Orientalism can be seen throughout Cinema. One genre that this is especially prevalent is comedies. Writers try to get cheap laughs out of racist stereotypes. A lot of the time the jokes are mostly tongue and cheek, almost satirical in nature. The writers seem to be aware of the controversy of the content, so they try to overdue it in attempt to justify the ignorance. One extremely harsh example of this in Team America: World Police.
In the movie a fictional military team called “Team America: World Police” is tasked with stopping terrorist threats on the United States. The movie portrays the Middle Eastern terrorists and North Koreans as inhuman are cartoon-ish. They make fun of their language and imitate it crudely.
Sure, it could be argued that the movie does the same to the Americans. World Police points out the hubris of the United States and how self righteous America is. However, this satire doesn’t really do its job. It is not really satire at all. Showing foreign people we are currently at war as strange and ridiculous does not help. Movies like this only further enable racist mindsets and ignorant adolescents who are usually the ones watching this type of movie.
This type of nonsensical and proactive comedy does not engage the viewer in a conversation about race. It points fun and asks them to laugh along. It validates, and even furthers, a xenophobic mindset. One that further divides the conflicts we face today.
2 thoughts on “Satirical or Racist – Team America: World Police”
Great point. Satire isn’t really satire if it does not show how we can change the mindset. If all it does is exaggerate something, without showing that it is wrong and there is another way to see the world, it is just going to perpetuate the mindset.
I completely agree that there is a line between trying to provoke change with satire and flat-out disrespecting an entire culture. People use comedy as an excuse all the time, and sometimes it works, but there is a thin margin between the two. I think we’re in an era right now where we’re trying to find the happy medium, but we were so far on the racist side for so long that it’s going to take us a while to get there.