Last Night’s South Park

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.

23 thoughts on “Last Night’s South Park

  1. Pingback: iHeartBarrelman.com – Videos, Comics, Articles and More delivered fresh! » Blog Archive » Comedy Central rapes South Park again

  2. “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.”

    What if they’re “signalling” it for the simple fact that it’s true. They do have to be treated different! I mean, it’s not angry fundamentalist Baptists or orthodox Jews or conservative Hindus who are repeatedly decapitating, stabbing, and bombing people for insulting their religion.

    This is simply Comedy Central taking reasonable steps to protect its employees. I wouldn’t be surprising if someone in their legal department is actually concerned about future lawsuits over this. That is, at this point in time, a reasonable person can foresee that insulting Islam is putting your employees in a dangerous situation. It’s one thing for an individual (e.g. Theo Van Gogh) to risk his life in the name of freedom of speech, but it’s another for a company to put its employees at risk.

    And if moderate Muslims are insulted by Comedy Central’s decision – they need to be mad at the fundamentalists who are creating the whole situation to start with.

  3. I must differ with alano’s comment and agree with Aunt B. Where is the line drawn? If lunatic Muslim fundies insisted that major grocery store chains stop selling pork, OR ELSE (and I’m sure they’d throw in some “This is not a threat” caveat) would we no longer be able to readily buy pork in this country because grocery stores were protecting their employees? I doubt it very much. Corporations cannot give in to every crazy threat or demand in order to “protect their employees” or they’d soon be out of business. The crazies would control everything at that point. And to Aunt B.’s point; why just take Muslim fundies seriously unless there was a latent fear of Muslims over all other religions.

  4. “why just take Muslim fundies seriously unless there was a latent fear of Muslims over all other religions.”

    I think you missed my point. Of course there’s a “latent fear of Muslims over all other religions.” A very well-founded and incredibly reasonable latent fear.

    You gotta head buried pretty deep to play the PC equivalence game and act like Muslim fundies are exactly the same as Christian fundies or Jewish fundies or Hindu fundies.

  5. Okay, I will concede that crazy Muslims have the bigger body count, but I live in a part of the country where crazy Christianists blow up the Olympics and kill people and then get to hide for years with the help of “regular” folks, where a crazy Christianist walks into a church he’s decided is too liberal and start killing people, where crazy Christianists burn down mosques and so on and so on.

    So, it’s not really PC to point out the similarities; it’s our lived experience.

  6. Alano, you have to be pulling our collective legs. Christians have been dicing and slicing on this continent in the name of their savior since the 1520s. I’ll call your 9/11 and raise you the destruction of a million Indians and the deliberate immiseration of at least that many more. Unless you’re grappling with some convenient short-term memory loss, I’m not sure what you’re getting at. Or do non-white non-Christians not count in the devil’s arithmetic?

  7. I can see why he loves you, Missus.

    No, I’m not hanging Christians for pandemic collapse…although some do, I think that the vast majority of infections were just in the “shit happens” camp of epidemiology. I’m mainly talking about wading through cold water in the dark so you can burn down Mystic Fort and stand by the entrances to gut the fleeing arson victims with bayonets. Soldiers were singing hymns as they did so. I’m talking about white Christians rounding up Christianized Indians and dumping them on Deer Island in mid-winter without food, blankets, or shelter in hopes that they would perish by spring…you know, actually murdering people in Christ’s name.

    If it were only germs, moreover, then we could plausibly let Christians off the hook. However, the things that really kill virgin soil populations in huge numbers in pandemic situations are things like malnutrition, poor hygiene, lack of shelter, lack of palliative care — exactly the conditions produced when you drive populations off their lands and force them to live as refugees. The more immiserated and displaced the population, the higher the death toll.

  8. Yes, there are some crazy individuals in every fundamentalist movement. I’m not denying that. There are even militant atheists (e.g. Timothy McVeigh was an ardent atheist); violent environmentalists (e.g the Unibomber); violent leftists (all over South America). Every religious and political movement attracts some crazies. But you’re not living in reality if you look at modern Islam – at all the violent Islam-motivated attacks – and just shrug and say “aw sucks, I guess every religion has its extremists!”

    Forget 9/11 – look at all the terrorist attacks in Europe. Look at the attacks in India. In Israel. Across the Middle East, between different Muslim sects. In Russia. In Bali. In Thailand. Look at the Danish Prophet cartoons, Theo Van Gogh, Salmon Rushdie. Just look at the fact that Amsterdam used to be one of the most gay friendly cities in the world – and now it has a higher rate of hate crimes against gay men than any major city in North America.

    And, bridgett, it’s also not particularly helpful to compare present Islam with the history of other religions. We’re talking about the present here. Comedy Central isn’t tip towing around certain topics because its afraid that Christian missionaries from the 1500’s are going to hop in a time machine and behead one of their corporate executives in downtown Manhattan.

    What I’m getting at is: Under the PRESENT circumstances Comedy Central made a reasonable decision based on what is best for the safety of its employees. If you simply consider what happened to the Danish prophet cartoonists – who now live in hiding, with 24-hour security everywhere they go – what Comedy Central did made sense.

  9. Viacom was wrong to censor South Park, but they weren’t wrong because it was insulting to Muslims. This idea that it’s insulting to not be insulting and thus we should insult them is ridiculous when you think about in terms of real-life decision making (and for other reasons as well).

  10. Pingback: The Real Insult To Muslims – The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan « Firesaw

  11. Elizabeth, there’s no finite amount of wrong, here. Viacom was wrong, period. One facet of it is that they were wrong because it’s insulting to non-fundamentalist Muslims and it gives fundamentalist Muslims power and influence way beyond what they warrant.

    But there are lots of other reasons it was wrong. I was just focusing on the one.

  12. alano–Tim McVeigh, atheist? That’s a new one. Guess his Turner Diaries/right-wing-militia “patriot” avenging Waco & Ruby Ridge was such a prominent part of his identity that his religious beliefs didn’t seem to matter. As indeed they don’t. He didn’t blow up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building because he hated God (he would’ve chosen a church if that were the case), he blew up the Murrah building, assassinating 161 people (including 19 kids) because he hated government.

    Just like Limbaugh, O’Reilly, and Beck.

    i can see how you wouldn’t have wanted to mention that.

    By the way, if you read the Unabomer’s manifesto, he hated gays and political correctness. Guess he’s not quite as left-wing as you folk like to make him out to be.

  13. I’m just surprised that more fundamentalists from other religions haven’t started thinking, “Gee, this violence thing really gets results. Maybe we should start doing that.”

    Equating Limbaugh, O’Reilly, and Beck with McVeigh is lunatic lefty talk.

  14. gregm91436 – that was uncalled for, don’t you think? Let’s just look at your logic there:

    All cats are mammals. All dogs are mammals. Therefore, all dogs are cats.

    McVeigh was anti-big government. Limbuagh, O’Reilly, and Beck (the unholy trinity!) are anti-big government. Therefore, right-wing pundits are Timothy McVeigh.

    You’re basically equating anyone who doesn’t agree with you to terrorists. It’s an obvious attempt to bypass any reasoning or debate and intimidate anyone who criticizes the government into silence.

    Nearly every religious and political movement (right and left) attracts some crazies. But Islam seems to do much more than merely attract crazies; it seems to produce them.

  15. Exador – Exactly. Lunatic lefty talk is lingua franca here though.

    Someone please share Aunt B’s insights with President Dumb-O! and his cowering to Iran.

    Come on all you edgy liberals. Take part in Dan Savage’s “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” and then look to your own archives for what happened when Hobbs did it four years ago.

  16. Brian, your mouth says “lunatic lefty talk,” but your fingers say “please read what I type, B.” You want to pull my braids next or what?

  17. Actually Comedy Central’s actions make a lot of (twisted) sense if you see it as a marketing strategy. It brings much more attention to South Park – from the audience that would be most attracted to South Park. Not only can they now enjoy watching the show they can enjoy some small feeling of self righteousness about it. Watching South Park is now a blow to those damn woman-hating (only incidentally brown) Buddha-statue-destroying fascist Muslim thugs. If Comedy Central hasn’t paid whatever obscure website published those threats they really should. It’s only fair.

  18. Pingback: The Real Insult To Muslims « Hindgrindr

  19. Nah. But obfuscating the point to impugn the motives of the messenger seems typical as well.

    The Leftist’s newfound “we shouldn’t bow our freedom of speech to placate fundamentalists” meme is a few years too late. Give or take a few burnt down embassies.

    It’s not just the threat of violence but the use of libel tourism/terrorism by people like Khalid bin Mahfouz against Rachel Ehrenfeld or the Canadian Islamic Congress hauling Mark Steyn in front of a Human Rights Commission over a column.

    Again, you’re a few years late to the party but better late than never I guess.

    *tug, tug*

  20. Good lord, Brian, I would have expected this line of reasoning from a lot of folks, but I admit to being a little surprised to see it coming from you.

    Usually you’re not so sloppy. But, you know, if you want to conflate me and “all liberals” and switch back and forth between who you’re talking about, that’s fine.

    But you and I both know I have been on the right side of this since the beginning. As you say, check my archives.

  21. I checked your archives before saying anything. I was referring more to the “all liberals”, the Dan Savages, and the like.

    Though I would note that you now work for the weekly that spearheaded the Hobbs/Mohammed PC pogrom.

    It would be interesting to see how far the Scene has come since then.

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