Making Fun of Retards

Posted on March 26, 2010

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It’s Oscar month, here’s a remainder that some films are meant to entertain and not educate.

History has never been short of controversial topics for motion pictures and literature. When Rushdie’s Satanic Verses appeared on shelves, man Shi’a Muslims practically fell over themselves in a fit of religious fervour to kill the author. Justified or not, the offended in this scenario had reasonable grounds to take offense. After all, the book had mentioned (though in dream sequences) provocative texts from the Quran.

But when special interest groups start to read into the subtext of popcorn movies and make liberal interpretations into seeming allegory, it starts becoming a little ridiculous.

Take for example, Tropic Thunder starring Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr. This stellar cast of formidable comedic potential in a Hollywood comedy was obviously not evidence enough that this movie was a poke at self-important movie stars. Enter stage right, cue dialogue regarding the absurd dedication of some actors playing character retards and suddenly, this blockbuster laughathon has become a politically incorrect punch insulting genuine retards (sorry, special needs individuals) worldwide. If that wasn’t enough, Avatar, a sci-fi action flick birthed from the loins of Tinseltown director-mogul James Cameron has managed to draw wrath and ire from everyone including but not limited to: anti-smoking activists, the Chinese, Some Russians, the Vatican and military patriots.

The cast of AVATAR. at the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards

I don’t understand how a magnum opus of bows, robot suits and flying dragons becomes a film of political interest. Additionally, the furore over a fictional chain-smoking “Ripley from Aliens” inspired scientist was completely disproportional to the intent of the director. This is Mr. Cameron, father of The Terminator and The Titanic we’re talking about here, not Michael Moore, father of populist left-wing films.

Fine, I agree, smoking is bad, we should be careful about how action movies inspire copy-cat teen smokers but what of the Vatican? They were absolutely livid over realistic CGI animistic-nature worship. How can the Holy See decide to “smite” the Na’vi ignore the Jedi (It’s a recognised religion)?

Currently, the majority of our films are formulaic, well-marketed leisure pursuits, we no longer have the benefit of intellectual and academic inspirations from days of yore; almost all modern day entertainment comes from financially driven producers looking for the next big money maker.

Today, people are projecting their inadequacies by reading into a director’s political, environmental and social motives when all he wants is to just make a good movie and earn a few million bucks.

Somehow, between the media whore leanings of Paris Hilton and political aspirations of Arnold Schwarzenegger, we’ve all managed to turn this whole culture of entertainment into a Rorschach test of ludicrous proportions. There are few political or environmental movies, those that are, say they are, otherwise they’re just there to entertain. Saying otherwise is akin to postulating that Garfield movies promote a culture of irresponsible pet ownership.

Anyone attempting to engage me in a socio-political discussion of the next Hollywood blockbuster will be treated like a “special needs individual” and mocked accordingly.

Jonathan  writes for Augustman.com and maintains a column while covering the watch beat for the print magazine. August Man and Augustman.com is property of CR Media Pte Ltd. You can visit http://www.augustman.com for stylish men’s fashion, luxury brand and high end watch reviews, travel stories, social commentary, trendspotting and motoring.
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Posted in: the critic