South Park

Louis and list,

Absolutely right of course. Strangely enough, a partial exception to reaction in 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 though.

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 crisis with near fascist impulses were positive though.

Nick Mamatas