Sunday, June 5, 2011

Revisiting The Hangover II

After seeing The Hangover II last weekend and posting my review, I came across some bloggers who were upset over the use of the "n" word.  And I sat for minutes racking my brain trying think when the word was used.  I still have no specific recollection, but came to the conclusion that it had to be in lines spoken by Mr. Chow.  And hence the reason I may not have taken any offense.  That's because the Mr. Chow character is offensive on so many levels that he cannot be taken seriously.  And I am not necessarily against the use of such a slur if it's relevant to character, context or plot.  For example, I wasn't really on board with a recent move by a publishing house printing an edition of Huck Finn substituting the "n" word with the word "slave."   I think such censorship has the effect of shutting down legitimate discussions on race.

But whether anyone was bothered by racial slurs in The Hangover II, I was more concerned with the misogyny of the Asian women and transgendered persons portrayed in it.  I get the fact that there is an extensive sex market in Bangkok and to set the movie in a place which rivaled Vegas for debauchery was probably a goal for the filmmakers.  But I'm wondering if there is a deeper message to be had even it is a film that's purpose is almost entirely comedic.  The fact that Westerners travel overseas to a relatively poor country to exploit sex workers without consequence is something that cannot be dismissed readily, even at the expense of laughter.  And so I still cringe while laughing.

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