Inspection- The Sometimes Clueless Creators of South Park

by Ken Carman

OK, I admit it: I watch South Park. Kids shouldn’t. People who are easily offended shouldn’t, or those who think whatever offends them should automatically be banned. Of course that kind of attitude is one of the few that really offends me to the extreme. No one has a right not to be offended. We do have a right to turn off the TV, or the radio. We need to exercise that more, and in so many cases attempt to control the tastes of others a bit less. Trying often just backfires and just makes it all worse. You’d think we would have learned that from the age old Adam, Eve and the apple story.

South Park; which has been around a lot longer, can be funny in a “good God this makes Robot Chicken seem tame” way. And, to be honest, there are times when I wonder if they know the difference between just plain gross and funny. Like episodes where the intent seems just the opposite of what I suspect many feel after watching them, like when Britney Spears had her head torn apart and she still lived: even tried to make an album as horrid sounds spewed from her mostly headless torso.

Not funny Dudes: especially because for the only time in my life you actually made me feel a tiny bit sorry for white trailer trash.

Everyone knows the creators of South Park are generally Conservatives with some Libertarian added to the mix. At least that’s the scuttlebutt “everyone knows,” and it does match up with a lot of what they write, like the constant attempt to make Barbara Streisand into a hideous beast, or turn Al Gore into some airhead.

Striesand’s vocal abilities, even at almost 70, are amazing, and she has as much right to support her causes as Toby Keith or Charlton Heston. Al’s certainly not always right, or headed in the right direction, and can be drier than sand in a desert. But then again: if only all our pols were just a bit closer to being as smart as Al Gore, Trey and Matt, Sarah Palin wouldn’t have made it as far as she did. And if the populace was a tad closer to Al no one would believe a damn thing Michelle Bachmann said, or Rush Limbaugh for that matter.

Notice how low hanging fruit like Sarah and Michelle often escape their wit, readers.

That’s OK. They have the right. In fact I support their right to mock, as long as they support mine and all those who disagree with them. I suspect they do: I’ve seen no evidence otherwise.

But when it comes to lack of faith and the Left the creators of South Park can be so damn clueless it’s bloody annoying, at best. Story lines like tolerance reeducation camps, or future Atheist-only societies that kill over the simple name of their organizations, show they know squat about the Left, and less than diddly do about Atheists: portraying Atheists as so stupid they would kill over Atheists United vs. United Atheists.

While I agree that without religion people would simply find other reasons to kill, the painting of Atheists as all Nazi-esk imbeciles is simply comedy worthy of theistic morons. Certainly not worthy Trey and Matt who have done satire quite well, though often only when they understand their target.

In this case, they obviously don’t.

The most recent example was regarding Agnostics. The children of South Park were being taken to be adopted by an agnostic family because the kids thought they could do whatever the hell they wanted if they got their parents arrested for having relations with them: filing false charges.

Not the first time Trey Parker and Matt Stone have used that storyline. Hey, guys, I recycle too as an entertainer. Stealing from oneself can be the sign of genius… or not.

Agnostics were portrayed as Gestapo-like with posters on the walls demanding no one should be allowed to decide damn near anything. Add to the mix a strict father who would cruelly punish any veering from the “no one should decide” doctrine.

Excuse me: can anyone point to even a small number of examples of this kind of behavior on the part of Agnostics? Can anyone even point to someone ever being tortured or murdered because some Agnostic thought they should never have the right to decide?

Certainly considering the Crusades, the Inquisition, all the examples in the Old Testament of what his “chosen people” were told to do by their “loving” God, and witch trials, there is plenty of evidence on the other side of this equation for that kind of behavior.

Oh, and, excuse me: how many fundamentalistic parents have been caught whipping, beating and brutally and abusing their children due to “spare the rod” nonsense? How about fundamentalist parents who let their children die because they refuse to let them have necessary shots, necessary medical treatment, and think prayer cures all?

Odd how Trey and Matt continually imagine practically non-existent Agnostic abusing children, but mostly ignore well documented abuse on the other side.

To be open here: I am not an Agnostic, nor an Atheist. I am a Theist with agnostic tendencies. In other words: I believe there is God… or something out there… but am willing to admit I could be wrong. There could be nothing. No God. No deities of any kind. But I do debate and discuss many topics with both Atheists and Agnostics, and have had many as friends. I have found our differences exciting: enlightening. I certainly would never send them to some reeducation camp, or abuse anyone for not following my path too.

I have yet to meet an Agnostic who is this way. In fact: just the opposite. Though they may argue whether the evidence points to your conclusion, they rarely, if ever, demand anyone agree with them. They certainly don’t insist that no one be allowed to decide. They want to be left to their indecision until such a time maybe they will come to some conclusion once they think they have seen or heard enough evidence… or not. Most, I’m sure, doubt “enough” will ever happen, true.

The one thing we have in common most of the time is this: I agree with most Agnostics and Atheists that anyone can be wrong, even them, about anything. And many Theists feel that way too.

Try that with the strictest of fundamentalists. The possibility of no God is something they not only refuse to consider, openly, but… as they have with me many times… they start insisting I shouldn’t even consider that I could be wrong in my belief there is something out there.

And have you ever noticed how people who are unable to consider anything beyond their narrow viewpoint always paint others as just like them? And they never quite get it that they are the ones who “have a problem?”

One hopes that’s not Matt and Trey in this case. I suspect not. The problem here, I believe, is simple ignorance. And that’s the one place where South Park fails again and again. The creators understand Mormonism better than they do Atheists or Agnostics.

I hope, as with confronting other cowards on the Right, they won’t suddenly laugh and claim, “Oh, it’s all a joke. You Liberals have no sense of humor.” Of course considering Air America was started as a platform for comedians, and Stephanie Miller alone makes the assertion laughable, they know that’s a lie and an evasion.

Here’s why it’s not “a joke.” Where’s the punchline? There’s no damn punchline. And if you do know this isn’t the nature of Atheists and Agnostics, when and where will you point that out?

You won’t.

So, until you do: no joke.

How unfortunate. Spreading gross over the top humor is one thing… but totally wrong, malicious, perceptions? What’s next guys, Nazi Jews who show how poor Adolf was simply misunderstood by the evil Allies? Taliban peaceniks who only kill because we’re too stupid to convert?

I will continue to watch. As an adult: a not so guilty pleasure, “not so guilty” because I find offensive can be funny, occasionally. But please pay attention to this Matt and Trey: sometimes you really, really, really are so damn friggin clueless, guys.

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Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.

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Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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