American television has managed to extend its normal offensive material from domestic viewers to Thailand’s very own Ministry of Culture. In a recent Saturday Night Live sketch poking fun at the learn-the-language product Rosetta Stone, sordid gentlemen were depicted as trying to learn Thai in order to solicit prostitutes. Thai PBS claims the video has depicted Thailand as a “source for sexual services.”
Okay, granted that the men are shown creepily translating phrases to solicit sex, this is all in good fun. After all, Thailand hardly makes any secret about one of its key tourist attractions.
The Ministry of Culture on the other hand, is not laughing. They have announced plans to file an official complaint with the U.S. Embassy in an attempt to get this video off the web. The Ministry of Culture seems to forget that it is not the job of the U.S. government to remove videos that are believed to be offensive to people, and it is not likely going to happen in this instance.
The overreaction of the Ministry of Culture is just an example of the unrealistic ways that the Thai government expects their country to be depicted. If the Ministry of Culture could take it for what it was, a poor attempt at crude humor, maybe others would be able to laugh it off too.
On the other hand, prostitution on the scale to be found in Thailand is, in fact, no joke.