Let’s have a heated debate! Opening salvo in the Irish media on Tropic Thunder. I spoke to Newstalk early Thursday about my problems with the movie. You’ll have to overlook the nasty case of cotton mouth I got at the start of the conversation. I ain’t no media-savvy talker. But I think I covered what I wanted to say. Eventually.
As I suspected, there was a barrage of ‘Well don’t go and see it then’ type comments, but the funniest for me had to be when an emailer with red hair likened schoolday name calling (Rusty? Ginger? Dunno. S/he didn’t elaborate.) to the ‘Never go Full Retard’ conundrum. Even to the point of saying they were ok now, and what’s the big deal exactly? I know that’ll be a huge comfort to those who have Down syndrome. When they eventually grow out of it they’ll laugh and hoot at other ‘retards’ and there’ll be cotton candy for everyone and-
But how will they defend themselves without the right tools? Oops, pics of right tools included.
Oh enough sarcasm. My head is tired with this yin-yang. I want to thank two people tonight. Firstly Hammie, who’s been hammering home all the pieces of the debate that I dropped (and there were lots) on forums all over the place. Secondly rock on to Sharon who made some superb points across a few forums. Not only is she concerned and vocal, but she’s also thorough. (She posted this at her place and I’m hijacking it.) Here’s where Stiller got the inspiration for his inspired and inspiring send-up of Tinseltown, actors and egotism:
And more news reports :
And on the other hand…
From the fully informed perspective, Tom at Narrow Ridge has seen, and has written a very balanced view here. He also has a son with DS, Ian, and so his perspective is relevant. Read part 1 here…
And from Suzie Smith in Utah, first hand opinion on the movie here.
Tomorrow morning between nine and eleven, national Irish broadcaster Newstalk 106 will debate the upcoming Ben Stiller movie Tropic Thunder. It ought to get lively. Opinions will be sought, including mine. The film opens today in the US. Its premiers have attracted crowds of protesters who wish to ban it.
I haven’t seen it, and I’m not in favour of banning it, or proscribing the words used in it for that matter, although the ‘R word’ (as the US euphemism is known to the disability lobbyists) has much more weight there than it does here. More on that at a later date. What I do have a problem with is the way that DreamWorks has manipulated the content of this movie, to the point of making a dedicated website, trailer and even merchandising for the fictitious movie within Tropic Thunder called Simple Jack. Its strapline read ‘Once there was a retard.’ References to it on the web have pretty much disappeared. Step up and take a bow, US Disability lobbyists.
(In my utter naivete, I know) I see studios as being a type of moral barometer in these issues. Or at least I want to see them that way. The tone they set will in turn be adopted by the more impressionable, especially the young. The fact that a stellar cast of great comedic talent is involved makes this all the more likely. Fourteen year olds don’t give a flying monkey’s about the scriptwriters’ determination to lampoon Hollywood. They’ll think ‘retard’ bashing is an open sport, and vulnerable people will be hurt. That’s the point for me. Just that. And I want to make my point known. Thanks to people who have opened up the debate so far, including here and here. Apologies if I left you out.
If you want to voice your opinion for Newstalk’s debate you can email email@example.com and mark the subject Tropic Thunder.
Major thanks to Hammie for the push on this one. She is queen of everything, you know.