G.I. Joe's Benetton Moment
So the latest GI Joe flick is creating controversy, because the character is no longer portrayed as a typical American soldier. Instead he’s part of some elite murky force of international fighters - a Benetton ad with rocket launchers. On MSNBC, Donny Deutsch tried to take John J. Miller to task over his objections to the change – pointing out that the shift from an iconic American character to a mushy international delight is a “business” decision. For the movie to make money internationally, Donny thinks the character has to become part of global task force of community organizers. To this, I say, “Fiddle faddle,” which is short for “Silly stupid fiddle faddle.”
I wrote about this two years ago, just when Hasbro and Paramount execs decided to give GI Joe a makeover. Back then they felt the world would be too pissed at us for getting rid of Saddam Hussein to go see a movie about an American hero. As it turns out, they were wrong - the backlash over Saddam’s death had less impact than Norman Fell’s.
But for a moment, let’s attempt to use Donny’s logic on other flicks.
“Sex and the City,” my favorite film - made a pile of money around the world, and it was about five American chicks exercising their rights to both unfettered capitalism and sex. According to Deutsch, it would have been better to make them all multi-racial, transgendered dolphins - and stationed them in Brussels in a cool undersea condo shaped like Earth. Granted, that does sound awesome – but it probably would have been less successful than the original concept (which made me cry).
Fact is, our mainstream media feels awkward about anything “American,” and finds the idea of an international force (made up of everybody!) stamping out evil far more palatable than America running the show. But hey, that fantasy doesn’t exist - and if it ever did, Americans would have to run it.
The ugly truth: the world loves America more than MSNBC talking heads are willing to admit. And they like our heroes even more: our Rambos, John McClanes, Supermans, Dirty Harrys and Charlotte Yorks. We make great heroes, because our country is full of them.
They’re just full of it.
Originally posted on August 5, 2009, at the Daily Gut and Big Hollywood.