by Scoobie Davis
Will Harold and Kumar Become the Next Targets of the Right's Political Correctness Squad?
Last Thursday, I went to an advance screening of Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle--this film fits into the topic at hand: the right's political correctness squad which hypocritically feigns offense at Whoopi Goldberg's performance in which she made some vulgar puns of George W. Bush's surname and John Kerry's response that she and other anti-Bush entertainers conveyed "the heart and soul of our country." (Disclosure: In college, some friends and I made t-shirts that addressed George H. W. Bush's candidacy: "LICK BUSH IN '92").
The right's response is predictable but it is rank hypocrisy. It was some off-color schtick. It's not as if Goldberg had accused the Bush regime of being responsible for the death of Vince Foster or anything (George W. Bush recently referred to one such Foster conspiracy theory nut as being "a great American" (Mind you, this was right after it was discovered that the conspiracy whacko in question was taking enough illegal drugs to down a rhino; since then, this same person has accused Democrats of celebrating the Madrid terrorist bombings (read this post for just a small sample of what I'm talking about; also, read this).
One person who is weighing in on the Whoopi/Bush flap is washed-up has-been Ed Koch, the former Democratic mayor of New York City. Short Ed Koch: Whoopi was wrong but it was okay for Dick Cheney to tell Pat Leahy to go fuck himself. That set me off--not because Koch is important (why should I care what Koch thinks?--he hasn't done anything since the 1980's; he's about as relevant as Tina Yothers).
Koch's hypocrisy is what is important. I don't know where to start. First, this was written in Newsmax, which is run by Christopher Ruddy (please read this if you are not familiar with Ruddy). Being accused of political incivility by someone who is getting a paycheck from Ruddy (which, in reality, means being paid by Richard Mellon Scaife)is kind of like being called a bit too wild by me. I just don't understand it. Could someone help me out with this? I'm perplexed.
I just hope that Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle doesn't become a victim of this right-wing jihad. I thought the film was tight. It was directed by Danny Leiner, the guy who did Dude, Where's My Car? I loved it but this film is not for everyone. In fact, I created a quiz to help determine if this is your kind of film:
1. Yugo is to Mercedes as __________ is to Chronic. A) kind bud B) Mexischwag C) BC Budd D) Black Gold (Add one point if you missed it or had to guess to get it correct; answer can be found here).
2. Check out this blog. If it is your kind of blog, add two points.
3. Did you see the film Dude, Where's My Car? If yes, subtract one point.
4. If you saw Dude, Where's My Car? and liked it, subtract one point. If you didn't like it, add two points.
5. Do you listen to Dr. Laura for her trenchant insights? If yes, add three points.
6. Have you ever been to a wet t-shirt contest? If yes, subtract two points. If no, add one point.
7. Do you find Sean Hannity sexy? If yes, add five points.
If your final score is in the negative, you'll probably like it. If your score is in the positive, you probably won't like it. If you listen to Dr. Laura for her trenchant insights or think Hannity is sexy, you need to get a life.
Why might Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle earn the wrath of the hard right? One reason is that in the film, Kumar dons a t-shirt that reads, "I [heart symbol] BUSH--THE PUSSY, NOT THE PRESIDENT" superimposed on an American flag. I see nothing wrong with this thought--I agree with it (though I believe that this challenging observation could have been made without the use of the flag). The only other problems with the film were culinary; while not all Americans of East-Indian descent are Hindu, it seem odd to have an Indian-American going to a White Castle hamburger shop [Disclosure: I consider beef and other meat adharmic]. Also, two Jewish friends of Harold and Kumar go to a hot dog restaurant (yes, I know there are kosher hot dogs and many Jewish people don't obey Jewish dietary dictates, but this part of the film just annoyed me).
One more thing: when I was at the San Diego Comic-Con yesterday, New Line Cinema had a booth promoting Harold and Kumar in which convention attendes could get their picture taken inside a giant plastic White Castle "slider" (the White Castle term for their hamburger). Even with my aforementioned views about hamburgers, I didn't see anything wrong with being photographed in a plastic slider.