Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Sean Penn v South Park

After satirising him in their upcoming Team America: World Police movie, creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have received a tongue lashing from anti-Bush activist, Sean Penn, for supposedly disparaging comments they made apropos voting in a recent edition of Rolling Stone.

"I remember not being bothered as you traded on my name among others to appear witty, above it all, and likeable to your crowd," Penn's purported letter says, referring to Parker and Stone including a puppet version of the actor in their upcoming Team America.

"I never mind being of service, in satire and silliness. I do mind when anybody who doesn't have a child, doesn't have a child at war, or isn't or won't be in harm's way themselves, is encouraging that there's 'no shame in not voting.'

"You guys are talented young guys but alas, primarily young guys," the letter continues. "It's all well to joke about me or whomever you choose. Not so well, to encourage irresponsibility that will ultimately lead to the disembowelment, mutilation, exploitation, and death of innocent people throughout the world."

Parker and Stone's latest film, the puppet-powered Team America, takes on heavy political issues like terrorism with their trademark irreverence in full effect. While both Parker and Stone are far from conservative, both have taken some heat for their perceived oversimplified caricatures of Saddam Hussein in their 1999 film South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut and Kim Jong Il in the soon-to-be released Team America.

Team America also reportedly features a sequence in which Penn pal Susan Sarandon is dropped from a skyscraper and her equally political partner Tim Robbins is set on fire--no doubt a sure-fire Penn pleaser. Penn's puppet doppleganger puts in an appearance as part of a group of liberal actors who go to Korea for a ill-conceived attempt at striking a peace accord."

I'm really gonna have to sit on the fence on this one. I admire Penn as both one of the most gifted actors of our time, and as a vociferous anti-war campaigner. But then again...who doesn't love Stone and Parker, who too satirise (and criticise) US policies and citizens in their works? So, guys. Can't we all just learn to...get along??

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