Let me be the first to say that I don’t agree with 100% of Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s political ideology. They tend to identify themselves as libertarians but I suspect they have a more nuanced view than their libertarian label gives them credit for. Now i’m not saying that Trey and Matt are some kind of modern day Socrates or Aquinas or are even similar to Chomsky and Zizek. I’m not talking about the “professional” philosophers but rather the philosophy of the individual. Every person is a philosopher in that they create the lives in which they choose to live, following their own guidelines/morals. In that sense both Matt Stone and Trey Parker have shown us their philosophy on the world at large and its centered on the need to be irreverent. For nearly 20 years we have seen South Park cross boundaries again and again; touching on almost every subject imaginable while refusing to take a side on any issue. They have tacitly been a driving cause of social and cultural change, though evidence of this is hard to come by.
When looking beneath the surface there is a surprising amount of depth in each episode. One example being “Le Petit Tourette” which had the Tourette Syndrome Association up in arms about them making fun of a serious medical condition. After some press releases and once the episode was done airing the TSA issued another press release saying...
“They conceded that "the episode was surprisingly well-researched. The highly exaggerated emphasis on coprolalia notwithstanding, for the attentive viewer, there was a surprising amount of accurate information conveyed", adding that several elements of the episode "served as a clever device" for providing accurate facts to the public.
I would argue that almost every episode of South Park has a moral or some point they are trying to get across; though they don’t offer any solutions to the issues they discuss. Nonetheless South Park tends to be a driver in the current social/cultural conversations we have been dealing with; enough so that they were even awarded a Peabody award. The best part is that Matt Stone and Trey Parker have a purely American influence to their show that is rooted in their upbringing, to which I believe is the cause of their irreverence. Though it’s not like any person’s character can be discerned from a mere moment in their life that has been taken out of context...
Which brings me to the main point of this diary, the need to be irreverent. The partisan divide in the country has more or less reached a tipping point and the 2016 election only exacerbated the problem. While it’s nice to see more engaging town halls like those done recently by Van Jones and Chris Hayes it is too little too late. The aftermath of the election has left a lot of people bitter, frustrated and scared, hell even the whole world was shaken to a certain degree. The last thing we need to be doing right now are knee-jerk reactions to what Trump and the Republicans are proposing. Sadly it seems that Markos has fallen into some sort of rage-induced cathartic mental trap as is evident by the majority of his diaries since November 9th. Which is why i’m here to say it’s okay to be wrong. In fact one can only grow and develop by learning from past mistakes. The entire idea that Clinton’s image was hurt during her primary run against Sanders was the epitome of what went wrong for the Democrats this time around. Democrats were treating Hillary as a sacred cow, one that couldn’t be criticized or even challenged. Though it wasn’t just Hillary, Democrats also defended Obama to a fault and ironically ran away from him during times he needed the most help (i.e. once ACA passed). Either way the stubbornness to admit fault within a candidate was on full display this time around and especially on this site. It was especially noticeable with Clinton as everything she did was so damned scripted and calculated that it made her seem inauthentic and any concern raised about it was met with cries of sexism or bigotry. That being said Sanders had the same thing happen to him. One of the most non-traditional campaigns we have seen was shockingly run in a very mundane and traditional way (Thanks Tad and Jeff!) to the point were Bernie was figuratively turned into a broken record. I’m guessing if you took Bernie’s first rally transcript and compared it to his last they would be almost fucking identical($27 dollars!). While he had many great ideas they became stagnant in that no one would try and criticize them from the left, as was being done to Hillary by Bernie. Let’s set this straight, criticism is good. We need it to know when we are fucking up and we need it to know how to better address any given situation regardless of where it comes from. It’s just too damn easy to always dismiss damning or hateful information but it must always be taken seriously or we take the risk of missing something potentially crucial. Criticism is needed at every level from the individual to the organization to the country. If you have no one around to point out the bullshit you are doing or even dare to question you then we will become as narcissistic and close-minded as someone like Trump. Be Irreverent! Now more than ever do we need to live in an age were everyone is willing to give and take ground instead of just drawing political lines and fighting till the bitter end. So let me be one to follow my own example by happily shitting on 2 of our favorite talking points at the moment: The popular vote and the Electoral College.
- The Popular Vote. No doubt everyone here (including myself) will be regurgitating the fact that Clinton had indeed won the popular vote over Trump denying any chance of a mandate for him moving forward. Clinton received a whooping 66 million votes while Trump received a less impressive 63 million votes. Clearly the majority of Americans are behind Clinton and it’s the Democrats who truly have the mandate! While the initial fact is true that Clinton did receive more votes than Trump it’s a bullshit argument to claim Clinton had any such victory. What kind of fucked up cognitive dissonance do we have on this site when we can’t even be honest about who won the popular vote. Along with Trump’s 63 million and Clinton’s 66 million there were an astonishing amount of voters who didn’t vote at all, about 71 million in total. So much for the mandate argument but go figures.
- The Electoral College. Repeal the electoral college right? This is slightly a more controversial matter given the historical context behind the college but in my opinion I don’t see a difference between the Electoral college and the delegates of the primary system. In the primary you’re not voting for your candidate but for the delegate who would vote for your candidate in the county convention to the state convention to the National convention. Its beyond convoluted and redundant yet the same is true for the general election. You are not voting for your candidate but for the elector to vote for your candidate. Very simply put the electoral college is just a rubber stamp of approval on the election. You can’t honestly argue for a repeal of the electoral college without demanding the repeal of the delegate system since you would be a hypocrite. Lastly, even though it didn’t save them the electoral college gave a life-line of hope to our fellow humans who are suffering heavily in the rust-belt states.
Here’s a look at season 19 of south park which is mainly a critic of neoliberalism.
Here is an over-arching analysis of South Park’s views on religion or lack thereof. Surprisingly South Park tends to be more open minded when it comes to spirituality and religion; more so than I am (an atheist). It also ties in with their overall ethos and you can view both videos as a continuation since this diary isn’t about neoliberalism or religion specifically.
Now having seen all the aforementioned videos I hope you all are starting to get what it is i’m trying to say. As humans it is our responsibility to ensure proper care and treatment towards each other in order to achieve a peaceful society. It is time we started to think outside the box when it comes to addressing the problems of our fellow humans. Lately we have been seeing debates about where to go and what to do about our election losses and whether Democrats should try and seek out new paths (away from identity politics per say) or double down on our efforts to GotV since we had the numbers to win in 2016(via popular vote). Once again though, the debate presents a false choice between two paths that should be intertwined. There is currently a small but growing support of such a policy that addresses the economic needs of the everyday citizen without jeopardizing those who are most at risk; i’m talking about a Universal Basic Income. Now its by no means a silver bullet to the myriad of problems in the world but it will be a solid foundation for all to stand on. I’ll devote my next diary to explore nuance that comes along with such a proposal but now more than ever is a time to push for such a drastic change. The age of Trump will soon be upon us and a lot of damage will be done before he leaves office. Who knows which agency will be slashed or reduced to irrelevance with what appears to be a presidential cabinet drawn up from the most nightmare political scenario imaginable; it truly is the darkest time line. Yet a silver lining still exists. Yes the damage the Trump administration will unleash will undoubtedly have serious consequences and people will end up dying due to government negligence. Given the Democrats don’t drop the ball and are able to rally behind a populist message they should be able to grab some seats in 2018 and ready themselves for the big fight in 2020. We would possibly have the mandate and ability to pass effective legislation that extends far beyond what we have now. I’m talking about true universal health care, extending public education to college, an equal rights amendment, another voting rights act, actual legislation pertaining to climate change, a softer tone towards foreign policy, prison reform, etc. But this is all a just a fantasy if we all don’t get more involved in our local and state governments to start advocating and implementing these policies on a smaller scale. Can you imagine what would happen if a state like California decided to experiment with a UBI? It would be a complete paradigm shift.
To wind this down lets end by looking at a few more clips that might bring a smile to your face. In one of their latest episodes, Matt and Trey took a swipe at Donald Trump over his general inexperience and neglectfulness. Buried in the crude language is a critique about what Trump has been doing or more accurately who he’s been in contact with. They show how Trump would rather receive advice from his friends and family instead of trusted experts, advisers and foreign leaders; not to mention the fact that it seems his decisions are being manipulated by the people closest to him.
Satire will be a saving grace during these next 4 years so hopefully we will get to see were the boundary lies under the Trump administration. “That’s My Bush” was supposed to be initially named “Everybody Loves Al” since Matt and Trey were fairly certain Al Gore was going to win the 2000 election. Here’s hoping that Matt Stone and Trey Parker will whip up something fresh for Trump.
Even though I intended this to be more of a fun diary meant to encourage a rather intense debate, I would like to apologize if I offended anyone by my content. Shout outs to Wisecrack and kaptainkristian for doing the analysis of the show and shame on me for merely copy pasting. Thanks to all who took their time to read and watch all the above content and listen to my partial rambling. Everyone have a great winter break/vacation should you be fortunate enough to have one; a Merry Fucking Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!