A reader writes:
I was in Afghanistan in '05 and Iraq in '06 with the 82nd Airborne. We all loved Team America, occasionally referred to ourselves as such and although I thought it was a bit offensive -- and made my views on it clear -- from time to time "durka durka" and "Mohammed jihad" were used by my soldiers on mission.
In yet more evidence that the American public just doesn't understand its military, I'm disappointed to read that people are shocked that American soldiers a) liked Team America and b) have assumed some of its best jokes into their daily banter. Contrary to what some of your readers may believe, the irony is absolutely not lost on the troops.
And I doubt that, as one of your readers notes, Parker and Stone would be shocked at the running jokes their film has inspired. Parker and Stone, you'll remember, did a whole episode on using the word "gay" to describe Harley-Davidson riders, all the while claiming that it had nothing to do with homophobia. While I found the episode funny, I'm not surprised that those who have been and continue to be hurt by the term "gay" being used as a derogatory adjective did not agree with them at all. Just as language is an organic feature of human life, so is humor and both evolve and change constantly. American soldiers and marines are smart enough and tuned-in enough to know when they -- and their country's foreign policy -- are being made fun of and have flipped the joke on its head.
Did I ever refer to us guys out on mission as Team America? Fuck yeah, but that doesn't mean the complexities of the mission or the problems of the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan were lost on us. Give the troops some credit. The movie was funny and we get it. We also made it our own, much like many ethnic and racial groups have taken derogatory and stereotypical terms for themselves and made such terms a badge of pride.