This week, the Cannes Film Festival kicked off with the third and probably final film to the Ocean’s saga (though producers say we’ll see about that one), Ocean’s Thirteen premiering at the festival on Thursday. Members of the cast, along with the producer and director of the film showed up to support their film and celebrate its completion and release to the outside world. Then, controversy struck as a Hong Kong TV reporter brought up the portrayal of actor Shaobo Qin’s character, a member of the Peking acrobatic team. She demanded why director Steven Soderbergh decided to portray Chinese people in the manner shown in the film. While Soderbergh apologized for any possible offense he may have caused, he also defended his vision, stating that the film poked fun at many cultures.

The statement made by the reporter seems a bit belated, considering this is the third film that Qin’s character has appeared in, though perhaps his character is inappropriately mocked in this third film. I can’t be the judge of that, having not seen it myself since the film is not due to be widely released until June 8. This is also not to say that the TV reporter didn’t have every right to be offended by anything, if that was truly the way she felt. I just hope that this wasn’t some kind of publicity stunt made to stir up controversy in order to either draw in or discourage audiences from going to see the film. Hollywood has seemed to become a series of mind games with controversy around every corner to keep the drama going, even when the cameras are not rolling. What isn’t offensive anymore in an era that ironically tries so hard to not offend anyone? Even away from sunny California, controversy follows Americans like a lost puppy. People of all cultures have to separate the mildly offensive from the inappropriately offensive and be willing to laugh at ourselves once in awhile so that we don’t have to be so apologetic and careful about what we say or do.

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