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Home > People

Poison Penn

15 October 2004

Trey Parker and Matt Stone's new puppet/terror war film, 'Team America: World Police' is released across America today, so naturally they've been doing the plug circuit for the last couple of weeks.

During an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Matt Stone said this: 'If anyone walks out of this movie, or a Michael Moore movie, thinking about voting a different way, then they're fucking stupid and shouldn't be voting.' He also said this: 'If this movie makes you think that much, you're too weak-kneed to vote.' And this: 'If you don't know what you're talking about, there's no shame in not voting.' Three statements with which it is surely quite difficult to argue.

Sean Penn however, is pissed. So much so that he wrote a letter to Parker and Stone, who in turn were so amused by his letter that they passed it on to the press. Last Friday it appeared on The Drudge Report. In the letter, Penn wrote that he didn't mind them using his name and mocking his righteousness, but...: '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... if you don't know what you're talking about' (Mr. Stone) without mentioning the shame of not knowing what your talking about, and encouraging people to know.'

Bugger. So it's true what they've been saying over at Right Nation all this time: Sean Penn really is a doofus. One can only hope that when he wrote the letter he was pissed in the English as well as the American sense. Pompous fucker can't even write straight. He said 'your' when he meant 'you're'. Unforgivable.

Penn's main gripe seems to be that Stone didn't follow up his comments with 'but there's no excuse to be ignorant - get educated, get voting.' Or in the words of one poster on a certain movie forum: 'Uneducation is not an excuse.' Which, yeah, you know, in a sense, fair enough, it might have been nice. But fucking hell - Matt Stone is an animator, a film maker, above all a comedian - he can say what the fuck he likes - and what he did say was spot on. If you're ignorant, don't fucking vote. He could even have gone further with that and argued that the right to vote should actually be denied to the truly ignorant. Because it should. There should be tests on registration forms. (If only there were a decent way of determining ignorance - apart of course from examining how someone votes.)

Sean Penn signed his letter thus: 'All best, and a sincere fuck you.' Then in a PS, he invited Parker and Stone to do a tour of Baghdad with him. 'I'll show you around,' he wrote. 'When we return, make all the fun you want.' Jesus. Lighten up, Sean.

Even more ridiculous than Penn however, was the reaction to 'Team America' of the MPAA, America's ratings people, who were determined to give the film an NC-17 rating, which generally means that most cinemas won't touch it and many papers won't accept advertising for it. (What a country! If a film is considered for adults only, then most cinemas won't show it. Brilliant.) Anyway, in order to get an R rating, the MPAA made Parker and Stone cut out all the really steamy puppet sex - the golden showers, the ringpiece shots, and insisted the most they could show was the missionary position. But of course they didn't mind the horrible sickening violence.

After all, they're only puppets.

'Team America' opens here middle of January, 2005.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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