Thursday, August 24, 2006

civil rites

Lethal Weapon 2 is on TBS right now. My friend Travis recently said that no matter what time of day you turn on your TV, a Lethal Weapon or James Bond movie will be on. It's not that much of an exaggeration, especially since Spike TV came along. However, I rarely see Lethal Weapon 3 on channels like TBS or Spike. That's okay, since it's the worst one, but sometimes I need my Summer of '92 nostalgia fix real bad.

Lethal Weapon 2 is my favorite of the series. South African diplomats/thugs (there's no difference in the world of summer action movies) are the bad guys, and I just saw a scene in which Mel Gibson's character holds up a sign that says "End Aparthied Now." Yes, the spelling rule you learned back in grade school was "i before e except after c," Mel, but "apartheid" is an exception. And yes, I hold you, Mel Gibson, personally responsible for the typo on that sign.

Hmm ... Mel Gibson playing a cop protesting apartheid in a movie from 1989 that's being shown on TV almost a month after his arrest for drunk driving, an incident that became a huge scandal when Gibson made anti-Semitic comments during his arrest. It's too bad I have an irony deficiency, or else I'd comment on this parallel.

There's also a scene in Lethal Weapon 2 in which Gibson, Danny Glover, and Joe Pesci's characters pick up fast food from a drive-thru window. As they're pulling away from the restaurant, Pesci's character realizes he didn't get what he ordered. He says (I'm mostly paraphrasing here), "You know why you should go up to the counter instead? I'll tell you why! Because they fuck you at the drive-thru, okay? They fuck you at the drive-thru! They know you're gonna be miles away before you find out you got fucked! They know you're not gonna turn around and go back! They don't care!" He's right, you know. Lethal Weapon 2 certainly seems to have more insight into fast-food politics than it does South African politics.

But on TBS, "fuck you" became "freak you." Why not "screw you"? Or is that not allowed by the censors? Does one "f" word really need to be replaced by another? Just make the substitution sound as natural as possible, censors. Have you ever heard anyone say "I totally got freaked over by that mechanic"? Or "Go freak yourself"? Or "Freak me? No ... freak you, motherfreaker!" Of course not. And on the flip side, "That girl's a superfuck" and "I wanna get fucky with you" don't sound quite right (although they're intriguing, I'll admit). But the words just aren't interchangeable. "Freakin' unbelievable" is about the only acceptable substitution I can think of right now. But as we all know, "friggin'" sounds much better and is the only "fuck" substitute endorsed by the Italian-American Stereotype Mafia.

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