laugh?

Will the South Park Creators Get the Last Laugh?

South Park- for the Grateful Web

Well folks, looks like the latest fad amongst the erstwhile right wing in our fair country is to identify yourself as a "South Park Conservative."  Brian Anderson of the think tank, the Manhattan Institute, has published a book called "South Park Conservatives: The Revolt Against Liberal Media Bias" which has the normally buttoned-down conservatives coming out of the closet to rejoice in potty-mouthed irreligious humor that supposedly targets the Liberal Elite in its weekly broadcast.  Am I crazy or are these people just making another target out of themselves.  South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have always gone out of their way to skewer the self-serious and people like Michael Moore, Barbara Streisand and Alec Baldwin aren't exactly moving targets, but to suggest that the show has a conservative, or at least an anti-liberal bent is ludicrous.

Recently, Joe Scarborough, one of the usually more sensible and least vitriolic of the conservative talking heads on television, aired an interview with the author of the book, including some clips from the show to emphasize the point - which they have obviously completely missed:

SCARBOROUGH:  And actually making—you talk about environmentalism - actually making those people that were tearing down rain forests in South America the heroes of an episode.

ANDERSON:  That's right.

SCARBOROUGH:  Let's show another clip from "South Park."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SOUTH PARK")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  You white Americans make me sick.  You waste food, oil, and everything else because you're so rich, and then you tell the rest of the world to save the rain forest because you like its pretty flowers.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  We're here live in San Jose, Costa Rica, where hundreds of Americans have gathered for the Save the Rain Forest Summit.  Everyone is here so they can feel good about themselves and act like they aren't the ones responsible for the rain forest's peril.

In two lines of the show, Parker and Stone have gone after white Americans, wasteful consumption, rampant materialism and environmentalism.  Hey Conservatives, did you laugh at this?  How about you Liberals?  Of course you did, because it is funny and true.

It's embarrassing to hear right-minded individuals taking this for an attack on environmentalism and an endorsement of conservative values - to do so is to practically admit to being fat, greedy, wasteful and willing to let the world go to hell in a hand basket, everyone else be damned.

When Parker and Stone hold their mirror up to America, this is exactly what they see and what they are reflecting back to you.  Time and time again their message has been focused against the hypocrisy of the self-righteous in this country.  And that is neither Liberal nor Conservative.

If Vegas only took odds on the content of upcoming South Park episodes.  "South Park Conservatives" come to South Park and I can't wait to see what happens.

Complete Transcript from Scarborough Country Interview with Brian Anderson aired April 25th 2005

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/7640364/

Now, coming up next, the cartoon "South Park" is often childish, irreverent and obscene.  But conservative?  You know what?  Stick around.  You're going to be surprised by what you hear right after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SOUTH PARK")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS:  Hello there, little boy.  Do you know who I am?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  No.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS:  I bet you do.

(singing):  I'm going where there's lucky clovers in the...

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  Stop that.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  Yes, that sucks, dude.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS:  I'm Barbra Streisand.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  So?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  So?  So, I'm a very famous and very important individual.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  A popular TV show skewering a liberal celebrity.  You know what?  That may have been unheard of 10 years ago.  But now, thanks to cable news, talk radio, blogs, this type of humor has blossomed onto cable.  The elite media regime has started to crack, some say.  And others say it's a watershed moment in American politics and culture.

That is at least what Brian Anderson, who is editor at "Manhattan Institute City Journal," has to say in his new book, "South Park Conservatives: The Revolt Against Liberal Media Bias."

I spoke with him recently and began by asking him, what is a "South Park" conservative?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN ANDERSON, AUTHOR, "SOUTH PARK CONSERVATIVES":  Well, the way I use the term—and it's been floating around out in the culture for a while—is somebody who looks around at today's left, who might not be a traditional conservative, but who looks at the political correctness, the anti-Americanism, the elitism, and says that's not me; I want nothing to do with that.

And I find a lot of evidence for this on college campuses in the book

and also in this new kind of comedy, which is represented most powerfully

by "South Park" itself.

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, a lot of conservatives would be shocked that you talk about "South Park" being a conservative show.  I didn't watch it for a couple of years.  A friend told me, you've got to watch this episode and showed me an episode.  And I have not yet seen anything on television that goes after the left the way "South Park" does.

Now, political correctness, of course—well, I'll tell you what.  Why don't we just show a clip of "South Park" to help define what "South Park" conservatives are.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SOUTH PARK")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS:  Kids, this is the Costa Rican Capitol Building.

This is where all the leaders of the Costa Rican government make their...

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  Oh, my God, it smells out here.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS:  All right, that does it.  Eric Cartman, you respect other cultures this instant.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS:  I wasn't saying anything about their culture.

I was just saying their city smells like ass.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS:  Wow.  Staying in a place like this really makes you appreciate living in America, huh.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS:  You may think that making fun of Third World countries is funny, but let me...

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  I don't think it's funny.  This place is overcrowded, smelly and poor.  That's not funny.  That sucks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  That's the sort of thing you never see on mainstream media.  They go after Barbra Streisand.  In their latest movie, "Team America," they actually assassinate every liberal in Hollywood.

(CROSSTALK)

ANDERSON:  Yes.  In Hollywood, basically.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, so...

ANDERSON:  In horrible ways.

SCARBOROUGH:  So, what's going on with this subversive new humor?

ANDERSON:  Well, first of all, when you think about the history of humor, the last 30 years, it's been mostly directed at conservatives and—you know, at least when it's been topical humor.

You think of Norman Lear and "All in the Family" and "Maude."  And, even today, "Will & Grace" or "Whoopi," which was canceled a few years ago, these—topic humor is always to the left.  These guys saw an opportunity.  And cable made it possible.  This is the kind of show that would have never, never been broadcast on network television.

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, what's so interesting is, I—when "The New York Times" ran a front-page story a year ago, they were actually talking about how this was a liberal show.  It was anti-God.  It was anti-religion, and the conservatives were angry.  You know, I just—I can't figure out how they got it so wrong.

ANDERSON:  Well, I mean, on occasion, they do go after the right.

They did a kind of merciless mocking of Mel Gibson.

And, you know, they're not equal-opportunity offenders, however.  If you really look at episode after episode, they go after multiculturalism, radical environmentalism, hate crime legislation, even abortion rights.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.

ANDERSON:  And when was the last time you saw anything in popular culture satirize something like that?

SCARBOROUGH:  And actually making—you talk about environmentalism -

·         actually making those people that were tearing down rain forests in South America the heroes of an episode.

ANDERSON:  That's right.

SCARBOROUGH:  Let's show another clip from "South Park."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SOUTH PARK")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  You white Americans make me sick.  You waste food, oil, and everything else because you're so rich, and then you tell the rest of the world to save the rain forest because you like its pretty flowers.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  We're here live in San Jose, Costa Rica, where hundreds of Americans have gathered for the Save the Rain Forest Summit.  Everyone is here so they can feel good about themselves and act like they aren't the ones responsible for the rain forest's peril.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON:  It's Comedy Central's most successful program.

And its demographic cuts pretty young.  And, as I explain in this book, "South Park Conservatives," there's a lot of this kind of activity going on, on campuses, too.

SCARBOROUGH:  Talk about that.

ANDERSON:  Well, Harvard's Institute of Politics did a study about a year and a half ago that found that students were actually to the right of the general population in most of their views.

SCARBOROUGH:  So, what happens is, they go to class all day.  They listen to professors.

ANDERSON:  They listen to...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... that all have the same opinion, same political correct viewpoint.  They get tired of it.  They go home at night.

ANDERSON:  Well, think about it.

SCARBOROUGH:  And they become "South Park" conservatives.

ANDERSON:  Yes.  Well, there's a gun club at Harvard now.  And that's pretty strange when you think about it.

SCARBOROUGH:  It's very strange.

Well, thanks.  The book is "South Park Conservatives."  Thanks a lot for being with us tonight.  We greatly appreciate it.

ANDERSON:  Thanks a lot, Joe.  I really appreciate it.  Thanks for having me on.