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South Park ConservativesThe Revolt Against Liberal Media Bias
By Brian C. Anderson
Regnery Publishing, Inc.Copyright © 2005 Brian C. Anderson
All right reserved.
Chapter OneSouth Park Anti-Liberals
The news isn't the only place on cable where conservatives can sometimes feel at home. Lots of cable comedy, while far from traditionally conservative, is fiercely anti-liberal these days, which as a practical matter can amount nearly to the same thing. We'll meet several of the leading representatives of this new comedic spirit in this chapter. For readers put off by cursing or vulgarity, prepare yourself: These comedians like to offend.
The number-one example of the new anti-liberalism is South Park, Comedy Central's hit adult cartoon series, whose heroes are four crudely animated and impossibly foulmouthed fourth-graders named Cartman, Kenny, Kyle, and Stan. Now in its eighth season, South Park, with nearly three million viewers per episode (one recent half hour garnered 4.4 million), is Comedy Central's highest-rated program, credited by many with putting the network on the map.
Many conservatives (including Brent Bozell) have attacked South Park for its exuberant vulgarity, calling it "twisted," "vile trash," and a "threat to our youth." Conservative critics should pay closer attention to what South Park so irreverently jeers at and mocks. As the show's co-creator Matt Stone sums it up, "I hate conservatives, but I really fucking hate liberals." Stone freely acknowledges that he and fellow thirty-something Coloradoan colleague Trey Parker are "more right-wing than most people in Hollywood"-though, he cautions, that's partly because Hollywood types are so out there on the Left. "We're just not like Alec Baldwin," he says.
South Park sharpens the iconoclastic, anti-PC edge of earlier cartoon shows like The Simpsons and King of the Hill, and spares no sensitivity. The show's single black kid is called Token. One episode, "Cripple Fight," concludes with a slugfest between the boys' wheelchair- bound, cerebral-palsy-stricken friend Timmy and the obnoxious Jimmy, who wants to be South Park's leading "handi-capable" citizen (in his own cringe-inducing PC locution). In another, "Rainforest Schmainforest," the boys' school sends them on a field trip to Costa Rica, led by an activist choir group, "Getting Gay with Kids," which wants to raise youth awareness about "our vanishing rain forests." Shown San José, Costa Rica's capital, the boys are unimpressed:
Cartman [holding his nose]: Oh my God, it smells like ass out here!
Choir teacher: All right, that does it! Eric Cartman, you respect other cultures this instant.
Cartman: I wasn't saying anything about their culture, I was just saying their city smells like ass.
But if the city is unpleasant, the rain forest itself is a nightmare: the boys get lost, wilt from the infernal heat, face deadly assaults from monstrous insects and a giant snake, run afoul of revolutionary banditos, and-worst of all-must endure the choir teacher's New-Agey gushing: "Shhh! Children! Let's try to listen to what the rain forest tells us, and if we use our ears, she can tell us so many things." By the horrifying trip's end, the boys are desperate for civilization, and the choir teacher herself has come to despise the rain forest she once worshiped: "You go right ahead and plow down this whole fuckin' thing," she tells a construction worker.
The episode concludes with the choir's new song:
There's a place called the rain forest that truly sucks ass. Let's knock it all down and get rid of it fast.... You only fight these causes 'cause caring sells. All you activists can go fuck yourselves.
As the disclaimer before each episode states, the show is so offensive "it should not be viewed by anyone."
Another episode, "Cherokee Hair Tampons," ridicules multiculti sentimentality about holistic medicine and the "wisdom" of native cultures. Kyle suffers a potentially fatal kidney disorder, and his clueless parents try to cure it with "natural" Native American methods, leaving their son vomiting violently and approaching death's door:
Kyle's mom: Everything is going to be fine, Stan; we're bringing in Kyle tomorrow to see the Native Americans personally.
Stan: Isn't it possible that these Indians don't know what they're talking about?
Stan's mom: You watch your mouth, Stanley. The Native Americans were raped of their land and resources by white people like us.
Stan: And that has something to do with their medicines because ...?
Stan's mom: Enough, Stanley!
One of the contemporary Left's most extreme (and, to conservatives, objectionable) strategies is its effort to draw the mantle of civil liberties over behavior once deemed criminal, pathological, or immoral, as satirized in a brilliant South Park episode featuring a visit to town by the (unfortunately, all too real) North American Man-Boy Love Association, the ultra-radical activist group advocating gay sex with minors.
NAMBLA leader [speaking at a group meeting attended by the South Park kids]: Rights? Does anybody know their rights? You see, I've learned something today. Our forefathers came to this country because they believed in an idea. An idea called "freedom." They wanted to live in a place where a group couldn't be prosecuted for their beliefs. Where a person can live the way he chooses to live. You see us as being perverted because we're different from you. People are afraid of us, because they don't understand. And sometimes it's easier to persecute than to understand.
Kyle: Dude. You have sex with children.
NAMBLA leader: We are human. Most of us didn't even choose to be attracted to young boys. We were born that way. We can't help the way we are, and if you all can't understand that, well, then, I guess you'll just have to put us away.
Kyle [slowly, for emphasis]: Dude. You have sex. With children.
Stan: Yeah. You know, we believe in equality for everybody, and tolerance, and all that gay stuff, but dude, fuck you.
A similar theme characterizes "The Death Camp of Tolerance," perhaps South Park's sharpest send-up. This comedic exercise in political theory at once sneers at spurious anti-discrimination lawsuits and excoriates the modern liberal quest to replace the democratic ideal of toleration, which implies moral judgment and limits, with the enforced acceptance, even celebration, of all "lifestyle" choices, however extreme-a very different notion, ultimately corrosive of any social order.
The boys' homosexual teacher, Mr. Garrison, discovers that new laws protect him from workplace discrimination-and just might make him a wealthy man, if only he can get the school to fire him for being gay. In a hypertolerant environment, though, that turns out to be a tall order. Seeking to provoke the school authorities, Mr. Garrison introduces his fourth-grade class to his new "teacher's assistant," the thickly mustachioed, heavily muscled Mr. Slave, who struts in wearing a pink shirt, black leather vest and boots, and a police hat. When the class gets too rowdy, Mr. Garrison kicks his scheme into motion: "That does it! I will not put up with foolishness in my class! It's time for punishment!" He pulls out a paddle and spanks ... Mr. Slave. The children stare openmouthed.
Stan and Kyle complain to their well-meaning parents about this bizarre display. But they don't get the supportive response they expected. Instead, the adults accuse them of being "discriminators" and decide they need a visit to the "Museum of Tolerance," which puts visitors through absurd sensitivity training exercises similar to those prevalent on many university campuses these days. Eventually, the boys wind up interned in an intensive "tolerance camp."
Meanwhile, the parents, guilty over their kids' "discriminatory" attitudes, want to give Mr. Garrison the Courageous Teacher of the Year award, and arrange for a ceremony at the Museum of Tolerance. The school embraces the idea. Mr. Garrison is flummoxed: He can't seem to offend anyone but the children!
At the ceremony, Mr. Garrison enters rodeo-style, bucking on Mr. Slave's back. The crowd at first appears disturbed, but after a man in the audience hollers, "So courageous!" everyone claps wildly. Their outrageous performance failing to offend the parents and school officials sufficiently, the teacher and his assistant launch into an obscene gay-themed comedy routine.
Again: initial stunned silence, then applause. Mr. Garrison has had enough. "God damn it," he yells, "don't you people get it?! I'm trying to get fired here! This kind of behavior should not be acceptable from a teacher!" An audience member robotically replies, "But the mus-e-um tells us to be tol-er-ant." Garrison: "Look, just because you have to tolerate something doesn't mean you have to approve of it! If you had to like it, it'd be called the Museum of Acceptance! 'Tolerate' means you're just putting up with it! ... Jesus Tapdancing Christ!"
Mr. Garrison never succeeds in getting fired, but common sense more or less prevails.
South Park regularly mocks left-wing celebrities who feel entitled to pontificate on how the nation should be run. In one notorious parody, made in just several days during the 2000 Florida recount fiasco, loudmouth Rosie O'Donnell comes to town to weigh in on a kindergarten election dispute involving her nephew. Mr. Garrison, again showing some good sense, dresses her down: "People like you preach tolerance and open-mindedness all the time, but when it comes to middle America, you think we're all evil and stupid country yokels who need your political enlightenment. Just because you're on TV doesn't mean you know crap about the government."
A recent celebrity mark was lampooned even more brutally: actor, producer, and liberal advocate Rob Reiner (Meathead on the old All in the Family show). The boys briefly take up smoking after witnessing a puerile school-organized anti-smoking "rap" performance-until the school guidance counselor busts them and calls their folks. Rather than pointing the accusatory finger at themselves or the kids, though, the adults blame the local tobacco company, a displacement of responsibility that the boys, who don't want to face punishment, initially go along with. Reiner, a leading anti-smoking activist, gets wind of the situation and, seeing it as a perfect opportunity to pummel Big Tobacco, sweeps into South Park to spread his "political enlightenment."
The episode, "Butt Out," perfectly captures the Olympian arrogance and illiberalism of liberal elites. Overweight and sweating profusely, Reiner crowds into a booth with the boys in the darkened town bar, seeking to draft them into a sleazy plan to frame the local tobacco company for selling cigarettes to minors. Interrupting his pitch, Reiner begins to sniff violently in the air, detecting a faint whiff of cigarette smoke. He zeroes in on the source: a man wearing a "Buds" beer cap, quietly enjoying a beer and a smoke at the bar.
Rob Reiner: Oh my God! [He emits a loud hacking noise, but doesn't get the smoker's attention.] Excuse me!
Buds Man: Yes?
Rob Reiner [indignantly]: Would you mind putting that death stick out?!
Buds Man: But, uh, this is a bar.
Rob Reiner: Isn't smoking illegal in bars here?
Bartender: Not in Colorado.
Rob Reiner: Oh my God! What kind of backward hick state is this!?
Buds Man: Look, man, I work fourteen hours a day at the sawmill. I just got off work and I need to relax.
Rob Reiner: Well, when I relax I just go to my vacation house in Hawaii!
Buds Man [getting irritated]: I ain't got a vacation house in Hawaii!
Rob Reiner: Your vacation house in Mexico, then, wherever it is! Look, you are putting my life and these boys' lives in danger by smoking that in here. And I'm not gonna tolerate it! I will end smoking in bars in Colorado! There will be no more smoking here!
Cartman is predictably awed by Reiner: "Dude, he just goes around imposing his will on people. He's my idol." But the rest of the gang moves to thwart the celebrity's nefarious plans. Kyle and Stan eventually confront Reiner at a town meeting: "You just hate smoking, so you use all your money and power to force others to think like you," Kyle charges. "And that's called fascism, you tubby asshole." Stan is equally incensed: "It wasn't the tobacco companies' fault that we smoked. It was our fault, us! We should all take personal responsibility instead of letting fat fascists like him tell us what to do!" The boys' commonsense argument wins the day.
In a 2004 interview, Parker and Stone expanded on just how much they loathed Reiner and his ilk. "People in the entertainment industry are by and large whore-chasing drug-addict fuckups," Parker noted. "But they still believe they're better than the guy in Wyoming who really loves his wife and takes care of his kids and is a good, outstanding, wholesome person. Hollywood views regular people as children, and they think they're the smart ones who need to tell the idiots out there how to be." Offered Stone, "In Hollywood, there's a whole feeling that they have to protect Middle America from itself.... And that's why South Park was a big hit up front, because it doesn't treat the viewer like a fucking retard."
Parker and Stone's disgust with celebrity politics is at the core of their uproarious big-screen puppet movie Team America: World Police, released in October 2004. Chronicling the adventures of a crack U.S. anti-terrorism squad, the film pokes some fun at American overzealousness in fighting terror. In Paris, for instance, Team America-whose pulse-pounding theme song shouts, "America, Fuck Yeah!"-takes out a group of Islamists carrying a suitcase nuke but in the process accidentally obliterates the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and a puppet who looks a lot like the late French deconstructionist philosopher Jacques Derrida. Yet there's no mistaking the movie's true villains: the Islamist fanatics, North Korean madman Kim Jung Il, who supplies them with WMD to detonate simultaneously around the globe in a "9/11 times 1,000"-and on almost equal bad-guy footing, Hollywood's antiwar liberals.
Led by a creepy Alec Baldwin, the Film Actors Guild (or FAG, for short) is a despicable apologist for the terrorists. It's all our fault the terrorists lash out, you see, Baldwin solemnly explains after a bomb explodes in Panama, killing scores of innocents.
Excerpted from South Park Conservatives by Brian C. Anderson Copyright © 2005 by Brian C. Anderson. Excerpted by permission.
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