America: The International Judiciary?

Image

“Team America Teaser 01.” Team America Teaser. Star Store, n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2012. <http://www.starstore.com/acatalog/Team_America-teaser-01-01.jpg&gt;.

The Poster for the Movie Team America: World Police portrays a satirical world in which America has the authority to single-handedly protect freedom across the globe.

At first glance there is a lot going on in this image. In the center, there is a man facing away from us holding a weapon and wearing web gear. He is dressed in a shirt that says world police at the back, and camouflage pants. To the left of him, there are helicopters in the sky over pyramids and a statue. In the foreground, a tower stands along with an unrecognizable building to its left. In front of the character (background of the image) there is a large fireball engulfing much of the image.

Upon closer inspection it is clear that this is a movie poster for the satirical movie Team America, a movie that pokes at the notion that America polices the world. In this picture, a member of team America watches over the world represented by the Giza Pyramids, the Eiffel Tower, Mount Rushmore and the Tower Bridge of London as it is being ripped to shreds by war.

One major symbol that the poster uses is the uniform that the main character in the foreground is wearing. He has a shirt that says “world police” on the torso, but it also has the American Flag on the sleeves. The two ideas that each represent conflict. One represents 1 country out of 207 sovereign states in the world, a player in the game of international diplomacy. The world police title on the shirt suggests that this man is part of a different sort of group: a referee over world politics. Referees in games are not players, and there’s a reason for that. Players try to win, while referees objectionably mediate to make sure no wrongdoing occurs during gameplay. Translating the referee/player model to international affairs, it seems that the world police would be representative of a referee in a sport, a group that makes sure that no factions of people are doing wrong to others. But at the same time, how can that group be from one country? That defies the basic rules of playing versus officiating. The two don’t mix in sports because of the clash in purpose between the two groups, so it seems questionable that the situation should be any different in the real world

This movie as a whole, and particularly the poster encourages the viewer to beg the question, does it seem right that we believe that we have to “protect” freedom for other peoples and nations. The movie also suggests through humor that America is one country of many, it shouldn’t have the authority of an international judiciary.

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2 comments

  1. JJ,
    This is a very insightful interpretation of this image. I especially appreciate your analysis of the political environment implied by the movie. Your thesis is much stronger this time, but could do a little better to be argued against; it was perhaps too factual. I would have also appreciated a comment on the humorous tagline or perhaps on the fact that the man in the picture is a puppet, although it is not entirely necessary. Overall, I think this is a very well-constructed exposition and analysis of your content. Furthermore, your choice of content was impeccable; Team America is a hilarious movie with strong political opinions and messages that could use some analysis. Good Job!
    Your friend,
    Liam

  2. liam,

    out of curiosity, why is it bad to have a factual thesis? Wouldn’t that actually be harder to argue against than something conceptual?

    thanks for your comment!
    -JJ

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