Much has been made about South Park’s influential style of humor. In the words of the show’s creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, there are no sacred cows. Their motto is that “if you make fun of something, you have to make fun of everything”. This has been known as being “equal opportunity offenders” in the world of comedy. This is an approach that has been glorified and emulated by generations of comedians and comedy writers as the truest approach of using comedy to satirize society and speak truth to power in a way that’s subversive. Not to mention it allows many practitioners of this to make society proves that it truly stands for freedom of speech.
TW: mental illness, depression, anxiety, mass shootings
I am disgusted with the way our society views mental illness. Much is made about the stigmas attached to mental disorders in psychological circles, but it’s quite clear to me that our greater society has no interest in eliminating that stigma. The only time the subject of mental health is ever brought up in mainstream discourse is whenever there is a mass shooting. This is a huge problem for so many reasons.
WARNING: This blog post is NSFW.
In my last blog post, I talked extensively about South Park and it’s still on my mind this week. I recently heard news that the show has been renewed all the way to 2019. The longevity and ubiquity of this show is something to behold. Its longevity is only seconded by the other highly ubiquitous cartoon series The Simpsons. As influential as that show has been in its 25+ year run, I think that South Park has had a bigger influence over the landscape of comedy and adult animation. South Park is one of my favorite cartoons, but I think its influence has been mostly negative.
In light of the debate over the past week regarding the Confederate flag across the country, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the South Park episode “Chef Goes Nanners” from 15 years ago. “Chef Goes Nanners” is an obvious allusion to the long-running debate regarding the Confederate flag, with detractors of the flag (represented by Chef in the South Park universe) pointing out the white supremacist symbolism behind it and proponents of the flag (represented by Jimbo in South Park) arguing in favor of respecting historical roots.