This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them.
April 22, 2010 9:39 AM   Subscribe

The creators of South Park were threatened (or "warned") by Muslim extremists (cached, scroll down for article including photo of dead Theo VanGogh) not to depict the Prophet Mohammad. Parker and Stone thought they'd be able to air the episode by putting Mohammad in a bear suit, but Comedy Central censored the episode due to the threats. The clip in question is not hosted at South Park's website, but exists elsewhere online. This is not the first time South Park has dealt with censorship of Mohammad's image. (previously)
posted by desjardins (112 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Here is a better link to the cached Revolution Muslim article:

South Park Aired Episode Insulting the Prophet
("you can .. pay Comedy Central a visit at these addresses")
posted by desjardins at 9:46 AM on April 22, 2010


South Park has been around long enough that Trey and Matt don't really need Comedy Central anymore. I wonder when their contract is up.
posted by dortmunder at 9:48 AM on April 22, 2010


I think they have a contract through 2012.
posted by vapidave at 9:51 AM on April 22, 2010


I found the bleeping of the word "Mohammad" last night unbearably hilarious. Also the new and improved Mecha-Streisand was awesome. And the revelation of who Cartman's father really is? Perfect.
posted by WolfDaddy at 9:51 AM on April 22, 2010


un-bearably hilarious?
posted by AugieAugustus at 9:52 AM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


> "This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them."

"Nice life you've got there. It'd be a shame if anything, you know, happened to it."
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:52 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


And the revelation of who Cartman's father really is? Perfect.

Am I missing something here? I haven't watched the show for ages, but wasn't Cartman's mother also his father?
posted by daniel_charms at 9:53 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


And since i missed this episode and can't catch it online at the usual place, it looks like I'll be firing up bittorrent when I get home. Smooth move there network suits.
posted by dortmunder at 9:53 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


That revolutionmuslim site is a bit weird:
[VAT] would be essentially a tipping point that would make it impossible to counteract without a physical revolution. Just look at the UK where the people who are considered right wing extremists all essentially agree that socialized medicine is a necessity.
...
In addition to destroying America’s productive industrial attitude, this tax will likely destroy the economy as well.
Are we sure this isn't some sort of strange tea-party troll?
posted by I_pity_the_fool at 9:54 AM on April 22, 2010


but wasn't Cartman's mother also his father?
In short, no.
IT WAS A CONSPIRACY TO PROTECT CENSORED.
posted by WolfDaddy at 9:55 AM on April 22, 2010


The episode was all hype and no substance, though I’ll admit I mistakenly thought the bleeped-out mention of ‘Mohammed’ and the ‘censored’ box that accompanied his visage was for purposes of commentary about the hypocrisy of censorship.

I applaud Stone and Parker’s desires to tackle the subject, that Mohammed’s characterization is viewed as sacrosanct in a society that otherwise lauds freedom of speech. Too bad the episode’s story line sucked.
posted by tiger yang at 9:56 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are we sure this isn't some sort of strange tea-party troll?

if the Tea Partiers have learned to speak Arabic, perhaps.
posted by desjardins at 9:56 AM on April 22, 2010


Is the Church of the FSM interested in getting more publicity or has that pretty much run its course? I'm imagining a bunch of press releases threatening Italian restaurants for serving their savior to non-believers.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:56 AM on April 22, 2010 [9 favorites]


Combination of "warnings" with information about how to find and kill the targets reminds me of anti-abortion extremism in the US.

Still, I wonder how serious this is. In Europe, this kind of threat drives artists underground in fear of their lives. But I don't think America has enough of an angry Muslim underworld for Parker and Stone to really be much danger. Post-9/11 hysteria notwithstanding, our legal and social institutions of religious tolerance have tended to defuse the kinds of conflicts that threaten Europe.

Are they going to police? What's the story?
posted by grobstein at 9:57 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


South Park is still on?
posted by proj at 9:58 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know how to drive fundie-Muslims crazy? Point to a guy in a clown suit, and say that he is actually pretending to be Mohammed in a clown suit. Then point to a guy in a ski mask, and say he is pretending to be Mohammed, in a ski mask. Then point to a mime, and say, hey, there is a guy pretending to be Mohammed, in white face.

Yup. That'll drive 'em crazy.
posted by Xoebe at 9:59 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Interesting that you can depict Muhammad covered by a "censored" box but not covered by a bear suit.
posted by roll truck roll at 10:00 AM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Way to bitch up, Comedy Central!
posted by Mister_A at 10:00 AM on April 22, 2010


Are we sure this isn't some sort of strange tea-party troll?

Yes, it is quite so difficult to believe that Muslim extremists might issue threats over a depiction of Muhammad. It's completely unprecedented!
posted by Behemoth at 10:03 AM on April 22, 2010


The bear costume is an interesting choice; it makes me wonder, "If the prophet is wholly obscured by cloth, would one be in violation by depicting, say, a building in which Muhammad resided, though he might be far from any windows?"
posted by adipocere at 10:07 AM on April 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


Way to bitch up, Comedy Central!

Didn't they roll over for CoS over the Trapped in the Closet episode, too?
posted by shakespeherian at 10:08 AM on April 22, 2010


The most hilarious part of this is that we're only outraged when "foreign" religious fundamentalism censors the public square. Remember how angry the American public was at Christian censorship when Janet Jackson let fly? Oh wait.
posted by DU at 10:10 AM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


♫ Guess who I'm depicting... ♪
	 O
        /|\
        / \

posted by everichon at 10:12 AM on April 22, 2010 [60 favorites]


Naturally it's all doubly confusing because South Park has actually depicted Mohammad before, as a member of the Super Best Friends (link to streaming episode on the official South Park website).
posted by ErikaB at 10:12 AM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


The most hilarious part of this is that we're only outraged when "foreign" religious fundamentalism censors the public square. Remember how angry the American public was at Christian censorship when Janet Jackson let fly? Oh wait.

TOTALLY the same.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:14 AM on April 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Incidentally, a great essay on this subject was published in Eurozine today. A few relevant quotes:

Even a tradition as seemingly deeply set and unyielding as the one at the heart of the controversy over the Danish cartoons – the prohibition on the pictorial representation of the Prophet Mohammed – is in truth neither deeply set nor unyielding. Far from Islam having always forbidden representations of the Prophet, it was common to portray him until comparatively recently [...] Even today, few Muslims have a problem in seeing the Prophet's face. Shortly after Jyllands Posten published the cartoons, the Egyptian newspaper Al Fagr reprinted them. They were accompanied by a critical commentary, but Al Fagr did not think it necessary to blank out Mohammad's face, and faced no opprobrium for not doing so. Egypt's religious and political authorities, even as they were demanding an apology from the Danish Prime Minister, raised no objections to Al Fagr's full frontal photos.

So, if there is no universal prohibition to the depiction of Mohammad, why were Muslims universally appalled by the caricatures? They weren't. And those that were, were driven by political zeal rather than theological fervour. The publications of the cartoons in September 2005 caused no immediate reaction, even in Denmark. Only when journalists, disappointed by the lack of controversy, contacted a number of imams for their response, did Islamists begin to recognise the opportunity provided not just by the caricatures themselves but also by the sensitivity of Danish society to their publication.

posted by daniel_charms at 10:17 AM on April 22, 2010 [17 favorites]


Too bad the episode’s story line sucked.

The storyline was silly, but I thought it was a fitting and hilarious celebration of 200 episodes of South Park. I enjoyed all the little characters and events that showed up from the past, without it actually being a clip show. I imagine people who have watched all 200 episodes as they've aired, and then reruns of a lot of those episodes, would appreciate it more than those who have not.

I also preferred the episode before I knew Comedy Central had added additional bleeps without Matt and Trey's input. I figured they'd added all those bleeps just to drive home the ridiculousness of the whole thing.
posted by wondermouse at 10:19 AM on April 22, 2010


Way to bitch up, Comedy Central!

Their censorship was the only remotely funny thing that's happened on south park for at least the last 3 years, so I'm willing to cut them some slack.
posted by Throw away your common sense and get an afro! at 10:19 AM on April 22, 2010


TOTALLY the same.

It's not? We ban nudity on TV for some reason not based on religion? If you could point me to a graph indicating how even less religious countries are also really uptight about sex, that'd be great.
posted by DU at 10:22 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Firstly, "Revolution Muslim" are dopes. Second, this depiction, while supercilious and unfunny, is not really even close to the same vein as the infamous Danish cartoons and seems more designed to poke fun at conventions and fear of backlash rather than defame Islam. Third, speaking as a Muslim, this is something to be completely ignored.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:26 AM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is the timeline in the original post correct? Weren't they threatened after the episode aired?

The wording of the post implies a threat before it aired prompted the bear suit by Parker and Stone and prompted Comedy Central to censor it more, but I believe the threat was at the end of those events, with no cause-effect to the self-censoring.
posted by sharkfu at 10:26 AM on April 22, 2010


People complaining about Janet Jackson's boobies = death threats for showing a cartoon image of a religious figure. You're trying so hard to find a Western equivalent you forgot to make any sense.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:26 AM on April 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


♫ Guess who I'm depicting... ♪

Your mom?
posted by davejay at 10:27 AM on April 22, 2010


Is the timeline in the original post correct? Weren't they threatened after the episode aired?

It was a two-parter. Last week's episode drew warnings, this week's episode (which was a continuation of the plot from last week) featured heavy censorship.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:28 AM on April 22, 2010


Are we sure this isn't some sort of strange tea-party troll?

It's getting so hard to tell one nutter from another these days. I need a scorecard.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:30 AM on April 22, 2010


shakespeherian: "Is the timeline in the original post correct? Weren't they threatened after the episode aired?

It was a two-parter. Last week's episode drew warnings, this week's episode (which was a continuation of the plot from last week) featured heavy censorship.
"

Ahh, thank you! That was the missing piece. I saw part one but forgot it was a cliff-hanger.
posted by sharkfu at 10:33 AM on April 22, 2010


Throw away your common sense and get an afro!: Their censorship was the only remotely funny thing that's happened on south park for at least the last 3 years, so I'm willing to cut them some slack.

Disputed. The last three years, roughly, is seasons 11-14, so you are claiming that "Le Petit Tourette", "Guitar Queer-O", "Brittany's New Look" (brilliant) and "Elementary School Musical" are not remotely funny.

It is true that the show's focus has shifted a bit since the early days, but it's still, behind Daily Show and Colbert Report, one of the best things in Comedy Central (this doesn't say an awful lot about their other programming, maybe).

South Park is starting to approach Simpsons levels of longevity however. The first episodes premiered the year Mystery Science Theater 3000 was taken off of Comedy Central. That is say, the back in the Mezo-Crow-ic Era.
posted by JHarris at 10:34 AM on April 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


The most hilarious part of this is that we're only outraged when "foreign" religious fundamentalism censors the public square. Remember how angry the American public was at Christian censorship when Janet Jackson let fly? Oh wait.

This doesn't even attempt to make any sense.
posted by tiger yang at 10:34 AM on April 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


People complaining about Janet Jackson's boobies = death threats for showing a cartoon image of a religious figure.

I never said it was.

I said outrage about censorship for Muslims should be same as outrage about censorship for Christians.

I'm not comparing the things, I'm comparing the reactions to the things.
posted by DU at 10:35 AM on April 22, 2010


The first episodes premiered the year Mystery Science Theater 3000 was taken off of Comedy Central. That is say, the back in the Mezo-Crow-ic Era.

*groan* Well played.
posted by brundlefly at 10:43 AM on April 22, 2010


The only people who complained about Janet Jackson's boobies were Christian evangelical groups? Not.
posted by raysmj at 10:43 AM on April 22, 2010


raysmj: "The only people who complained about Janet Jackson's boobies were Christian evangelical groups? Not."

Activist organization responsible for 99% of FCC complaints

DID SO!
posted by mullingitover at 10:49 AM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm not comparing the things, I'm comparing the reactions to the things.

Equating the FCC directly with Christian fundamentalism is a bit of a stretch. Plus, that was an incident that was pretty much wholly unexpected and somewhat without precedent. It also couldn't be interpreted as any kind of real statement, except for maybe a ploy for publicity if it was in fact not a "wardrobe malfunction". The South Park episode was highly publicized before being broadcast, and was playing on past occurrences of calls for violence in conjunction of cartoon depictions. If you're trying to draw parallels between events based on perception of moral outrage, you might do better to pick better examples.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:50 AM on April 22, 2010


Does anyone else secretly envy the Muslims because of all of the stupid, self-serving ways in which the image of Jesus is used?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:55 AM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


From "Counter Counter Terrorism #8 - Fomenting Disunity in the Counter Terrorism Movement" "Muslim extremists" link from above.
"Overtime we will likely grow in our capabilities to deal with and mislead counter terrorism officials, but as things stand this has not been one of our areas of focus. As far as I know, this is the first work in English dealing with this subject which goes to show how far behind we are."
Indeed.
Funny how a group opposing free speech will likely defend their own statements on the grounds of free speech.
posted by vapidave at 10:55 AM on April 22, 2010


Did you guys watch the episode? They planned for the controversy. The giant censor bar was a part of the plot, for crying out loud.

ErikaB: "Naturally it's all doubly confusing because South Park has actually depicted Mohammad before, as a member of the Super Best Friends "

What's perfectly hilarious about this is that I noticed it at the time, and was surprised when the episode just let (Muhammed being depicted) pass without incident. A few redditors are saying that a clip from that was in the starting credits for 5 years.
posted by graventy at 10:57 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


DU: "I said outrage about censorship for Muslims should be same as outrage about censorship for Christians.

I'm not comparing the things, I'm comparing the reactions to the things.
"

Okay, then. Phone calls and FCC fines aren't the same thing as death threats, but you're right that they're both outrage. Good job.
posted by roll truck roll at 10:59 AM on April 22, 2010


Their censorship was the only remotely funny thing that's happened on south park for at least the last 3 years

Wow. Harsh!
posted by blucevalo at 11:07 AM on April 22, 2010


The bear costume is an interesting choice; it makes me wonder, "If the prophet is wholly obscured by cloth, would one be in violation by depicting, say, a building in which Muhammad resided, though he might be far from any windows?"

The Prophet Mohammad of Ivy Cottage, Worplesdon Road, Hull, chose a very cunning way of not being seen. When we called at His house, we found that He had gone away on two weeks' holiday. He had not left any forwarding address, and He had bolted and barred the house to prevent us from getting in. However a neighbour told us where He was.

*explosion*

And this is where he lived

*explosion*

(etc., etc.)
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:09 AM on April 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


"We ban nudity on TV for some reason not based on religion?"
The concept (and the complaints) might be rooted in religious values but the logic of banning nudity on t.v. is similar to banning nudity in a public place or swearing on C.B. radio. (Not that I agree with it. But it's not an irrational argument)

The restriction on nudity - as in this case with the image of Mohammad - seems to be more for the benefit of exploitation of it than any actual good that can come of it.

The surprise nipple thing didn't bother me. The media reaction and the contrived titillation - yeah, that was offensive. If only to my rudimentary intelligence.

Same deal here. Extremists? Upset over minutiae? Unclear on more broadly applied concepts? Oh, there's a big f'ing surprise. Why does anyone care? Other than perhaps to condemn religion - specifically or generally, or support some other agenda.

Why would anyone care what an extremist has to say about something like this? Why go interview them? Why print it? They're narrow minded - by definition. By their own definition. They WANT to be narrow minded and exclusionary. That's why they're f'ing extremists.

What, like it's not wrong to threaten someone over their expression? F'ing Duh. There's no goddamn nuance in this because of the characters involved. And there is some to be had concerning free expression, even in cases where it might piss you or me off into irrational rage.
No? Howabout that recent supreme court decision.
Odds are you have more acrimony from salt of the earth types over that than any number of Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee clones flipping out over whatever's on the t.v. they don't have in the first place because they're close minded, reactionary extremists. Joe Muslim watches South Park and says 'meh'.
This is to push merchandise and put eyeballs in front of t.v. sets. S'about it.
I wouldn't mind if it didn't leave the kind of havoc it does in its wake (dehumanization, artificial sense of superiority, self-congratulatory confirmation bias, etc). It's a cheap stunt in the first place without giving space to or sticking a mike in front of some nut who's intentionally distanced himself from all other forms of his narrowly defined religious sect much less society and other societies in general. Hey, let's ask Michael Bray what he thinks of gay internet porn!
Yeesh.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:15 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, yeah. Matt and Trey have long ago proved themselves the maters at picking at the lowest-hanging fruit. Or maybe it's the fruit that's already molding on the ground. The show became simply shrill, rather than funny, ages ago.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:18 AM on April 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


maters = masters
posted by Thorzdad at 11:18 AM on April 22, 2010


I think Matt and Trey generally do a really good job of highlighting the idiotic atavisms that still clench the testicles of modern society.
posted by Aquaman at 11:27 AM on April 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


I applaud Stone and Parker’s desires to tackle the subject.... Too bad the episode’s story line sucked.

You just did a full review of many, many episodes of South Park.
posted by inigo2 at 11:35 AM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was under the impression "Revolution Muslim" was a hoax site, from a non-muslim, in a dipshit attempt to stir up hate. Is the site's owner/author actually a radical Islamist?

Either way, the ban against images is ludicrous. Oh noes, this smiley could get me killed dead! (((:~{>
posted by five fresh fish at 11:42 AM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Throzdad: Matt and Trey have long ago proved themselves the maters at picking at the lowest-hanging fruit. Or maybe it's the fruit that's already molding on the ground.

Seriously, this is difficult to accept considering that they have perhaps the fastest writing-to-production turnaround time ever seen in animation. South Park is known to react to events within three or four days of the occurrence. For whatever faults it may have (and it definitely has them), being non-topical is certainly not one of them.

The show became simply shrill, rather than funny, ages ago.

I would have let this pass except that "shrill" is one of those Republican talking point words which makes me automatically suspicious (even if unjustifiably) of anyone who uses it metaphorically. I would like to nominate that it be stricken from the language in any senses other than "high-pitched and piercing in sound quality."

Anyway, while the show definitely had moments in the early days that were great, like Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo, increasingly when they tried to ape those moments it didn't work so well (like any of Mr. Hankey's later appearances). And then the times changed around it. When South Park went on the air Clinton was in office, there was no such thing as Fox News or Glenn Beck, and we hadn't yet suffered through either the Great National Freakout or its long hallucinatory aftereffects, some of which persist to this day.

Those things, and the big right-wing push to take over the country by whatever means possible, have made it nearly impossible to avoid taking sides, even for the show that gave rise to the phrase "South Park Libertarian." If you refuse to take a side, people tend to impute a side to you based on incidental things, which causes a damned-if-you-do-or-don't situation.
posted by JHarris at 11:44 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I never watched South Park at all, but my teen recently started getting into it, and an episode about whaling and the Japanese (strategically aired soon after the incident at a Sea World park where a killer whale's trainer was drowned) was absolutely hilarious and right-on target with a lot of the jabs.

So we saw the Mohammed episode (which was a two-parter) and it wasn't really so great. The most interesting part, in fact, to me, was when the kids were trying to get Mohammed to come to their town and they had a discussion with the other super friends about what would be permissible: What if Mohammed was in a truck? And we just heard his voice but didn't see him? Would that be okay? etc.
posted by misha at 11:47 AM on April 22, 2010


Seriously, this is difficult to accept considering that they have perhaps the fastest writing-to-production turnaround time ever seen in animation. South Park is known to react to events within three or four days of the occurrence. For whatever faults it may have (and it definitely has them), being non-topical is certainly not one of them.

Wait didn't they have an episode about FaceBook a couple weeks ago?
posted by shakespeherian at 11:49 AM on April 22, 2010


So we saw the Mohammed episode (which was a two-parter) and it wasn't really so great.

It did a really masterful job of touching on just about every storyline that South Park has ever done, which is what I enjoyed about it.
posted by graventy at 12:02 PM on April 22, 2010


daniel_charms, that is a fantastic essay. Thanks.
posted by everichon at 12:05 PM on April 22, 2010


"The concept (and the complaints) might be rooted in religious values but the logic of banning nudity on t.v. is similar to banning nudity in a public place or swearing on C.B. radio. (Not that I agree with it. But it's not an irrational argument) "

What is the rational argument for banning public nudity?
posted by Mitheral at 12:10 PM on April 22, 2010


Wait didn't they have an episode about FaceBook a couple weeks ago?

Well they can have off days, can't they?
posted by JHarris at 12:32 PM on April 22, 2010


What is the rational argument for banning public nudity?

To keep people from losing their lunch?
posted by JHarris at 12:32 PM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Naturally it's all doubly confusing because South Park has actually depicted Mohammad before, as a member of the Super Best Friends (link to streaming episode on the official South Park website).

Not anymore: "WE APOLOGIZE THAT SOUTH PARK STUDIOS CANNOT STREAM THIS EPISODE."
posted by homunculus at 12:34 PM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


At least you can still watch Buddha snort coke.
posted by homunculus at 12:34 PM on April 22, 2010


According to Matt Stone and Trey Parker the censorship in the episode wasn't a joke:
In the 14 years we’ve been doing South Park we have never done a show that we couldn’t stand behind. We delivered our version of the show to Comedy Central and they made a determination to alter the episode. It wasn’t some meta-joke on our part. Comedy Central added the bleeps. In fact, Kyle’s customary final speech was about intimidation and fear. It didn’t mention Muhammad at all but it got bleeped too. We’ll be back next week with a whole new show about something completely different and we’ll see what happens to it.
These claims strike me as incredibly implausible and contrived to enhance their "rebel" status (CC censoring a speech about intimidation? A two minute bleep not intended as a joke??), but, if true, would certainly mean they should cut all ties to the network as soon as possible, and without negotiation.

Perhaps TNT would be interested.
posted by dgaicun at 12:57 PM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fuck, I meant TBS. Or maybe USA?

... It was a Conan joke, OK.
posted by dgaicun at 1:04 PM on April 22, 2010


To the people who think South Park hasn't been funny in years, have you actually been watching it? Not every episode is a classic, but there have still been some great ones in recent seasons. Night of the Living Homeless (one of my all-time favorites), The Ungroundable, Fish Sticks, Fatbeard, The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs...
posted by wondermouse at 1:28 PM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Trey Parker and Matt Stone are responsible for putting 200 episodes of mediocre animation and inept satire on television. Supposedly they make fun of everyone, even though it seems that when you eliminate famous people suffering recent public embarrassments they particularly enjoy tarring people for promoting arguably liberal causes, like going after Rob Reiner with his anti-smoking stance, or Sally Struthers for working with ChildFund International, or small cafe owners for resisting Starbucks' corporate domination of the marketplace, or regular people who try to reduce petroleum consumption by driving hybrid cars.

Now, in a calculated, self-serving move, they decide to celebrate 200 episodes of cultural garbage by insulting a venerated religious icon in such a way as to predictably offend extremists during a time when global conflict and horrendous violence would seem to prescribe cultural sensitivity. When Stone and Parker's work is predictably censored, they grandstand about intimidation and fear and freedom of expression, congratulate themselves on making "important" statements, and chide the media and their host network for having "pussed out".

Funny how when certain people stand up for the decent causes they value, they become the subject of mockery and distortions on South Park, but when Parker and Stone's poo-joke cartoon is edited in the name of common-sense restraint, they paint themselves as cultural heroes and victims of an un-American injustice.
posted by millions at 1:33 PM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


millions: "Supposedly they make fun of everyone"

Oh come on. By now, this is just a straw man. Yes, they're conservative. Their conservative message is obvious in every episode of South Park, and blatantly obvious in Team America. And that's what's important about them. They're part of a small group of conservatives left in America who aren't fixated on social intolerance.

And that's kind of why they need to stand up to the media's paranoia about Muhammad. We liberals aren't going to do it, we're too nice.

But dicks also fuck assholes.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:44 PM on April 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


millions: You didn't mention what you think about the actual threat of violence and the subsequent censorship. Please do. Because right now you are giving the impression that you don't really mind.
posted by Anything at 1:54 PM on April 22, 2010


Their conservative message is obvious in every episode of South Park, and blatantly obvious in Team America. And that's what's important about them. They're part of a small group of conservatives left in America who aren't fixated on social intolerance.

They're actually fairly middle-of-the-road. They're primarily libertarian, which is annoying sometimes but I can usually watch it without getting too annoyed, ManBearPig excepted. But yeah, when they do express conservative views, they're devoid of that whole infuriating, braindead Tea Party flavor that has come to typify the Republicans.

It wasn’t some meta-joke on our part. Comedy Central added the bleeps. In fact, Kyle’s customary final speech was about intimidation and fear. It didn’t mention Muhammad at all but it got bleeped too.

That's really terrible. If the Daily Show did something like that, would they be censored too? Because that would be especially obscene.
posted by JHarris at 2:07 PM on April 22, 2010


I think they should deliver 22 minutes of bleeping over a black "CENSORED" screen next week to comedy central. Save them some work.
posted by qvantamon at 2:17 PM on April 22, 2010


"...insulting a venerated religious icon" would be more correct as "seriously insulting several venerated religious icons" and mocking the overreaction of the adherents of one to the display of an image of their prophet. Which was kinda the point and a point I agree strongly with.

It's funny to me how everyone loved South Park up until their own ox got a turn.

Not to take them at their word but:
Q: I don't know if you've heard about this, but there have been essays written about the concept of the "South Park Republican."

TREY: Yeah, we have seen that. What we're sick of—and it's getting even worse—is: you either like Michael Moore or you wanna fuckin' go overseas and shoot Iraqis. There can't be a middle ground. Basically, if you think Michael Moore's full of shit, then you are a super-Christian right-wing whatever. And we're both just pretty middle-ground guys. We find just as many things to rip on on the left as we do on the right. People on the far left and the far right are the same exact person to us.
posted by vapidave at 2:17 PM on April 22, 2010


We find just as many things to rip on on the left as we do on the right. People on the far left and the far right are the same exact person to us.

Yes, but, like I've said, frequently the political stance of South Park boils down to strawmanning both sides of an argument without offering any sort of resolution to the argument and then suggesting that they are smarter than everyone else because they don't take anything seriously.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:22 PM on April 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Anyone know if the version in the iTunes store is censored? (Although the title of the season collection includes the word "uncensored"...)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 2:27 PM on April 22, 2010


~Matt and Trey have long ago proved themselves the maters at picking at the lowest-hanging fruit. Or maybe it's the fruit that's already molding on the ground.

~Seriously, this is difficult to accept considering that they have perhaps the fastest writing-to-production turnaround time ever seen in animation. South Park is known to react to events within three or four days of the occurrence. For whatever faults it may have (and it definitely has them), being non-topical is certainly not one of them.


Did I say they were non-topical? Those words do not appear in my comments. "Low-hanging fruit" does not imply non-topical. It merely means they take the easy targets.

As for the studio's work schedule...big fucking deal. Fast-turnaround doesn't automagically bestow the crown of quality...Just ask any dev shop. Yes, I'm sure they sweat bullets. But, again, sweat doesn't magically make the results fabbo. I'm judging the results, not the process.

~The show became simply shrill, rather than funny, ages ago.

~I would have let this pass except that "shrill" is one of those Republican talking point words which makes me automatically suspicious (even if unjustifiably) of anyone who uses it metaphorically. I would like to nominate that it be stricken from the language in any senses other than "high-pitched and piercing in sound quality."


Which is exactly the manner in which I used it. The show is just fucking loud and obnoxious, without being particularly funny anymore.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:46 PM on April 22, 2010


Say, Thorzdad, are you being forced to watch it? No.

Then who cares if you think it's not as good as it once was. I defy you to find anything that is as good as it was after 16/17/18/19 years.
posted by cerulgalactus at 4:46 PM on April 22, 2010


Wow. Is millions' real name James Dobson? If so, welcome.

I kinda wish I could ban Comedy Central for this. Unfortunately, it's the only thing on tv I watch, so that won't be happening.
posted by fungible at 4:47 PM on April 22, 2010


Oh, they finally got the fatwa they've been dying to get. Huzzah.

And I'll bet the guy who works in the mail room at Comedy Central is proud to be on the front lines of Matt and Trey's war of righteousness.
posted by Legomancer at 5:16 PM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I came in late to all this, but I love the repeated hurf-durf about how Parker and Stone should "leave Comedy Central in protest."

Comedy Central owns South Park. Parker and Stone don't get to take it with them. Or the multi-million dollar contract they have for that show and its digital distribution site. But... yeah, I'm sure they'll be just as happy with those Baseketball residuals.

It's nice that Team America has a cult following, but there is nothing- nothing- these two have done that comes remotely close to South Park's success, and likely never will. I think that's truly why they hate Seth MacFarlane- because he's willing to admit that he's making millions accepting that he knows how to do one thing well, and they don't.

They're going to do next week what they do every fucking week- turn in another episode, collect their massive check, and giggle at how everyone else is being outraged for them. As if they care any more than the libertarian bloggers who thought changing their site's background colors was "joining the fight against Muslim oppression."

Is this really ridiculous? Who the fuck knows. It's almost definitely a simple business decision. Viacom doesn't want a liability lawsuit from violence or anything like that. This is a country where Dunkin' Donuts cancels an ad campaign because a racist lunatic doesn't like Rachel Ray's scarf. Or maybe they just made the whole fucking thing up, press releases in all.

But you know what? Either way, the "uncensored, too hot for TV" version of this episode will be out on DVD by the end of May and a big corporation will make shit tons, because that is how you face controversy in the Yoo Ess of Fuckoff.

And maybe then people will start talking about the actual funny parts of the episode.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:28 PM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


frequently the political stance of South Park boils down to strawmanning both sides of an argument without offering any sort of resolution to the argument and then suggesting that they are smarter than everyone else because they don't take anything seriously.

Thank you for putting into words something I tried to describe to a friend at one point.
I think Penn & Teller's show does the same thing at times, though not quite to the same level.
posted by inigo2 at 5:29 PM on April 22, 2010


And maybe then people will start talking about the actual funny parts of the episode.

Tom Cruise with the whale did it for me.
posted by wondermouse at 5:57 PM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, southpark has gotten kind of boring. It's just gotten too preachy. Now, I think they probably feel that they're just speaking the truth in a world gone mad with hypocracy, but their "common sense" views are still views and preaching them is still preachy.

The last one I saw was the tiger woods one and it was just boring. The whole episode was about proving the point that "sex addiction" isn't real, which is like, who cares?
I think Matt and Trey generally do a really good job of highlighting the idiotic atavisms that still clench the testicles of modern society.
The question is whether or not their preaching is any less tedious then the preaching they're railing against. And in most cases, the answer is no.
Seriously, this is difficult to accept considering that they have perhaps the fastest writing-to-production turnaround time ever seen in animation. South Park is known to react to events within three or four days of the occurrence. For whatever faults it may have (and it definitely has them), being non-topical is certainly not one of them.
Throzdad wasn't complaining about non-topicality, if anything, that makes it worse. You work to crap out a product quickly, and there isn't always time to think about what it means and do something thoughtful. Or even funny.

[showing boobs on TV is] TOTALLY the same.

There isn't really any logical reason why breasts should be hidden. They are sexy, sure, but so are lots of other parts on a woman's body that are allowed to be seen. They're not inherently sexual. But the proscription isn't specifically religious, it's more of a general cultural norm. But even then, there's a really high correlation between prudes and highly religious Christians.
posted by delmoi at 7:01 PM on April 22, 2010


Say, Thorzdad, are you being forced to watch it? No.
Then who cares if you think it's not as good as it once was.


Ah. The junior-high critical argument. Nice to see the classics never die.

I defy you to find anything that is as good as it was after 16/17/18/19 years.

My marriage. 30 years this year.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:13 PM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


And of course The Daily Show is doing a bit on this now.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:03 PM on April 22, 2010


In Germany, some Christians are also getting upset about a cartoon.
posted by cmonkey at 9:40 PM on April 22, 2010


'The most hilarious part of this is that we're only outraged when "foreign" religious fundamentalism censors the public square. Remember how angry the American public was at Christian censorship when Janet Jackson let fly? Oh wait.'

TOTALLY the same.


Right. What we need is a brilliant compromise.

Naked Mohammad on prime time television. Now everyone's happy, yes?
posted by sebastienbailard at 2:00 AM on April 23, 2010


Yes, but, like I've said, frequently the political stance of South Park boils down to strawmanning both sides of an argument without offering any sort of resolution to the argument and then suggesting that they are smarter than everyone else because they don't take anything seriously.

I have to say, based on the interview I heard with them on fresh air, I think they'd probably agree with this description. Then they would say they write a show about foul-mouthed eight-year-olds telling poop jokes.

Still, I agree, they get less funny when they're going after political stuff - their best episodes are still the ones where they put the kids in crazy situations. The one with "if it pleases and sparkles" is my favorite episode yet. Also any episode with Butters and Cartman.
posted by heathkit at 4:23 AM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm confused/skeptical about how a single lame crypto-threat on a website with no traffic, run by some dude in his basement could influence million dollar entertainment decisions.

Can I pull this shit for Michael Bay's next 300 million dollar summer cockbuster? I'll start a website called the Sinhalese Revolutionary Front and put up a statement like 'Gee willikers, if Bay releases Transformers 3, I have a strong feeling he'll end up like William McKinley.'

Seriously, is that all it takes?

Or do I have to pretend to be one of those marginal groups, like neo-Nazis or Islamists, that everyone irrationally treats like omnipotent movie super-villains? I HATE JEWS THEREFORE I MUST BE CAPABLE OF ANYTHING.
posted by dgaicun at 4:52 AM on April 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


Jon Stewart does an encore of the "Go F@*k Yourself" gospel number for Revolution Muslim.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:49 AM on April 23, 2010


South Park fans hack Revolution Muslim's website, put up cartoon of Mohammad.
posted by desjardins at 9:59 AM on April 23, 2010


“What is the rational argument for banning public nudity?”

The inverse proportion of the willingness to have public nudity to the attractiveness of the nudist notwithstanding, this is one of those dissonance moments where you read subtextually “skinnydipping/sunbathing at the beach/park” and I’m writing “pubic hair in the salad bar.”

But as I said, it’s the transgression that titillates not the mere fact of it, so I don’t agree with it. Pretty comfortable naked myself and I don’t much care if others are. Just as long as they also put down towels when they sit.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:41 AM on April 23, 2010


> I would like to nominate that it be stricken from the language in any senses other than "high-pitched and piercing in sound quality."

Thorzdad: Which is exactly the manner in which I used it. The show is just fucking loud and obnoxious, without being particularly funny anymore.

Hm, no, your context doesn't seem to connect with a literal use of the word "shrill." Technically yes, one could consider South Park to be "high-pitched and piercing," but only if one didn't like the character voices. But then you complain about it being loud and obnoxious, which is a different thing.

(But yeah, plate of beans. It's not really a big deal. Never mind me.)

shakespearian: Yes, but, like I've said, frequently the political stance of South Park boils down to strawmanning both sides of an argument without offering any sort of resolution to the argument and then suggesting that they are smarter than everyone else because they don't take anything seriously.

But this, I have to say, rings true for me. While I still like South Park overall, I do think I've detected this from time to time. I think it may have to do with the fallacy behind the Overton window, the assumption that the truth must be halfway between the two most extreme points of view. Like hybrid car owners are necessarily obnoxious. Like Al Gore's concerns over global warming are really anything like believing in ManBearPig. Like Michael Moore is anywhere close to being really left wing.
posted by JHarris at 1:13 PM on April 23, 2010


Anything: You didn't mention what you think about the actual threat of violence and the subsequent censorship. Please do. Because right now you are giving the impression that you don't really mind.

I thought I did mention that, but to clarify and expand on my statment, I think that purposely broadcasting something designed to provoke a predictably violent reactionary group is irresponsible in this particular case. Obviously I don't think threatening anyone with violence for offending one's beliefs is acceptable, and obviously if the episode airs as Stone and Parker intended and there's a violent reaction similar to what we've seen in similar situations in the past, the onus for that violence falls on those carrying it out.

But before that happens, civil society isn't obliged on principle to go along with every fool who wants to take the bait of delibirately offending people who belligerently promise violent action against those who offend them. Parker and Stone have a protected right to behave like jackasses in this case of course, but Comedy Central also has a right to limit their complicity in fatuous provocateur shenanigans and I don't blame them for doing so. What the South Park creators are doing seems to me to be a sort of high-stakes self-promotion masquerading as a crusade for freedom of expression, and I find that gross.
posted by millions at 1:37 PM on April 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why Do the Islamic Extremists Who Hate South Park Also Hate Triscuits?
posted by homunculus at 1:51 PM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Geez there's a lot of South Park hate. Which is what you'd expect for a Metafilter thread on... well, on anything, really.

I loved South Park for the first few seasons. Then I grew jaded, and stopped watching it, and brushed it off as sophomoric frat boy hurr hurr hurr Dane Cook kind of humor. If you'd asked me a year ago, I'd probably have called it "mediocre animation and inept satire" too.

But about six months ago I discovered that they were streaming every episode from their website. Having recently killed my TV and without the means to buy a new one, I started watching it from the beginning. Why not.

What I found surprised me. That show is a lot funnier, quick-witted, and more adept than I thought. So I have to agree with the show's many other supporters here. I don't think you can legitimately critique or hate on it unless you've watched it.

If you're interested in giving it another try, here's some faves from the past few years:

Margaritaville
Whale Whores
Dances With Smurfs
Make Love, Not Warcraft
Stanley's Cup
posted by ErikaB at 5:46 PM on April 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


What if we started a movement on facebook in which we changed our profile pictures to...yes, a picture of Mohammad. Gotta catch 'em all, now!
posted by The3rdMan at 10:42 AM on April 24, 2010


Seattle cartoonist launches "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day"
posted by homunculus at 10:50 AM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apparently Super Best Friends has been removed from Netflix streaming as well.
posted by homunculus at 11:21 AM on April 24, 2010


What if we started a movement on facebook in which we changed our profile pictures to...yes, a picture of Mohammad.

Seattle cartoonist launches "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day"

Yeah, that sounds just about the right level of what Americans consider rebellious protest these days. Jesus, the Muslim fundamentalists are murderous violent lunatics, but at least give them credit for being willing to leave the fucking house.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:26 PM on April 24, 2010


The Muslim fundamentalists are murderous violent lunatics, but they are a minority of Muslims. That is the only thing preventing me from wearing a Mohammed (as Thomas Jefferson) T-Shirt. If I could figure out a way to offend the Muslim fundamentalists without offending the majority of Muslims I would make it my mission. I'm open to suggestions.
posted by vapidave at 8:08 PM on April 24, 2010


I'm open to suggestions.

Don't be that guy.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:30 PM on April 24, 2010


And, if you ever talk to a sane Muslim scholar (there are many of them out there, but unfortunately the MSM would rather give two dipshits with a website more airtime than 10,000 well versed scholars), it's not forbidden for non-Muslims to make images of Prophet Mohammed (pbuh)--they aren't bound by the shariat. Anyway, don't add to the steaming pile of stupid.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:32 PM on April 24, 2010


You can see Episode 201 on tudou.com, the Chinese version of Youtube. I missed it last week because Comedy Central replaced it with a rerun during the second time slot, but now I can finally see it thanks to a Chinese website. That fact is far funnier than the episode itself.
posted by homunculus at 12:06 PM on April 27, 2010


...without fear or favour...
posted by kliuless at 9:40 AM on April 28, 2010


Are we sure this isn't some sort of strange tea-party troll?

How shady and un-credible is Revolution Muslim? You decide:
The founder of the group goes by the name of Yousef al-Khattab, but his real name is Joseph Cohen. He was born and raised in the United States as a Jew, and holds both American and Israeli citizenship. In the late eighties, Cohen embraced an ultra-orthodox interpretation of Judaism, and began attending a yeshiva (rabbinical school). In 1998, Cohen hearkened to the Zionist call, and packed up his bags to relocate to the Israeli Occupied Territories where he became an Israeli settler. As an ardent and extreme Zionist, Joseph Cohen fell in with the Jewish fundamentalist group Shas, an extreme right-wing political party that believes in flouting international law based on their religious beliefs. Less than three years later, Cohen “converted” to Islam, moved back to the United States, and founded the most radical Islamic group in the country.
posted by BinGregory at 7:52 PM on April 28, 2010


Yeah, that's what I figured. MeFi and the media took it all — hook, line and sinker. Crazy-assed religionist troll should be making the pages of the Weekly World News, not the real news. Might as well be taking the Heavens Gate home page seriously.

Western Media: Educating You Stupid.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:55 PM on April 28, 2010


We live in the future, where advanced technology has made it possible for a lie to make it around the world hundreds of times before the truth can get its pants on.
posted by mullingitover at 11:06 PM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Draw Muhammad Day backfires for Seattle cartoonist
posted by homunculus at 12:34 PM on May 20, 2010


I'm a little confused about that article. Did she personally get threatened or something? She seems to be upset that her statement got noticed.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:07 PM on May 20, 2010


> She seems to be upset that her statement got noticed.

It seems she was a bit naive about the whole thing.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:14 PM on May 20, 2010


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