I have never seen “Thank You For Smoking,” but curiosity prompted me to peruse some of the videos on Youtube and I came across this one in which the protagonist mocks a propaganda question put to his son by his school teacher, who can’t even phrase the question using proper syntax: “Why is American government the best government in the world?”
The father’s expression at 00:20 is priceless, as if to say “Someone this dumb is educating my child?”
Not only does he ridicule the very concept of “best government” but he also openly rejects the most dominant religion in the U.S., American Exceptionalism. What’s refreshing in this is that unlike other films and TV shows, he doesn’t conclude the critique with “if only America was more leftist!” He also doesn’t provide a specific answer to his son but rather encourages him to think for himself by offering more questions.
Few scenes better demonstrate the great void between practical knowledge to succeed in the real world, which the father possesses, compared to the anti-intellectual education students receive at school to inspire conformity and self-esteem (an early scene indicates it’s actually a private school, but you never know).
This boy, like so many others, would be better off job shadowing or observing their successful parents and doing likewise.