Clearing the Fog
in the
War of Words


  logomachy--1. A dispute about words. 2. A dispute carried on in words only; a battle of words.
logomachon--1. One who argues about words. 2. A word warrior.



Common-Weality-based community

The left’s LOL practice of referring to itself as a “reality-based community” went to ROFL after the election as it complained that a close (2.98%) loss was one more heartless abusive blow to their self-esteem and oh-by-the-way the end of the world.

The Democrats think Kerry lost because they just somehow didn’t quite understand red states. But they are wrong. It isn't just one thing. If the Democrats were any more disconnected from reality, they would be trying to fly out of windows and shaking hands with lampposts en masse.

A lovely example of how pathetically unable they are to imagine a world in which 51% of the people might vote Republican is a review of “Team America: World Police” in the 3 December issue of the liberal Catholic magazine Commonweal. As you probably know, “Team America” is by Matt Stone and Trey Parker of “South Park” fame. Team America, a co-ed A-Team with cooler toys, fights terrorists, who turn out to be underwritten by Kim Jong Il and backed by a gang of Hollywood stars like Susan Sarandon, Alec Baldwin, and Sean Penn.

[This isn’t a review, but if reviews have made you think you want to see it or rent it, my advice is forget about it. It is awful, and doubly so for being disappointing. It’s great that it “puts the ‘F’ back in Freedom”, and a treat to see Hans Blix fed to sharks and Susan Sarandon hurled 6 stories to splat like a ripe tomato, but when my wife said I owed her big time for dragging her to it, I didn’t argue. Save $20 and two hours: find somebody who really liked it and have him describe the good bits to you.]

Here is how Richard Alleva sees the movie.
Team America: World Police is the all-marionette satire of our current administration’s penchant for unprovoked invasion. Its creators . . . had the brilliant idea of debunking the mindset that brought about the invasion of Iraq without ever mentioning Bush, Cheney, et al., . . . and without overtly referring to the invasion. [Ed. emphasis added.]
That’s clever. Bush and Iraq aren’t mentioned, so the movie must be a satire of Bush’s Iraq adventure. Just the way Moby Dick, which never mentions Standard Oil and John D. Rockefeller, is about the titanic struggle to build Standard Oil into an industrial behemoth. Oil is black, and Standard Oil is big, and, being a corporation, is ipso facto evil, while Moby Dick is white, and big, and being a whale, is good. Kerosene comes from oil and replaced whale oil as lamp fuel. It all makes sense! because I hate Big Oil and John D. Rockefeller.

Alleva’s enjoyment of the movie is not unsullied, though.
Parker and Stone don’t sustain the political satire of the initial scenes. Instead, they unintentionally turn their movie into a different, smaller kind of satire, a lampooning of Hollywood lefty celebrities. Because Parker and Stone wanted to satirize the mindset of George W. and Co. by getting inside it, they picture Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Alec Baldwin, Sean Penn, all the usual suspects, not only as war protestors but as gun-toting, karate-chopping champions of the North Korean dictator. On paper, that’s a valid way of satirizing right-wing paranoia. [Ed. emphasis added.]
And that’s a problem because
the more we laugh at the Hollywood stars, the more “Team America” looks like direct satire of Hollywood and less and less like an attack on politicians. And that’s a very odd thing for a political satire to do.
Despite the evidence and lack of evidence in front of him, Alleva remains convinced that the movie is mocking the politics that he wants mocked. He knows this because he wields that sovereign tool of liberal analysis: He knows what Stone and Parker’s thoughts and intentions are. Just as he knows without evidence what the intentions and motives of Bush and Cheney are.

In point of fact, “Team America” does fall flat, because it faithfully follows the plot arc of the team-with-a-mission films it is satirizing while failing to subvert the conventions of the individual scenes. The first scenes have some loopily over-the-top wish-fulfillment for the Baghdad Lutetiaque delendi sunt crowd, such as yours truly, but most of the rest is uninspired. While I’m sure Stone and Parker didn’t mean to be boring, Alleva believes the lampooning of Hollywood stars is “unintentional”. His case, to use his phrase, does all work on paper, especially inside the Democrat mutual affirmation society.

Unfortunately for his case, it doesn’t work if Stone and Parker’s intended targets actually are Islamic terrorists and pompous, hate-America liberals. If he had looked, well, almost anywhere, he’d know that out in the real world, Parker and Stone went from “right-leaning” non-voters in 2000 to being self-declared, Bush/Cheney tee-shirt wearing Republicans in 2004.




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