Someone wrote this afternoon that “if someone tells you Talladega Nights is hateful, look at the hatred of the source” and that “only an arrogant jackass would suggest that large groups are too stupid to know they are being made fun of.”
Just for fun, let’s assume this guy was referring to my Talladega review. What I wrote (and what’s being indicated this weekend at the box-office) is simply that the people that Talladega “shits on the heaviest” — Southerners, NASCAR fans — “are going to be its biggest fans.” Where I come from that’s called irony. I didn’t say the NASCAR crowd is “stupid” to be liking this film. I didn’t laugh much when I saw it, but it’s got some funny stuff here and there. Co-writer Will Ferrell and director and co-writer Adam McKay know what they’re doing. They’re pros, I mean.
But what’s unmistakable, as I wrote a few days ago, is that “joke after joke, scene after scene, Talladega show us what total fools white-trash Southern hee-haws are. It says they’ve got no real values and they care only about conspicuous consumption, and that all they like to do is tear around in muscle cars, buy new stuff, serve their kids junk food and go apeshit at NASCAR races.”
I guess I didn’t put it the right way. Ferrell and McKay respect and admire local TV newsmen, which is where the humor in Anchorman came from. It came from love and affection. And now they’re chiding NASCAR fans affectionately, like one friend or family member to another. Oh, and there are no hee-haws, no rednecks, no downmarket sons of the South. These terms are evil media myths. Everyone is beautiful in their own way, and anyone who thinks differently needs to be shown the error of their ways.