Monday, November 23, 2009

South Park -- a Leftward Tilt?

The Other McCain today has a post about South Park's latest episode, featuring Eric Cartman singing his lamentations over the rising tide of immigrant minorities to the United States.  I watched the episode over the weekend at the South Park website.  I have noticed that South Park appears to be titling leftward politically over the past few episodes.  This is after years of tilting right -- there was even a book a few years back about "South Park Conservatives."

First some background.  I love South Park and have watched every episode since its inception in 1996 (you can watch all of them at the link above).  South Park is often great for laughs when one is fed up with all the serious negativity in the news.  The show features four eight year old boys, Eric Cartman, who is fat, intelligent but bigoted, manipulative and selfish; Kyle Broflovski, the intelligent and moral Jewish kid, his best friend "every man" Stan Marsh, and the poor kid, Kenny McCormick.  There are other characters too, like Butters Stotch, and Stan's girlfriend Wendy Testaburger, but the first four are the main characters.

South Park is highly irreverent and insults anyone and everyone, whether they be politicians, egotistical celebrities or religious personalities.  It has lampooned Jennifer Lopez, Barbara Streisand, Scientology, the Mormon religion, Osama Bin Laden, Tom Cruise and many others.  Some notable examples:
Episode 1006 lampoons Al Gore's eco-alarmism in an issue called "ManBearPig," a mythical creature that Gore is sure is wandering the world and attacking humans without cause.
Episode 1109 has men attempting to break the world's record for taking the biggest crap.  Craps are measured in units of weight known as "Katy Courics," or simply "Courics" for short.
Most of the episodes, however, are mostly just for fun, though they may (or may not) contain some moral point or lesson.  Often the theme is merely to satirize artistic mediocrity, as in the last "Indiana Jones" movie or the films of comedian Rob Schneider.

In late 2009 the episodes seem be taking a leftward tilt.  In Episode 1314, Cartman's racist song "My Water Park" is extraneous to the plot and is pasted on for no apparent purpose, other than to establish the broad-minded credentials of  the South Park writers.  The song highlights the "hateful attitudes" of undefined racists.  However, there is no point to the song as it isn't used to advance the plot or provide an epiphany, i.e. a "lesson learned" insight.

Prior 2009 episodes that seem to tilt leftward are these:
1311 - Stan leads the movement to fight the Japanese slaughter of whales and dolphins; he learns why the Japanese are so malevolent to whales and dolphins, and persuades them to cease this slaughter and substitute the slaughter of cows and chickens instead.  "Now they are just like us!"  PETA will like this epsiode.
1313 - Eric Cartman becomes the new morning announcer at South Park Elementary School, reading the school's news announcements, lunch menu, sports activities, etc.  However, Eric always takes his assigned role way too far.  He begins dressing in a suit and tie and starts denouncing the student body president, Wendy Testaburger, for being a tool of socialists and an oppressor of the Smurfs, and either incompetent, immoral or corrupt, and probably all three.  Cartman even writes his own book where he says he is "just asking questions," so as to avoid legal liability for the smears.  One scene shows him with light hair, a touch of gray at the temples, wearing a light blue tie and looking intently into the camera with tears in his eyes as he laments the ruination of his school by its student body president.  It's pretty obvious that Eric is supposed to represent Glenn Beck.
However, episode 1313 has a mixed theme, portraying Wendy Testaburger as a Sarah Palin figure who is finally hounded out of office.  She resigns as president of the student body, and writes her own book, "Going Rogue on the Smurfs."  Perhaps the true purpose of episode 1313 is to lampoon political demogoguery, whether it be from the left or the right.
I think it is unlikely that South Park will go too far left. If they do, they will surely hear about it.

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