Until this year I’d seen about five or six South Park episodes. Then someone said I had to see season 19. It’s an amazing, head-on exploration of political correctness. Not every episode is funny but they do all raise good points about our increasingly “PC” society.
It continues to amaze me how the mainstream news continues to fail at providing intelligent commentary. Instead, the best commentary is found in comedy like John Stewart, Bill Burr, and South Park.
Poor is Trendy
Season 19 starts with the town wanting to be seen as modern. They arrive at the logical solution that if they get a Whole Foods the nation will view South Park as sophisticated. But to get a Whole Foods the company must believe the town fits Whole Foods’ brand. So the people of South Park gentrify the shitty part of town, AKA Kenny’s house:
The town decides not to tear down Kenny’s shitty house because it will lend authenticity and character to the new, trendy area.
A Dollar to End World Hunger
They ultimately get the Whole Foods. However, that brings new moral questions. Randy loves getting lunch at Whole Foods everyday but hates being pressured by the cashier to donate to hungry kids. The show’s creators hammer it home when the cashier rings Randy up.
The cashier asks if Randy wants to donate to hungry kids, when he says no the cashier asks him to confirm by turning to the screen and pressing on belly of a little boy. Then, to get his change he has to use their new change dispenser where he pulls a sandwich from a little girl’s mouth.
Season 19 shows that some PC causes are just people being eager to be scene as forward-thinking, but that others are valid.
Just The Positive Comments Please
When Cartman posts a picture of himself (in his underwear) on the Internet he gets bashed for being fat. The new politically correct principal is outraged that Cartman is being made fun of on the Internet. He asks Cartman’s friend Kyle to help by manually filtering Cartman’s Twitter comments:
Bullying in school is a different subject because kids have to go to school, but Internet websites are voluntary. If a kid is being made fun of on a site, he doesn’t have to go to it. It’s a digital place that can be easily avoided. This hit home for me.
I never used the site Reddit.com but it was one of the Internet’s first online forums. Reddit is well known for angry dialogues and rants because it’s a place for debating opinions. Ellen Pao became CEO for eight months and banned harassment. Reddit users responded by petitioning for her to resign, which she did, after the petition gained hundreds of thousands of signatures.
30 Minutes of Real Commentary
That first episode, called “Safe Space”, is brilliant. Randy refuses to donate $1 to hungry kids and Cartman cries because he’s fat, posted a picture of himself (in his underwear) on the Internet, and people made fun of him. Of course, calling someone fat in America can be a huge deal. Advocates try to evoke sympathy for fat people. The following is closer to how I feel:
Truth in Comedy
What’s always most disappointing about the PC movement is that it’s not consistent. It erodes the character of anyone who buys into it because while billions of people suffer, PC-types bitch about minor shit. They remove the social pressures for fat people to diet. They shame critics and insulate people from the real world where to have a voice means to risk criticism.
The truth is, PC advocates are great at what they do. It’s a different kind of shaming and bullying. You can get fired by an HR department for calling someone fat. No one is willing to risk their paycheck, so PC people get a voice and opposers don’t.
It blows me away that an hour of news can still have practically nothing original or insightful to say but a South Park episode can explore the most current, debated moral issues in clear allegory in less than 30 minutes.