Tuesday, 4 May 2010
To Die For
I note from an article in the British press that South Park, the cartoon sitcom created by Matt Stone and Trey Parker, may have been the cause of the recent attempted bombing in New York. Why? Because it allegedly insulted the Prophet Mohammed.
In the two hundredth episode of the show all the leaders of the world’s religions appear except Mohammed, revealed to have a superpower beyond all others: that no one should ever be allowed to criticise him. This immediately prompted warnings by an extremist Muslim website, saying that what Parker and Stone were doing was stupid, that they were likely to end up like Theo van Gogh.
Now, I haven’t seen the episode in question so I can offer no comment on the content. What I can say is that South Park is my favourite cartoon show by far because it takes absolutely no hostages; it’s irreverent, anarchic, wildly offensive and as politically incorrect as one can imagine. That is precisely why I love it so, that and because it’s outrageously distasteful as well as being hugely funny.
Perhaps some here might know it but if you don’t and if you are at all sensitive, if you are easily offended, then do please stay away! But if you like your humour on the wilder shores, if you like humour to challenge all preconceptions, icons and shibboleths, you will love it. South Park does not just offend Muslims - it offends everybody, which is the whole point. My favourite character by far is Eric Cartman, a foul-mouthed, fat, intriguing, wonderful little bigot, forever teasing his friends Kyle for being Jewish and Kenny for being poor.
Yes, Judaism has been a target, as has Christianity (an ineffectual Jesus is one of the shows recurring characters), homosexuality, feminism, global warming (the Al Gore episode with ManBearPig is particularly good), fat people, thin people, Scientologists, clairvoyants and every other cause, fashionable or otherwise, not forgetting Barbara Streisand, against whom the creators seem to have a particular animus.
Quite simply, South Park is enough to give the likes of Nanny Hattie Harperson apoplexy. In one episode when the children are shocked by their teacher’s sexual preferences – he is a homosexual who happens also to practice bestiality – their parents immediately send them to Tolerance Camp, where Nazi-style guards force them to draw pictures of people of all colours and creeds holding hands beneath a rainbow Hattie, take note!
As far as I am concerned Parker and Stone are creative geniuses. Because most of their targets are fashionable causes generally of the left, some have suggested that they are conservatives. No, they are too right-wing for that, too libertarian; quite a lot like me! Commenting on the supposed political overtones of the show Stone said “I hate conservatives but I really hate fucking liberals”. Well, yes, Matt, I know exactly how you feel, at least on the second part!
South Park really is a show to die for, I sincerely hope not literally.