Friday, April 14, 2006

About "Cartoon Wars"

I just watched part 2 of the South Park send-up on the Danish Mohammed cartoons controversy, and I thought I'd share my thoughts on it with the rest of you.

First of all, the whole thing was obviously about the media's craven cover-your-ass stance when it came to whether or not to show the cartoons. But it also dealt with Comedy Central's handling of the "Trapped in the Closet" episode of the show, which the network refused to re-run, supposedly because of pressure from Tom Cruise.

Now, I'm just talking out of my ass here because I obviously don't know any of the people involved with the show, but I doubt that Trey Parker and Matt Stone ever actually intended to show an image of Mohammed in the episode. I think they actually wanted to kick Comedy Central over the way they handled "Trapped," and I think Comedy Central played along in order to generate controversy. Remember, there's no such thing as bad publicity, and look what happened. There's more here, here, and here, and that's just a quick sampling from bloggers I regularly read, but those are the natural reactions I'd expect from the right side of the blogosphere.

And just look at this Washington Post article (more free publicity!) on the whole brouhaha. Parker and Stone, who aren't usually shy about making their opinions known, don't comment. The closest they could come to a comment from them was the following:
Parker and Stone were angered when told by Comedy Central several weeks ago that they could not run an image of Muhammad, according to a person close to the show who didn't want to be identified because of the issue's sensitivity.
And getting back to the episode itself, Kyle tells a Fox executive, "Either it's all OK, or none of it is. Do the right thing." And that executive from another network does the right thing, in spite of being threatened directly with violence. The episode then almost immediately cuts to...Comedy Central's supposed censorship of the image of Mohammed. Think there might be a message there?

It will be interesting to see what develops in the near future. Will Stone and Parker authorize people online to stream an "uncensored" version of the episode? Will they release a statement? Will Comedy Central refuse to show repeats of this episode, which previously had Mohammed as a character? Only time will tell.

I really think this was about sticking it to Comedy Central (and, by extension, the media in general) and they just decided to play along because of the attention they knew it would get, but I'm just a simple country lawyer.

(Okay, I lied about that last part.)

1 comment:

andy said...

i forgot about super best friends. yeah, that does weaken this position.
i also liked how in this ep they kept talking about how something was funny until it got all preachy.(kinda like south park.)