South Park and censorship ctd.
The latest episode of South Park was terrible. It wasn’t funny at all. It was really, really gross and offensive – which isn’t surprising given this is South Park. But sometimes South Park is offensive, gross, and funny. Sometimes there’s even a moral to the story. Sure, it can be a bit preachy at times, but at least having some sort of satire or social commentary adds substance to the show. And this past week’s episode really had no moral to the story whatsoever. Or at least that’s what I thought at first.
Now I’m not so sure.
The episode, Cripple Summer, was a two-part story about a summer camp for handicapped kids and a spoof of the show Intervention (which I have never seen). They made fun of handicapped kids mercilessly, going to some pretty horrible lengths actually. They mocked Native Americans, drug addicts, and had a particularly long-winded tirade from Cartman against “the Jews”. It was one of their more vile episodes actually, and more so because it had no point, no social commentary, and perhaps more importantly: no good jokes. It was one of those episodes that makes me not want to watch the show at all anymore.
The only conceivable reason this episode may have been made was to point out how utterly stupid it is to censor the Prophet Muhammad while allowing a show to air such awful, disgusting, pointless content as Cripple Summer. I wouldn’t feel too put off if Comedy Central decided that some things were simply too graphic for television. It’s the political censorship that bothers me – censorship motivated by fear of political or violent repercussions. If something is simply too gross for television then by all means – go ahead and water it down. It’s not really a free speech matter at that point – it’s a matter of taste. A cable channel or network has a responsibility to edit content for good taste to some degree without being called out as censors. If anything, this latest episode – intentionally or otherwise – shows how silly this whole affair has been. An image of the Prophet Muhammad should not be more offensive than a scene with a shark raping a handicapped kid, for goodness sakes.
At this point, I’m bored with South Park and annoyed with Comedy Central. The only reason to even care about the channel anymore is The Daily Show and the Colbert Report, which are still both pretty funny shows.