I just started watching ‘South Park’ in earnest about 8 months ago. Prior to that I’d seen a few episodes in the first season, most of which struck me as more juvenile than truly funny. (Cherokee Hair Tampons, Mr. Hanky, etc.) I got started up again by watching the episode which nailed the WGA on the futility and nonsense of the Writers’ Strike. During that strike it was very difficult to find people who held my opinion and I enjoyed seeing an actual TV show state the same thing I was saying. Plus, due to the strike there wasn’t anything else on.
I say all of this to make clear that while I really now love about 72% of the episodes of South Park I’ve seen, I’m not one of those who can claim to have been a die-hard fan for years. I have, though, now seen most of the episodes as well as the movie. And it seems to me that they are about saying what we’re all not supposed to say. At least half their humour is from ‘I can’t believe they are actually saying that!’ sort of reactions.
So when last week’s episode criticised President Obama and had a useless ‘superhero’ called ‘The Coon’ I immediately figured it was a satirical commentary on the Obama presidency. ‘The Coon’ talked about how bad things are and how he was there to save the city. The only real things he did were marketing himself and trumping up a non-issue into a ‘crime’ so he could theatrically stop it. Seems about the same as what I’ve seen so far from the Can’t Fail President.
Yes, the usage of the term ‘Coon’ is racist. Very racist. But if you’re surprised to see it on South Park, then you’ve not watched a lot of South Park. Either that or you don’t mind it when they make fun of Jews, Christians, Homosexuals, Mormons, Scientologists, the WGA, Canadians, Oprah, Potheads, Disney, The Jonas Brothers, Illegal Aliens, The Chinese, The Mexicans, The Handicapped…and about a dozen other things I’ve missed.
Frankly, I’m not thrilled that they used the word, because I agreed with what they seemed to be saying. The fact that they muddied their statement with provocative language bugs me only because it gives people an excuse to write off the truth of what they’re saying.
I know that people need hope to survive. I know that the economy is very bad in parts of the country. But I think a lot of people don’t realise that Obama is little more than a triumph of marketing at this point. There’s a word I can’t think of right now that basically means that someone is a useless figurehead in whom people misplace their hope. ‘Idol’ isn’t quite right.
I lived through eight years of the Bush Presidency. I voted for him twice and ended up pretty disappointed in a lot of the things he did. But what was harder for me than watching him spend money that didn’t exist on things that didn’t require government intervention was watching the relentless name-calling and vitriolic assaults on his actions and character. I swore that in the very likely event we would get a President ideologically opposite me that I wouldn’t become that. I wouldn’t constantly attack his character. That being said, he’s not doing much other than posturing, massaging vain hopes and robbing the future blind.