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Added By: Wendy
Added on: 08/13/2008 @ 1:48:21 PM
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Dozens protest at 'Tropic Thunder' premiere

People will always protest something.
What I don't get, is that they're protesting the "R" word ... but hardly anyone seems to be riled by the fact that Robert Downey Jr. is, in effect, in blackface for much of the movie.

Now, it's a comedy, so I'm not necessarily asking how you feel about the rights of the disabled or minorities.
Instead, I want to know ... where do these two issues fit on the scale of "Un-PC-ness" and why has one become such a bigger deal than the other?
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wendy.gifWendy
08/13/2008 @ 01:51:11 PM
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simplejack.jpg
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vignette.bmpCarlos44ec - Tag This
08/13/2008 @ 03:21:41 PM
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People need to get their collective heads out of their collective asses. All this PC crap is getting out of hand. I dare say it "offends" me.

Wendy, you win.
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - I hate our freedoms
08/13/2008 @ 03:34:02 PM
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Well first off, we're a huge country, and these protests often involve a small number of people, so that's how it seems someone is always protesting everything.

I imagine that there might be someone somewhere protesting the "blackface" thing, but I also gather from the trailer that it's addressed as a controversy in the movie itself and the whole joke of it is how ridiculous that would be "in real life", so maybe black people have a sense of irony. (Unlike fanatical Muslims who reacted to a cartoon depicting them as violent by blowing stuff up and threatening to murder people.)

Now, I haven't seen it, but I suspect that the "Simple Jack" thing is a similar type thing. The whole joke is likely how preposterously offensive that would be, though the situation is a bit different because it is also actually offensive.

As for the word "retarded" I try to avoid saying it, but every now and then I call one of my friends retarded when they're acting retarded. I cringe on the inside every time I say it.

That being said, one could argue that, although its origin is obvious, calling something "retarded" isn't necessarily referring to anything anymore. I'm not sure how best to explain what I mean. I guess it's like calling something "gay." At this point in our language's evolution you aren't saying "That thing is bad, just like homosexuality," the slang definition sort of stands on its own. Though I'm not sure this makes a great analogy since the slang term "gay" means "lame" which is even more removed from homosexuality, whereas you actually DO mean the person is acting at less than full mental capacity when you call them "retarded." Also, "gay" has alternate meanings in the first place and preceded meaning "homosexual."

Furthermore many of the insults we use (moron, idiot, imbecile etc) are actual "medical" conditions that someone somewhere can't help and could be offended by.

All THAT being said, I'm not sure this is an example of the PC movement running amok. As a culture we probably are way too accepting of the word "retarded".
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Jeremy edited this 2 times, last at 08/13/2008 3:37:51 pm
jon.jpgJon - 2847 Posts
08/13/2008 @ 04:51:47 PM
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Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 03:34:02 PM
I imagine that there might be someone somewhere protesting the "blackface" thing, but I also gather from the trailer that it's addressed as a controversy in the movie itself and the whole joke of it is how ridiculous that would be "in real life", so maybe black people have a sense of irony.


I was gonna say something like this, but Jeremy posted as I was typing, so I'll just "second" it, kind of.
I assume the joke of the whole thing is in it's absurdity - whether it's in the absurdity that moviemakers would try it logistically or that they'd be insensitive or whatever. Of course, I haven't seen the movie, and don't know much about it anyway, but I have to imagine the joke is about mockery of a concept rather than a mockery of black people. Which is worlds apart.

As for the "R - word" in question, it's probably not wise for me to form too much of an opinion without seeing the movie, because in general, doesn't the way in which something is used really make the difference? And don't misunderstand my point here, I don't really think that word ever needs to be used, specifically in a mocking context, and I don't use it myself and it actually bothers me when people do. I'm sympathetic to the cause. But I'm not gonna say just because the word appears in the movie that someone has done something wrong. For example, I wonder if, in this movie, the inpropriety of the word isn't actually the joke there. Much like the famous Michael Scott quote. Even so, it doesn't mean it's wise or ok, because even keeping the word in use (especially if the quote is repeated by fans) is probably damage enough, but still, that type of thing can be a joke largely aimed at people's insensitivity, which still seems different than having a joke where a person with a disability is the actual target. But it is dangerous territory.

And to stretch it even further (likely way beyond the scope of this particular movie), a character in a film using a particular word isn't necessarily an endorsement of the word. It could be. But it could also be used to show the negative effects of the word. The use of the word could just be another trait of a character, like how some characters are rude to people and some characters are greedy. Sometimes movies are descriptive of how people behave more than they are suggestive of how they should behave, though I think they do tend to glamorize unwanted behaviors often times in the process.
All that being said, the people who did watch the movie seemed to be insulted so the filmmakers probably cross some line in this instance. Though, I do wonder if just hearing the word set off some internal alarms that overshadow the context sometimes. But who knows? We'll have to all go see the movie and become more informed while we make lots of money for it.




(OK, after typing most of that I actually found a clip that may help inform us of the tone of the word use. My comment was basically all typed out when I watched it, though I admit I did make a small revision or two after it, but my initial ideas are basically all still there I think.)

http://www.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/Movies/08/12/film.tropic.thunder.protest.ap/index.html#cnnSTCVideo
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Jon messed with this 3 times, last at 08/13/2008 4:58:30 pm
jon.jpgJon - 1 bajillion posts
08/13/2008 @ 06:02:36 PM
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I realized I may not have answered Wendy's question, which was "where do these two issues fit on the scale of "Un-PC-ness" and why has one become such a bigger deal than the other?"

Like Jeremy, I'm not sure if this is PC gone wild. Maybe, maybe not.

But for the issue of relative PC levels in general, isn't the issue's place on the PC scale largely determined by how vocal people are regarding the cause?

Just a thought. There's probably more to it too, but I'm tired right now.
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flower .jpgPackOne - Don't mess with Jeremy. He owns your tag lines.
08/13/2008 @ 08:22:47 PM
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People are too sensitive.
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scott.jpgScott - No, I did not change your screen saver settings
08/13/2008 @ 08:25:58 PM
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PackOne Wrote - Today @ 09:22:47 PM
People are too sensitive.


I can't believe would say something like that. And what do you mean by "people".
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flower .jpgPackOne - Yeah, and you don't stop, 'caus its 1-8-7 on a ...
08/13/2008 @ 09:37:26 PM
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Scott Wrote - Today @ 08:25:58 PM
PackOne Wrote - Today @ 08:22:47 PM
People are too sensitive.
I can't believe would say something like that. And what do you mean by "people".


Nice one, took me a second, I'm you know well kinda ...
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - Pie Racist
08/14/2008 @ 03:31:36 PM
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I watched that clip Jon posted. The scene from the movie is fairly offensive, but you also get the sense that Ben Stiller's character thinks what Robert Downey Jr's character is saying is a little offensive. (Well, maybe he doesn't think it's offensive, but he's doing his "Ben Stiller subtle questioning 'what's wrong with this guy' straightman look" that he does in every scene where someone else is being insane.) I enjoyed in the middle where the guy said that the "R-word" is used 17 times while the "N-word" is used once, as if it would be ok if they were equal, or as if "counts" are relevant in and of themselves. (Although there is a little to be said for the "equal opportunity offender" approach.) I also enjoyed the canned "This is America and people are entitled to their opinion" responses from the actors that follow anything like this.
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Jeremy messed with this 3 times, last at 08/14/2008 3:53:14 pm
fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - 8953 Posts
08/14/2008 @ 03:40:34 PM
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Also at the end of the clip there you see people who actually have downs syndrome protesting. At the risk of asking perhaps the most ignorant/offensive thing of all, do people who actually are retarded even really realize why they're there protesting? Or I guess I mean would they even realize they should be offended, or are they being told they should be upset by this? (Not that the parents and whatnot wouldn't have some cause to gripe anyway.)

Is this a situation like when kids are drug to protests against homosexuality and told "you don't like this" before they even know what sex is, let alone understand the issue?
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Jeremy screwed with this at 08/14/2008 3:42:33 pm
scott.jpgScott - 6225 Posts
08/14/2008 @ 06:45:39 PM
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That is a good point, Jeremy. I'll admit.
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - I believe virtually everything I read.
08/14/2008 @ 08:27:55 PM
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I don't think I was trying to make a point, necessarily. I wasn't playing Socrates, I was actually asking if anyone knows, like Jon, for example.
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Jeremy perfected this 2 times, last at 08/14/2008 8:28:11 pm
vignette.bmpCarlos44ec - Tag This
08/15/2008 @ 01:34:55 PM
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Soh-crates
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