Guest Post: “Why Are South Park Fans So Goddamn Defensive? A Bewildered Response To The Backlash From The Mindless Middle”
I’ve been really lazy and complacent recently, so much so that I didn’t even write this next blog entry. It comes to you from a friend of mine.
Why Are South Park Fans So Goddamn Defensive? A Bewildered Response To The Backlash From The Mindless Middle
By Joseph Wallace
Maybe they’ve just done such a fine job of insulating themselves in a bubble that defies the traditional left-versus-right dichotomy of most debates and don’t expect anyone will be able to lay sights on the middle ground for targeting, but FSM almighty, they will go to any length with those goalposts to avoid admitting that they and their idols Parker and Stone are preachy little cunts with a penchant for smarmy self-congratulation. Is it because they’re all slacker krons who have comforted their tiny minds with the quaint notion that a comedy show cannot possibly have an agenda and/or message? Because that is always their first knee-jerk response when the unthinkable happens and someone goes after Parker and Stone, previously thought to be immune to criticism due to their facetious equal-opportunity offender shtick; “ungh man chill out duder buddy man duuuude its just a cartoon peace chillax 420” ad nauseum.
I get it; it is in an animated format. How this makes it incapable of delivering smug centrist rhetoric that leans right is beyond me, and I can point to examples of why this isn’t so, which causes them to lurch to crutch #2: “man buddy duder dude bro they make fun of everyone but they dont mean it just bend over and give them a blank cheque bro dudey budder 420.” Of course, I am supposed to take them on their word that Parker & Stone wrote these conspicuously reproachful sermons to end episodes with having no message in mind, and it is some highly removed, abstract, sophisticated form of humor, replete with a figurative pulpit for Stan or Kyle or whomever in the form of a clearing in an angry mob and dramatic music.
Maybe I just don’t butt heads with enough Family Guy or Simpsons fanboys, or those of some other big comedy series, but it seems to me that wherever I go that involves South Park wankers, be it online or face-to-face, I continually find myself being handed this line about how Parker and Stone are these cunning satirical geniuses incapable of partiality or crude political rhetoric, and anything that appears as such is either unintentional because animated comedies shows can never make points, or back down the other end of the field to “ha ha you were duped by their sly comedic acumen”, to whatever – but no matter the approach, the goalposts always read “PARKER AND STONE DO NO WRONG, SHIT GOLD AND THEIR CRITICS DON’T GET THEM.”
I’ve always hated South Park. Suffice to say, this rant of Joe’s fits nicely with the title of this blog.
This post is my response to this article:
If the Ontario legislature decides to send the contract academics and graduate students back to work, it directly contradicts the interests the interests of those individuals while simultaneously siding with the oppressive university institution.
Here is the response I posted to the article on the CBC website:
As an undergraduate student at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, where the faculty has bargained away its ability to strike, I implore the contract academics and graduate students of York University to continue their strike, illegally if need be.
This is not just a matter of rational self interest, but a principal of respect for those important members of the academic community who are so often taken advantage of. Contract academics lack job security, research grants, and the prestige associated with tenured professors. Graduate students rely on the University institution for research time and space, and as such their expertise is exploited and viewed as less valuable. Their wages often barely provide them with enough money to make it through the month.
If it is decided by the Ontario legislature to force the contract academics and graduate students back to work, this action is in direct opposition to the respect and attention these valuable members of the academic community deserve. This strike is about more than just material desires; it is about the social principals that treat these individuals as unimportant to the functioning of the institution. The legal status of the strike is important to the extent that those on strike continue to be viewed with respect by the external citizens of Ontario. If the strike is pronounced illegal, this is a further sign of disrespect to the contract academics and graduate students of York University.
Futher, it is already evident that this strike is only being portrayed as harmful to the students. Aside from their monetary investments, if the students actually gave a flying fuck about the quality of their education, they would join the graduate students and contract academics in striking. At the University of Alberta, greater than 50% of all teaching is done by contract academics and graduate students who designate much their time to educating rather than research. Who in university hasn’t had a tenure-tracked professor who didn’t give a shit about teaching, and only cared about their research interests?
If undergraduate education is important at all to York University (which I’m willing to bet it isn’t: undergraduate education is only valuable to corporate universities for the tuition fees it gains), the strike would have been settled long ago. Contract academics and graduate students alike would have come out of the fray with their dignity and respect intact, as well as a coinciding increase in salary as a symbol of that respect.
CNN Political Ticker: Palin takes digs at Fey, Couric
In regards to the SNL skit where Tina Fey’s caricature of Palin said “I believe marriage is meant to be a sacred institution between two unwilling teenagers,” Palin expressed her “mama grizzly” rage at the attack on her daughter. Palin said:
Here again, cool, fine come attack me. But when you make a suggestion like that that attacks a kid, it kills me.
So which is it, Sarah? Is your daughter an autonomous adult, capable of dealing with her own problems, pregnancy, and family? Or was she merely an instrument of ideological reassertion: a means to a political end? Let’s not forget that it was Palin’s campaign publicity that blew-up the news of the teenage pregnancy and provided the context for Bristol Palin and self-proclaimed redneck Levi Johnston’s subsequent engagement.
In other news, world-renowned pornographer and distributer of smut throughout America, Larry Flynt of Hustler fame, requested a $5 Billion bailout from congress for the adult entertainment industry. I guess we’ll see if the political elites have just been bailing out their friends, or are actually protecting the interests of American citizens, who have consistently shown their support of the pornography industry. I think you know where I’m going with this.
It’s been quite some time since I’ve updated, partially because I wasn’t motivated by any particular news item, but particularly because I tend to write the most when I’m procrastinating on something else. Nothing has changed: the Canadian government avoids governing; the incoming American government only Change™s faces, and; Israel invades the Gaza Strip. Nothing out of the ordinary. I figure it’s about time I write something about the world arbitrarily entering 2009 (as if the ‘New Year’ brings something ‘new’ to the table).
The ‘States continues to throw money at its problems, and Barack Obama has announced that his approach won’t be any different. Apparently, his Clintonite cabinet didn’t get Alan Greenspan’s memo that trickle-down economics is seriously flawed. So the privileged middle-class will maintain its status-quo mediocracy while the millions of working poor, unemployed, and homeless people continue to suffer the full extent of the oncoming depression, and as predominantly white, male, boardroom executives take their bailout packages and proceed to go on expensive vacations with the funds.
In Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s prorogation of parliament set a stronger precedent for the complete avoidance of substantive politicking, further evidenced by his grossly self-interested financial update bill and the equally selfish response of the opposition parties to coalesce when their monetary interests were threatened (rather than all the other times where Harper had done something politically questionable). Temporarily alienating many of my politico friends, I took up a stance against both the coalition government and Harper’s continued rule. I fear that the emergence of a two-party system in Canada will further polarise the Canadian political discourse into a dichotomy. This possibility runs the risk of turning every issue into a binary rather than a multiplicity, in much the same sense as the American political discourse (eg. ‘liberals’ vs ‘conservatives’; ‘terrorists’ vs ‘freedom fighters’; ‘for us or against us’; ‘capitalism’ vs ‘communism’; ‘freedom’ vs ‘oppression’; ‘democracy’ vs ‘tyranny’; etc. ad infinitum).
Halfway around the world, Israel continues the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in Gaza by killing civilians and blaming terrorists. I recommend you read the article linked above and pay close attention to the rhetoric and hypocrisy employed by the Israeli politicians. By simultaneously treating Israeli citizens as in some way deserving a peaceful life while civilian Palestinians “will probably continue to get killed, unfortunately, because Hamas put them in the first lines of fire”, Israeli politicians subtly display their sentiments of superiority and self-importance that, to them, legitimise continued military action. Israel continues to treat Palestine like a petulant and dependent child, unable to maintain its own peace, autonomy, and chances at sovereignty.
To end on a slightly more positive note (depending on how you look at it), the new James Bond movie Quantum of Solace deals with quite an avant-garde and topical subject: looming potable water scarcity. Despite the poor reviews, I actually quite enjoyed the continuation of the plot from Casino Royale, though a refresher viewing of the latter is recommended to enhance the the experience of the sequel. Although the Bond franchise is a major corporate undertaking, the writers of the past two movies have been able to very subtly work in criticisms of the neoliberal mentality and the unquenchable capitalist desire for accumulation without ends, amongst the nonstop product placement Hollywood producers are so famous for. Kudos to Daniel Craig for having the integrity to insist that the character he plays have some continuity.
It would be folly for me not to take advantage of this current crisis in Canadian politics to endorse my own views on the catastrophe that has quickly become Canada’s government. My position is essentially this: we’re damned if we do, we’re damned if we don’t.
The partisan wrangling and vies for power evidenced by Harper’s policies and the potential coalition’s power grab speaks volumes of the lack of substantive political action taken by members of parliament. I will however, take this opportunity to dismiss a couple of unsubstantiated claims made against the looming coalition government:
1) The coalition is undemocratic and unelected.
Actually, the coalition is made up entirely of democratically elected representatives. Coalition governments are actually a suitable alternative to a minority government, and given the current (lacking!) Westminster system, the Governor General has it in her power to accept the coalition’s bid.
2) The coalition is just making a partisan power grab in an historical moment of economic crisis.
Perhaps this claim is not quite unsubstantiated, but I retort: the Conservative policy to dismantle the public funding of political parties favoured the Conservative party. That wasn’t a partisan power grab made in a moment of world economic crisis? This second argument is usually made by Conservative party hacks with absolutely no introspective ability.
This does not, however, by any means imply that I am supportive of the coalition’s bid for power. I am quite critical of the coalition for several reasons, primarily the ones Avnish at Straight Outta Edmonton has provided here. These are:
1) This is, regardless of reciprocity, still a partisan power grab.
2) A coalition with separatists? This does not bode well for external views of Quebec sovereignty.
3) This will only serve to further alienate the West from parties other than the Conservatives.
4) The recession is going to fuck shit up regardless of who is in power.
5) It’s better that Harper take the blame for economic collapse than all three alternative parties.
Anyway, this is an interesting period in Canadian politics, which the folks over at Alberta: Get Rich or Die Trying said most eloquently:
Still, it intrigues me that only a partisan power grab has motivated the overthrow of the Harper government. One would have thought that perhaps his totalitarian Shoe Store debacle a year ago, his absolute control over Conservative Party discipline, his cunning and conniving political strategies, or his constant contradictions would have incited some popular opposition. I suppose apathy is a wonderful thing when you desire to keep power.
Regardless of which political body is responsible for governing Canada over the next short while, whether Harper’s whipped Conservatives or the potentially unstable and segregating three-party coalition, I conclude: shame shit, different asshole.
It’s that time of the school year where I’m plagued by research and paper-writing, so if you’re a follower of this blog, apart from being surprised that you exist, I want to begin for apologizing for the lack of substantive updates over the last month.
On a slightly more positive note, my good friend Derek has written an exceptional entry on his website Doing Feminism about the importance of resisting the desire to remain silent. I feel that too often those of us who have potentially unpopular – but likewise potentially constructive – opinions keep those sentiments hidden to protect ourselves from conflict and physical aggression.
A very potent and visceral excerpt from his piece, A Note on Silence:
… I’ve become tired of engaging the ignorant and the uninformed. I’ve become tired of being the subject of other people’s anger. People don’t want to have their own shit shoved in their face for them to smell it, and they get angry when someone does it. That, I can understand. I don’t think it’s right for them to get upset about things they’ve said and done, but I can understand it…
I will most likely refrain from posting until after December 3rd, which is the last day I have a paper due – and coincidently, the last day of classes! Until that point, keep on challenging ignorance and systems of domination.