Sometimes satire's as subtle as a thunderstorm

Full story: Chicago Tribune

T he movie " Tropic Thunder " spreads insult and caricature like napalm across our social sensibilities.
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1 - 12 of 12 Comments Last updated Aug 22, 2008
tried and true American

Chicago, IL

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#1
Aug 16, 2008
 
Hear hear Mr. Greising,

I like to tell my friends and enemies that I don't consider a day well spent unless I offend at least one person. I'm not tactless, and I avoid obvious cliches and beating up on the completely defenseless. But pushing the bounds of good taste is a well worn occupation, and I enjoy it greatly. To those who would take offense, thank you.
Joe A

Chicago, IL

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#2
Aug 16, 2008
 
It's fine for them to picket and boycott the movie and it's fine to go see it. The pickets have raised awareness. When "Cruisin" came out many years ago, I was glad to see my gay bretheren making noise about it. They made people aware that this was not representative of gays. Despite my being gay, I did eventually see the movie.
jables

United States

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#3
Aug 16, 2008
 
If Hollywood was boycotting the movie it would make a whole lot more sense. In the context of the film it is impossible to not realize that the joke is on the Hollywood establishment and no one else. This is just absurd. The bits by Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder would never be allowed to be shown today,even though they spoke greater truths than any protest or journalist could. It's just sad really.
Agreed

Marengo, IL

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#4
Aug 17, 2008
 
Hollywood is a bubble town.

Look at old movies. Even Cary Grant uttered the words: "That's mighty white of you".
Kevin K

Tonawanda, NY

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#6
Aug 17, 2008
 
Funny or Foul? Tagline for 'Tropic Thunder': "Once there was a retard" [VOTE]- http://www.thriveorfail.com/3d914
Brian

United States

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#7
Aug 17, 2008
 
Excellent column
Maggie in LA

Frazier Park, CA

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#8
Aug 17, 2008
 
If you don't think Les Grossman is based on truth, you never worked in Hollywood.

Since: Aug 08

Chicago, IL

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#9
Aug 17, 2008
 
Really great column!

A thought for the day:

"A joke is a very serious thing." --Winston Churchill

But with controversy comes great debate, and with it, a greater understanding.

We should all be so proud of our children with differences as you are!!!!!
bob

United States

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#10
Aug 17, 2008
 
Dude, think you're WAY over-analyzing this movie.
Also, the lecture on satire - please!
Perhaps you should look up words like:
patronizing
self-aggrandizing
grandstanding
pretentious
oh, and finally, BORING.

And the fact that you had do dig back to the "early 1700's" to find an example of satire? Pathetic
Mac

Danville, IL

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#11
Aug 18, 2008
 
bob wrote:
Dude, think you're WAY over-analyzing this movie.
Also, the lecture on satire - please!
Perhaps you should look up words like:
patronizing
self-aggrandizing
grandstanding
pretentious
oh, and finally, BORING.
And the fact that you had do dig back to the "early 1700's" to find an example of satire? Pathetic
Umm, Bob, "A Modest Proposal" is sort of the paradigm of satire in English lit, kind of like "Romeo and Juliet" for a teenage love tragedy. Let me guess -- you're not an English major?
Mark

United States

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#12
Aug 18, 2008
 
BORING commentary on a pretty funny movie. Don't be so damn sensitive...It'll make life more fun for you.
Anne Eason

AOL

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#13
Aug 22, 2008
 
Why we are boycotting Tropic Thunder

Q. What is offensive in the "Tropic Thunder" movie?

A. "Tropic Thunder" repeatedly uses the R-word and portrays people with intellectual disabilities in a derogatory and demeaning way. Specifically, one of the film’s characters, Tugg Speedman (Ben Stiller) plays a role as a farm boy with a mental impairment in a movie trailer called “Simple Jack….Once upon a time there was a Retard.” Throughout the movie "Tropic Thunder" this character is played for laughs in a poor attempt at humor.

Q. What do you want the movie studios to do to make amends?

A. We want DreamWorks and Paramount to step up and help us eradicate this word from all forms of American popular culture. In addition, we want all the major entertainment heads to come together to address this issue and no longer use the R-word in film, television, music or any form of entertainment.

Q. Did DreamWorks seek counsel from disability groups when making that scene in the film?

A. DreamWorks did not seek input or counsel when creating the "Simple Jack" scene of the film. Studios will often seek counsel on sensitive topics from focus groups. It was clear that the producers did not see an issue with the demeaning content of this scene.

Q. Are you calling for a boycott of the "Tropic Thunder" movie?

A. We are calling the public to take action and let the Hollywood community know, especially DreamWorks and Paramount, that this type of language is defamatory and hateful, perpetuating negative stereotypes and the dehumanizing and devaluing of people with intellectual disabilities. Hollywood must take responsibility and accept a role in helping to eradicate this word from our language – NOT promote its use.

Q. Some people will argue that retard is a word that can be found in the dictionary and there is freedom of speech issue at stake. What do you say to them?

A. It is not the word that we object to. It is the use of the word in today’s culture in a demeaning and negative way. As to free speech, we have successfully over the years been able to make it socially and politically incorrect to use other forms of hate speech. It is time to make the pejorative use of the R-word equally unacceptable.

Q. What should concerned citizens who disapprove of this type of hateful language do?

A. Concerned Americans should go to www.r-word.org and become part of a community to promote inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual disabilities by eliminating the pejorative use of the R-word.

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