Mental Flotsam, Mental Jetsam

Because the only thing that beats going crazy is going crazy with somebody else

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Free Speech. *Here*.


I saw South Park last night. In it, Cartman was trying to stop Family Guy from broadcasting a cartoon depicting Muhammad; which would spark any number of negative reactions from people of Muslim faith. Ultimately, he failed, and Family Guy went on to air the blasphemous cartoon.

Comedy Central did not. They blacked out the screen for all of five seconds, with a message saying that they refused to show a depiction of him. Last night. They had no problem with it July 4, 2001, in the episode Super Best Friends, when there was no controversy. Muhammad appeared as part of a Justice League satire, complete with 'flame powers'. Of course, five years ago, Trey Parker and Matt Stone weren't deliberately trying to anger the Muslims, either.

I don't know. Religion has always been a sensitive subject, one that the South Park boys have enjoyed roasting over an open flame, time and again. I enjoy the right to free speech. I appreciate having it, and am grateful for the ability to spout drivel along the lines of, "Adolf Hitler was a surprisingly good dancer." That's good.

However; I think there's a line. Parker and Stone don't need to say things that they know will infuriate large groups of people. You can suggest that someone 'lighten up' when it comes to religion, but that is never, ever going to happen. Ever.

They were fully aware that a present-day depiction of Muhammad (delivering a fish-helmet, in this instance) was going to provoke a negative reaction; and a strong one. Cleaving to the First Amendment like a shield, they aired the episode anyway. Comedy Central omitted the actual footage, but what did it accomplish? They're just going to do it again.

My thing is this-- no-one likes being offended, especially when it comes to religion. I've never heard of Parker or Stone taking offense at anything. Either they're just that copasetic, and have embraced making complete asses of themselves, or the rest of us just haven't tried hard enough to show 'em what it's like...

What would offend them? Trash-talk about their mothers? Asking them why, with all their money, they can't afford good haircuts? Imply a low sperm count? I don't know. Your guess is 100% qualified as mine. On any of this.

My point, I suppose is this. Just because one can do something does not mean that one should. Is that unfair censorship? No. It is censorship, but I wouldn't call it unfair. They're making statements that, in certain corners of the world, would get them beaten; or possibly killed. And they're doing it here.

Just thinking out loud.

3 Comments:

  • At 2:49 PM, Anonymous Samm said…

    Casey, I hate South Park. Just wanted to be upfront first. That being said, I will defend them. They are not being anything different from when they started out. Offensive. To get upest with them seems really silly. They purposely try to offend the masses. And people like you have been watching it from the begining. Is it okay to offend one sect of religion, but leave another out? No. That's discrimination. So, let them offend, keep watching. It's the offensive material that people want, and they always deliver.

     
  • At 5:13 PM, Blogger Casey Jones said…

    Samm,

    I'm not upset. Forgive me if that was the tone... I just think it's *stupid* to deliberately aim to make people angry.

    No, you're right on the money.

    C

     
  • At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Lori said…

    Hm...I kind of think that all of their offensive content *deliberately* offends people (and I have to admit, I'm a big fan of South Park lol) It really depends on how the people it offends are going to take it. I mean, they've offended every group from lesbians to latinos to the religious right...to Tom Cruise! People just have to have a sense of humor about being made fun of...and if not, well that's their problem (or ours I guess if they decide to attack us because of it...)

    Maybe this time it's scarier to think of them offending a group that we're weary about and so that makes it worse.

     

Post a Comment

<< Home