke”. In other words, one of the main comedic characters was a pedophile.
Coupled with the fact that South Park brought this type of shock humor to the forefront ten years ago. I don’t understand the cognitive dissonance American society has with this kind of humor. It’s viewed as such a taboo and serious subject to the point where we put men in jail for YEARS and then put them on a sexual offender list for LIFE (remember To Catch A Predator?), yet it sure is popular comedic fodder.
I don’t want to spoil the movie for you. It’s not funny. I wanted to laugh. In fact I thought the title sounded like it could be good since I love to drink and talk to drinkers. The fella who was banned from being near a children’s school also made a “joke” about masturbating a baby. There was a moral to the movie. The “hero” dumped his wife who fucked some guy on her car bonnet, and took up with a stripper who left her newborn child with him while he was drunk and on a rampage. That was another “joke” in the movie.
When distilled down like this, you realize why you didn’t laugh when you watched the movie. The problem is that they didn’t even bother to project any sort of reality. No one can seriously relate to waking up amidst a disaster created by three guys and a drunken black-out. No one even comes close to finding a tiger in their bathroom and a happy, bubbly baby under the sink. There is satire and then there is implausibility. The gap between the two in The Hangover is of Grand Canyon sized proportions.
If I were an Arab I could only watch American movies and think: “White women are sluts and deserve all they get. White men are walkovers and deserve to be annihilated.”
I’m a white mid-westerner and think this sometimes. Some days it’s hard to bear with our people who act like grazing cows that are more than happy to spend their lives chewing the cultural cud.
The thing is: Americans may like their society to be portrayed as a morally bankrupt, money obsessed, disaster zone of competing civil rights and victims, heroes and victors but can you at least make it clear that this is Americans you are portraying and not White people in general? Your movies are sickening and portray my girls as sluts and my boy as the deserving beneficiary of a beating. Sort your shit out Yanks.
This whole piece has references to “Jew controlled Hollywood”. I’m not going to jump up and call it anti-Semitic, but the whole “Jews control this or that” has never been an effective argument to me. However, he is right in his observation of the way Americans are portrayed by their own entertainment outlets. Very rarely are common American traits ever presented in a positive light. I’ve mentioned the movie Crash on this blog before and it is a good example here too. This movie is a perfect example of how Americans will gladly pay and be entertained by their own demonization. Crash won Best Picture and made hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office. How could a country as racist as was portrayed in the movie let that happen?
As it is you come across in your movies like you are living the last days of Sodom and Gomorrah.
As our forms of entertainment mirror our culture, sometimes I wonder.