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Tropic Thunder’ OK

Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I have been blessed with having known my mentally disabled Aunt Susan for my entire life, as well as having my life enriched by working with disabled children in the past, so I agree with Lindsey McMahon that the r-word can be a hurtful word. However, I find that her ensuing indignation of “Tropic Thunder” is more than a little unfair, since she has never seen the film.

Rather than priding herself with having been offended by a movie she has never seen, McMahon could have saved herself the effort of expressing her outrage by actually doing some research on the subject of her Viewpoint letter. Had she actually seen “Tropic Thunder” she might have discovered that the film does not insult the mentally disabled.

The purpose of the film is to lampoon Hollywood. In it, Ben Stiller depicts a bad actor starring as a mentally disabled character in an equally bad film. This is not meant as a slight at the mentally disabled. Far from it. It is more meant as a parody of dramatic movies, whose depictions of the mentally disabled are well-meaning, but poorly executed, with the end result of reinforcing negative stereotypes of these people.

McMahon would do well to understand the difference in fiction between the voice of an author and the voice of a character. It appears that she has legitimate disagreements with particular characters in the film, but since the film sets out to ridicule these same characters, I would suggest that McMahon and the creators of “Tropic thunder” are on the same page. Using her logic, the “Dark Knight” should never have been played at St. Mary’s, since the character of Joker involves himself in numerous activities that would not be condoned by the Catholic Church.

In short, in the future, don’t be so hard on movies you haven’t even seen, because you may be depriving yourself of a valuable experience.

William Sanchez


Knott Hall

Nov. 17