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Apr. 23 2010 - 11:02 am | 2,517 views | 1 recommendation | 14 comments

South Park and censorship ctd.

southpark-muhammad I don’t have a lot more to say about Comedy Central’s decision to apparently censor the 201st episode of South Park in its entirety. It is a cowardly, stupid and unnecessary move – one of the worst responses to intimidation I’ve seen from a major media outlet in recent years. There was very little intimidation to speak of, in fact, which only goes to show how deeply ingrained the fear really is among members of the media, or at least among the frightened children who run Viacom, Comedy Central’s parent company. Sure, it’s just a show, and it’s not as though the government censored it, but the decision is still disturbing.

I imagine the show will be available now only on the bit-torrent black market. I missed it personally as I don’t have a television, and watch all my shows a day (or five) after they air. Since this was part two of a series, this only makes the whole situation more frustrating. I have to avoid spoilers while making heads or tails of the whole thing, and that’s not such an easy thing.

Really what this bit of fear-inspired censorship does is put a lie to every other piece of mockery which Matt Stone and Trey Parker ever dished out. They never flinched from sticking it to members of just about every other religion. Catholics, Buddhists, Mormons, celebrities, Scientologists, whites, blacks, Mexicans, gays, politicians, celebrities, conservatives, liberals, Tom Cruise, and on down the list – South Park has crossed as many lines as it could, as if to say that so long as every line is crossed and nothing is sacred no harm is done except to our vanity. (And there have been times I’ve been offended, or just grossed out, by South Park. Even aside from whether or not I’m offended, I find the show a little spotty, a little hit and miss at times, oscillating between brilliant episodes like Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow and really, really dumb episodes whose titles escape me.)

In any case, the first time they tried to show the Prophet Mohammad, I thought it was a fairly brilliant and poignant piece on censorship. This time around, I’m just discouraged. Kudos to the show’s creators for not backing down. Now, I just need to find some place to download the damn episode so that I can see what all this fuss is about.


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  1. collapse expand

    E.D.:

    There was very little intimidation to speak of, in fact ….

    EXACTLY. In fact, I would say there was laughably little intimidation.

    So. When a profit-maximizing Fortune 500 company and a couple of money-grubbing Hollywood content-providers act in a way that seems perplexing except insofar as the actions maximize profits for the corporation and earn additional monetary rewards for the content providers, why on earth are you so unwilling to at least entertain my hypothesis that this is a phony controversy created so as to benefit Viacom and Parker & Stone?

    Are Parker and Stone calling for a Comedy Central boycott? Are they giving back any of their contract earnings? Are they agreeing to donate the money they make from the copyrighted uncensored version of Episode 201 to real Free Speech charities?

    So far the answers to those questions are No, No and No. When you get a Yes somewhere, let me know.

  2. collapse expand

    Mr. Kain,

    I have to say this is too much about not very much. The episode in question was not making some bold political or moral stand, they were just making fun of folks, maybe folks who could use some making fun of, but nothing to call the ACLU about. It is just a cartoon. It also not like everyone could not figure out who the mystery man in the bear suit was anyway. So I am just not going to get upset over this one.

  3. collapse expand

    Wait a minute – you’re posting this over 36 hours after the show aired, and you don’t know how to find it on the internet yet?! No offense, but I’m just curious how I can get a job at True/Slant. Clearly I’m a superior researcher, or possess a secret decoding map of the tubes that comprise the internet, but I doubt that’s the case here.

    Sorry to be an asshole, but I’d be pretty fucking honored to siphon pageviews from writers like Matt Taibbi. You should be ashamed of your lazy researching.

    (T/S editors: I don’t the details of your compensation structure, but I will work for less than this writer is earning.)

    I’d be happy to point you to a copy, if you still need one.

  4. collapse expand

    I guess it’s offcial: we’ve ended a globala thermonuclear cold war against Stalin’s communist empire– and we’ve moved now in a cold war over CARTOONS against primitive religious-nuts.

    How humiliating.

  5. collapse expand

    So we’ve moved from a global thermonuclear Cold War against Stalin’s communist empire… into a Cold War over CARTOONS against mad-bomber cultists.

    How humiliating… I can’t wait to see how James Bond and Rambo deal with THIS one; maybe Charlie Brown can help. Good grief! (TM)

  6. collapse expand

    It is morally wrong not to mock and sneer at religions.

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