South Park

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Tue Aug 31 18:23:19 MDT 1999

(I was going through the July posts preparing the web archive and came
across Nick's review of the film that has gotten the Christian right all
hot and bothered which Paul F. referred to.)

Louis and list,

...edgy, young comedy emerges in _South Park: Bigger, Longer And
Uncut_.  I'm 27 and this has to be the most powerful anti-war film of my
generation, which should tell you something about what passes as anti-war
films in my generation.  The rah rah _Saving Private Ryan_ and the tedious
insistence that a depraved human nature is necessary, instinctual and
inevitable found in _The Thin Red Line_ are both considered anti-war films
by twits my age.  Even films like _Full Metal Jacket_ are considered
anti-war by my age peers, because it dares to show that you have to get up
early and do pushups before you are allowed to shoot things.  Terrible.

Spoilers, though I strangely doubt folks will care.

In _South Park_,  a middle class squeezed between the rich and the urban
poor start a war with Canada, in order to "protect America's children" (hey,
just like SDI!).  The US quickly opens up "death...I mean HAPPY camps" for
Canadian-Americans, explains the newsreel in the film.  Sheila Broflovski,
the leader, in spite of her own Judaism and the fact that her adopted son
Ike is Canadian, has no problem spewing propaganda and racial hatred about
Canadians (and their beady eyes and flapping heads) on tv and in front of
the UN.  The battle goes on and the Canadians plead for a peace settlement,
"but of course we aren't listening" says an off-screen narrator.  Sound
familiar?  Of course it does. Wouldn't know it from watching American movies

The two major military operations are "Operation Human Shield" which is a
frontal assault by black soldiers and "Operation Hide Behind The Darkies"
which is the far more valuable white soldiers hidding behind the blacks.
(What other movie of the 1990s admits that this sort of thing happens?) And
in the climactic scene, when the character Chef has his black squadron duck
and the Canadian missiles blow the hell out of the rest of the US Army, my
multiracial Jersey City theater cheered.

In addition to the black soldiers deciding to turn against the US, the kids
themselves start a resistance movement to stop the war. No namby-pamby
prayers for peace here, the kids break into a military installation and free
Canadian POWs, risking their lives.  The film is definitely anti-partiotism
and anti-imperialist.

Of course, there are also tons of homophobia and a poisonous view of
sexuality, though it is worth noting that Satan, who is guy, ends up being
very sympathetic, showing that this whole God thing is a lie.  I thought
_South Park's_ portrayal of the US as an aggressor who needs to be defeated
from within and its acknowledgement that the middle class can respond to to
crisis with near fascist impulses were positive though.

Nick Mamatas

Louis Proyect

More information about the Marxism mailing list