South Park episode 201 controversy is still raging on, and may not go away soon. Censorship marred the show’s 200’th episode milestone, at the least. At the worst, critics of Comedy Central call it a total betrayal of free speech, and have attacked Viacom for caving in. Sometimes this kind of debate falls under party lines, but that might not be the case this time. Both left and right pundits and fans have attacked the South Park episode 201 censorship, in a rare sign of unity.
It may be no surprise that leftists and fellow entertainers were angry at what happened. Fellow Comedy Central star Jon Stewart supported Matt Stone and Trey Parker on Thursday’s Daily Show – though he saved his biggest barbs at the Muslim website that threatened them. Columnist Dan Savage even declared May 20, 2010 as “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”
But the true South Park episode 201 outrage may be from the right, as they are actually standing with Stone and Parker as well. Bill O’Reilly, Andrew Sullivan and other right-wing bloggers have condemned Comedy Central themselves, and applauded Stone and Parker for their stand on Mohammed. On this issue, there may be such a thing as bi-partisanship.
However, there may be different reasons for both sides to applaud South Park episode 201. This gives the right another chance to condemn radical Muslims, and a branch of ‘liberal Hollywood’ to boot. But South Park has often had right-friendly messages, in spite of its envelope pushing, so Republicans may find it easier to defend the show.
But on both sides, the censorship issue is important, even if for different reasons. South Park episode 201 mainly resurrected an old debate, on both the Muslim cartoon scandal and South Park’s first attempt to satirize it.
Those who slammed newspapers for not reprinting the original Mohammed cartoons, or for not defending those who drew them, can once again slam them for starting this whole trend. In addition, those who didn’t forgive Viacom and Comedy Central for censoring Mohammed years ago can attack them once again.
For whatever reason, South Park episode 201 is uniting unlikely foes in outrage. However, one figure who may not be joining them is one of South Park’s other arch enemies. Seth MacFarlane, whose “Family Guy” helped inspire the first South Park Cartoon Wars, told Larry King this week that he wondered if the joke ‘was worth it’ according to Big Journalism. Fellow guest Penn Jillette promptly accused him of cheapening “Matt and Trey’s morality, strength and courage.”
Even in issues like this, it seems South Park and Family Guy are harder to unite together than the left and right. But South Park episode 201 fury seems to trump other party line.
True Slant- “Say it loud: I’m with South Park”
Big Hollywood- “Parker and Stone: On the Front Lines Of a War the MSM Desperately Wants To Ignore”
The Stranger- “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!”