I have two thoughts (which is fitting, since there were two plot lines):
1. My understanding is that Comedy Central added beeps. That the intention was always to make a joke regarding being unable to show Muhammad, but that the bleeping out of his name was a decision not made by Parker & Stone . If this is the case, some non-crazy asshole Muslims need to sit down with Comedy Central and explain how their approach to this matter is not doing Muslims any favors. It’s one thing for the South Park dudes to make fun of your religion; they make fun of a lot of religions. Even if they want to make fun of not being able to show a representation of Muhammad, that’s between them and the members of that religion.
When the network that hosts the show starts getting all weird about it, though, that’s a problem for Muslims. Because this large media conglomerate is regularly and repeatedly signalling that, even if they’re willing to stand up to angry Baptists or Jews with hurt feelings, pissed off Muslims are so scary and weird and “other” that they have to be handled with kid gloves. I know plenty of fucked-up Christians who I’m sure have sent angry letters and phone calls to Comedy Central about South Park.
So, what Comedy Central is saying is that some death-threaty, angry, fundamentalist kill-joys, if they’re Christian, obviously don’t reflect the opinions of all Christians or warrant changing programming to accommodate. But some death-threaty, angry, fundamentalist kill-joys, if they’re Muslim, will be treated as if they are the legitimate authority on their religion and Comedy Central will respond in fear to them.
And fear is just the submissive expression of hostility.
Imagine you’re an employee or an advertiser who is Muslim. Are you really going to feel like you can do business with Comedy Central and get a fair shake?
I’m sure it gives religious fundamentalists a thrill to be treated as if they’re special and that their voices carry more weight than mainstream voices. But it’s an incredibly unfair position to put the mainstream people in.
Plus, once you start acquiescing to the fundamentalists, you embolden them. They learn violence and the threat of violence does work and does get them what they want. Which makes it dangerous for mainstream people to speak out against them.
Fundamentalist religious behavior is a problem for everyone, whether we share that religion or not. But for those of us who aren’t a part of that religion, it’s just a secular problem. We need to handle it the way we would handle any issue. And that means by not acquiescing to their demands to be treated like they are special. Whether the fundamentalists see it or not, that’s the only way to be fair to them. It’s up to the people who share that religion to try to reform the fundamentalists. And, again, the only way we can do our part to ensure that happens is to butt out and not acquiesce to the fundamentalists. Continuing to treat them as special sends a message that they are special. They are not.
2. Scott Tenorman?! Oh my god. It was so brilliant. I was so afraid they were going to take it away somehow, make it more ambiguous or something. But they did not. I honestly didn’t think they’d ever resolve the storyline of Cartman’s dad or, if they did, that it would be so satisfying, but it was. It was so beautiful.