This year marks the 10th anniversary of Trey Parker & Matt Stone’s marionette masterpiece Team America. While the 2004 action-musical took in a respectable $32M at the box office and received a fair amount of critical acclaim, at the time of its release it was most often characterized by its vulgarity than the sublime brilliance of its message. No doubt this had much to do with who was the butt of many of the jokes.
The musical tells the tale of an elite US CIA-fronted paramilitary group, Team America, whose sole call of duty is to track and hunt international terrorists who threaten the peace and stability of the world. The groups leader enlists the aide of a talented yet troubled actor, Gary, in their latest mission to thwart the (since departed) Kim Jong-Il-led plan to detonate WMD’s across the globe and usher in a new age of darkness and misery. While Team America is pure of heart, and is selfless in it’s dedication to preserve the relative peace of western democracy, they often in their hubris take things a step far, as in the needless destruction of Paris in the opening stanza.
This reckless abandoned draws the ire a group of powerful Hollywood actors and celebrities, the Film Actors Group, or F.A.G. for short. The groups leader, Alec Baldwin (not played by himself, as was the case will all) uses the terrorist bombing of the Panama Canal an as excuse to blame attack Team America, as responsible for worldwide terror and poverty. The story is filled with hilarious songs throughout, including a notable human moment for Kim Jong-Il and a touching tune about the pain of missing a loved one and Michael Bay movies, At its heart this is very patriotic and conservative movie. It is able to examine the soul of America, an America which readily admitting its faults but makes no apology for staying the course in pursuit of an overall goal whose justness is self-evident. The movie also cleverly exposes the left’s naivete and self-righteous narcissism in manner rarely seen in Hollywood. They are portrayed by and large as a group of clueless malcontents, drunk on political correctness and a pathological desire to be adored, whose meddling is at best annoying and at a worst a true threat to peace and natural order of mankind.
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While this was a picture generally celebrated by the right, both Team America and its fore-bearer South Park have failed to receive its due appreciation for their contribution to the conservative movement. For many of the stalwarts within the “Grand Old Party,” the influence of Parker & Stone’s work was either ignored completely or warped by false impressions. Brian C Anderson, who in the National Journal rated Team America the 24th Best Conservative Film, speaks to the establishment conservative mindset when he notes, “its hard to categorize as conservative. It’s amazingly vulgar and depicts Americans as wildly overzealous in fighting terror. Yet the film’s utter disgust with air-headed, left-wing celebrity activism remains unmatched in popular culture.”
This sentiment mirrors the dynamic scene in conservative politics over the past decade as well. Beginning with Ron Paul’s unsuccessful, although noteworthy, attempts to secure the RNC Presidential nomination and followed by the rise of the Tea Party movement, the Saturday morning local GOP pancake breakfasts began to take on new faces. Often these new faces were indeed a bit more, as Anderson puts it, vulgar and overzealous. Certainly not as patient as the old guard in the hopes that “pragmatic conservatism” will be able to ground the snowball of progressive liberalism. We’ve seen this friction manifest itself in the inner party squabbles and primary challenges against establishment incumbents which has, rather than create the mainstream media’s much desired “GOP civil war” given modern conservatism a dynamic energy completely unmatched by the left.
I believe the cultural influence of Team America and South Park has played a vital role in introducing conservatism to a new generation of Americans coming of age in the late 90’s and the first decade of this century. The gang from South Park, Colorado was brought to my attention mid-way into its first season. I admit I was skeptical at first and very much expected the typical left wing sucker punches so prevalent in “Adult Swim” type animation. It wasn’t long into my first episode, Rainforest Shmainforest, that my jaw was on the floor. Without revealing spoilers I’ll just say that I was pleasantly amazed to see (for once) the the left-leaning, environmental zealot teacher be parodied and ridiculed with such humor and insight. I was officially a South Park fan, in fact they had me at the first rendition of “Getting Gay With Kids.” For the yet uniformed or unconverted, Parker & Stine have made available all episodes, free or charge or registration, at South Park Studios, yet another reason to be a fan.
What their work does best is to frame the conservative argument to those who don’t spend their free time reading
Krauthammer,watching Fox or scanning C-SPAN. It also gave, and still gives, the young conservative ammunition that was relevant to their peers, when battling young leftists. It found a way to make conservative “cool.” The campus conservative was no longer simply the well-groomed and polite guys in sweaters but also those sloppy and crude rabble rousers who may give an impassioned defense of the 2nd Amendment in the quad in the afternoon, but may also be seen passed out next to a stack of beer cans later that evening.
The following scene is a perfect example of the appeal Parker & Stone bring to the young conservative. I would also argue it better encapsulates both the domestic differences between conservatives and liberals and serves as an all too important reminder of the importance of these roles in an ever volatile world. PARENTAL WARNING: This clip contains MUCH vulgarity and may be unsuitable for children under 17, thin-skinned liberals and Alec Baldwin. Parents, guardians and sponsors of all groups may be advised to watch this clip alone. That out of the way, enjoy a very poignant look at conservatives, liberals and international assholes, like the bare chested bolshevik we are currently dealing with.
And yes, as we all are very much aware, there is only about an inch half that separates our domestic opponents and international enemies.
South Park is a show that cut across class, racial and ethnic lines and to a lesser degree age. The potential influence of the “South Park Conservative” can be seen in the results of the 2012 Presidential elections. Although Mitt Romney lost this overall group to President Obama, he fared better than John McCain, and produced support that could be very key in breaking the Democrats “Maginot Line” in urban sectors. While President Obama took the 18-29 age group 60%-39% overall, this is owed, almost exclusively, to his support among black and Hispanic young females. While Romney only scored 6% of the overall black vote, his strongest black support came from young males. Romney captured a startling 19% of black males age 18-29. Although this was the most widely used age grouping by national pollsters, there are polls suggesting his support reached as high as 25% when looking at 18-25 year olds. This figure should catch the attention of conservative office seekers and strategist alike.
This is key. Despite the incessant racial demagoguery of the left, a quarter of young black and Hispanic males cast their votes for
Mitt Romney. There are a number of reasons for this. While Romney got only 1% of black females, the primary target and recipient of left wing seduction, it is young black males who have been the primary victim of the progressives “Great Society” schemes. Many know all too well the tragedy of growing up under a political plan that calls for destroying the two-parent nuclear family and economic policies designed to decrease employment opportunity and provide “customers” to the Democrats largest campaign contributors, the bureaucratic machine that facilitates social welfare programs. Along with their young male Hispanic (citizen) counterparts, they’ve seen their goals and dreams for the future pushed aside by a Democrat Party far more concerned with naturalizing illegal aliens, increasing the size of the state and pushing a social agenda counter to their instincts.
Issues directly related to specific communities aside, young black and Hispanic males are in tune with young white males in finding themselves increasingly confused as to their role in society. As the liberal intelligentsia continues its efforts to emasculate young men through cultural conformity, the young “D’s” of our country recognize quite clearly who the “P’s” in our society are and the hypocrisy of their message. They also recognize the real danger posed to America, and the world, by the “A’s” around the globe, currently represented in Vladamir Putin. If Republicans can learn to speak to these voters, they will find yet another new and energetic constituency to bring their voices to the conservative movement. And while this may rankle some of the blue-hairs in the establishment, as the armies of Ron Paul and the early Tea Partiers did before them, they will strengthen our movement and our nation.
America. F yeah!!
By Paul M Winters
Editor in Chief, Dignitas News Service