5.13.2008

Summer Blockbuster with a Side of Xenophobia



So, guess what movie I’m NOT going to see this summer? Yep. That’s right. The new Adam Sandler wart of a film, You Don't Mess With The Zohan, brought to us by the same douchebags who brought us last summer’s I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. The premise, in a very small nutshell (think pistachio or filbert), is an Israeli commando fakes his own death in order to move to the US to work as a hair stylist. A concept that will, no doubt, hilariously allow for plenty of both racial and gay jokes. Hollywood is ushering in the summer with offensive cultural stereotypes and homophobic language! Boo-ya!

Even though it doesn't come out until June, from the synopses and early screening reviews I’ve read, it seems fairly unanimous that the film takes every offensive stereotype of middle easterners and exploits them until your teeth are grinding uncomfortably together. One reviewer wrote, “If you are middle eastern, have middle eastern friends or just don’t like racist jokes, this movie is definitely not for you at all”. So, I guess if you’re an ignorant red neck who has no middle eastern friends and really likes racist jokes, then this movie is TITS.

Yeah, the thing we need most right now is a good ole racially charged comedy about middle easterners just to strengthen the cultural stereotypes and strongly reaffirm US and THEM. And way to surreptitiously encourage people to blindly support the IDF! – that’s a smart move right now too. Hezbollah hotline? Seriously? How is that okay?

How about a comedy that is evenhanded and promotes peace, using a little device known as wit? Because here's another thing, I'll bet that anyone who condemns this craptastic movie for the culturally offensive, Israeli propaganda that it is (yes, even despite the fact that Sandler's character apparently falls for a Palestinian), will be labelled anti-semitic. How much ya wanna bet? And then there will be those who high-handedly scoff it's "just a movie", get over it. Yeah well, Birth of a Nation was just a movie too.

Yes I know, stereotypes abound. Southerners are stereotyped as inbred and uneducated. But see, people can laugh at that kind of stereotype because they know it's not a true representation of southern people. However, arab-phobia is rampant largely due to people (okay, Americans) being globally unaware and not having any real idea what Arabs are actually like or how they live or what they deal with on a daily basis. So, movies like Zohan are dangerous because the majority of the population doesn't have any alternate information to combat the stereotypes being put in front of them. Hence the whole not funny thing.

I'm not promoting indiscriminant political correctness. Really. But many people are simply not mature enough for entertainment that promotes false images of other cultures. The majority of the people who will buy a ticket to see this movie will be the globally uneducated who will have difficulty distinguishing fact from fiction. Offensive stereotypes just serve to dehumanize, and do we really need that right now?

You Don't Mess With The Zohan - this summer’s huge gay bashing, xenophobic comedy! Yippee.

6 comments:

Gibbarella said...

red·neck –noun 1. an uneducated white farm laborer, esp. from the South.
2. a bigot or reactionary, esp. from the rural working class.
–adjective
3. Also, red-necked. narrow, prejudiced, or reactionary: a redneck attitude.

First you say the only people that will watch this is red necks and then you say you are not being prejudice to southerners. Your whole blog is about stereotyping middle easterners and yet you are in fact stereotyping southerners. Why dont you find out in fact what city has the most sales in theaters. Maybe Sandler is just trying to lighten everyone up about the subject.

cathryn said...

Huh? "Boy I don't understand a word you just said..."

Um, actually I didn't say only rednecks will watch this movie...just that this type of movie is especially attractive to those who tend to have "predujiced, narrow and reactionary" views (which, as you point out, is what a "redneck" is).

Rednecks are to be found in every corner of the country...not just the south. And in fact I pointed out that some stereotypes (like those often associated with southerners) tend to be inoffensive because we all have alternate information to counteract those stereotypes (as I pointed out).

And maybe Sandler IS trying to lighten everyone up about the subject, but I think he's doing it in an irresponsible way (again, as I pointed out). I just don't think that this type of culturally offensive movie is going to help the peace process along. Making fun of a crisis that is currently costing hundreds of lives, doesn't seem to be the best direction to take.

How about Sandler gives half of his $20 million dollar PER movie salary to the Israeli, Palestinian, and Lebanese victims instead of strengthening negative cultural stereotypes? How about that?

Jennifer said...

Yikes...all this about a movie?? I guess if we dissect almost any movie, we'll discover the subtle (or not so subtle) agenda. What happened to your "live and let live" mantra -- aren't you the liberal one who feels that everyone should be entitled to their own opinions and "if you don't like it, don't watch it?" Honestly, I don't think this movie is any more "dangerous" than any other movie. This time the object of their attention is Arabs, but there is always a "target" in movies - sometimes it's women, sometimes it's the government, sometimes it's our president (but you don't find that dangerous?). I really don't think Adam Sandler is a major influence in society's view of the world so don't panic, honey!

As for the "anti-gay" part, I think you only have to turn on prime-time TV to see that we are certainly seeing plenty of "pro-gay/pro-inclusion" from the media....did anyone see Grey's Anatomy on Thursday (double-whammy dose of political correctness with the gay military men making out) or Brothers & Sisters on Sunday (gay wedding)?

cathryn said...

Don't worry honey...I'm not panicking, sorry if I gave that impression. And my "live and let live" philosophy is still intact - never fear. Everyone IS entitled to their own opinion - including me :)

boty said...

"Adam Sandler wart of a movie" LMFAO!!!!!

Ben said...

Kudos to you, Kathryn. Even the

high-brow press like The New

Yorker have a dangerous tendency

waste time offering weak criticism

of films such as Zohan and Chuck

and Larry that miss entirely the

fact that they are recklessly

juvenile films pandering to

socially undesirable hicks and

yokels who get orgasms chaining

innocent gays to fencepost and

beating their heads in and resent

able-minded Jews because they

themselves are pathetic,

unimaginative, beer-swilling

illiterates. I must disagree,

however, with your statement that

the sterotypes of Southerners are

not true. I have lived in North

Carolina,Louisiana,

Kentucky, and North Carolina, and

I can verify that the South is a

Satanist's buffet.