The South Park Political PlatformApril 16th, 2012
Underneath all of the obscene language, bathroom humor, and shocking political incorrectness of the Comedy Central show’s over 200 episodes, South Park has a plethora of incisive social and political commentary. If anyone is using the medium of animation to bring a hard-hitting (yet usually remarkably balanced) and alternative (yet often very resonant) message to its audience, it’s the South Park boys, Matt Stone and Trey Parker (who rumor has it is a registered Libertarian Party member).
Taken together as a coherent whole, many of the show’s episodes weave a political and social tapestry of viewpoints and keen observations that represent a political platform many Americans might be shocked to discover they agree with very strongly!
Let’s take a look at just four (spoilers to follow):
Episode 808: Douche and Turd
When a group of PETA eco-terrorists disrupt a school pep rally at South Park Elementary, protesting the use of a cow as the school’s mascot, the school agrees to use a new mascot and will let the students vote on it. As a prank, one of the students decides to organize a massive write-in campaign to elect “Giant Douche” as the school’s new mascot. Another student prefers his own idea, a write-in campaign to elect “Turd Sandwich.” As a battle between the two factions ensues, one student, Stan, decides that there’s no real difference between voting for a “giant douche” and voting for a “turd sandwich.” His parents and friends become disappointed in him for not doing his patriotic duty and voting. Rapper Sean Combs, who actually founded a 2004 voter campaign called “Vote or Die,” comes to South Park to intimidate Stan into voting (this is hilarious and totally nsfw).
As a humorously hyperbolic reflection on a two-party political system that often nominates two choices that are equally reprehensible, Douche and Turd is a truly brilliant classic of American satire. No you don’t have to vote for the lesser of two evils when both choices are totally unacceptable, even if one is marginally better than the other, or simply appeals to an irrelevant personal taste a voter may have. By way of inference, American politics might be greatly improved if voters were more informed (unlike Sean Comb’s voters who are uninformed but vote because of some badly perverted notion of duty), participated more in the primary process to vet candidates before they’re nominated, and actually held politicians to high standards of principle, character, and consistency, rather than continuing to elect giant douches just because if they don’t, a turd sandwich could end up winning.
…and anything that makes fun of PETA is okay in my book.
Episode 1303: Margaritaville
In this Emmy Award-winning episode of South Park, the economy crashes all around and the citizens of South Park get desperate. Over dinner, Stan’s father, Randy, explains that the economy is crashing due to the irresponsible hyper-consumerism that has taken hold of our culture and the easy money policies that allow people to endlessly borrow money they don’t have and haven’t produced to buy needless luxuries and consumption goods they don’t need. Ironically, as Randy is explaining all of this in an indignant rant, he is making himself a margarita in an expensive Margaritaville brand margarita maker that he purchased on credit from a trendy retailer. Fed up, Stan spends the rest of the episode trying to return it to the people who really own it, leading him on a hunt through the food chain of securitized loans that eventually takes him to the U.S. Treasury where he discovers major economic decisions are made like this.
Yes, Randy is right in his tirade near the beginning of the episode. America’s economic problems are a result of most of its citizens’ inability to understand money and the reality that money is merely a unit of account, a medium of exchange, and a store of value for actual goods and services that have been produced. As a result, we’ve been mislead into thinking that we can endlessly consume things we don’t need using borrowed money created by accountants in the financial sector with a stroke of a pen and issued as credit to the unwitting masses. The solution is to educate the public about money and work to abolish the central banking policies that fuel the endless, wasteful consumption before reality hits back even harder than it did in the latter part of this last decade. As Ayn Rand said, “You can evade reality, but you cannot evade the consequences of evading reality.” Sooner or later, we’re going to have to use real money. (Our upcoming animated film, Silver Circle explores what happens when citizens try to do just that, but the government doesn’t let them.)
Episode 1403: Medicinal Fried Chicken
Are you ready for this? When the state of Colorado bans all fast food restaurants in low-income neighborhoods, the KFC in South Park closes down to the dismay of Eric Cartman who is literally addicted to KFC food. He seeks out illicit KFC food on the black market, gets involved in dealing the food himself, and eventually works his way up the criminal ladder to directly distribute illegal KFC from Colonel Sanders himself. After Cartman betrays Sanders, there’s a violent confrontation with a squad of gunmen who end up in a fire fight with the police at the illegal fast food operation’s headquarters. But there’s more: When Stan’s dad, Randy, learns that the KFC in South Park has been converted into a medical marijuana dispensary, he uses his microwave oven to give himself testicular cancer so that he can legally smoke marijuana. It’s all cool until his testicles (which have become so enlarged that he has to wheel them around in a wheelbarrow) get even more swollen and he is no longer able to fit through the marijuana dispensary’s doors. Since Colorado only allows purchases of marijuana inside dispensaries, Randy can no longer buy it. The dispensary owner suggests the state drop the whole “medicinal” farce and just make it legal to purchase anywhere and use without a medical card, but instead the state just makes marijuana illegal again while ending the ban on fast food to solve the violent fast food cartel problem.
This episode brilliantly and hysterically explores the economics of black markets, comically displaying the inevitable unintended consequences of prohibiting people from making non-violent choices about their own bodies, choices that people have always exhibited a strong demand for, which is why there is an ever-present willingness to engage in black market activity to continue making those choices even after the government attempts to ban them. Not only is using fast food to satirize the failures and perverse incentives of drug prohibition hilarious, it was very topical, because when this episode aired, Colorado was actually considering legislation to regulate the sale of fast food more heavily. Randy’s subplot was real icing on the cake (or should I say gravy on the mashed potatoes?)– a sound declaration that the whole medicinal marijuana thing is just silly. Why not legalize it for everybody and let individuals make their own decisions about their own bodies? When is the nanny state government finally going to stop trying to regulate and micromanage all of our personal choices from the drugs we use to the food we eat?
Episode 1306: Pinewood Derby
Determined to make sure his son, Stan, wins the annual pinewood derby contest, Randy steals a super-conducting magnet from the Large Hadron Collider and slips it into the back of Stan’s pinewood derby car to make it go faster. Stan wins first place when his car goes into warp speed and flies off the planet into interstellar space where aliens discover it and make first contact with planet Earth, welcoming it into the interstellar community. Soon after, another alien crash lands on earth, a wanted space criminal named Baby Fark McGee-zax, who demands that Stan and Randy build him a new warp drive. Suddenly, an Intergalactic Police ship lands, and McGee-zax cloaks his ship and hides, taking a hostage to ensure that no one tells the police he’s there. The alien police say that McGee-zax is wanted for stealing a large amount of space cash. After they leave, Stan stabs McGee-zax dead and the people of South Park find all the space cash in the wanted alien’s ship. Instead of contacting the alien police, they decide to keep the space cash for themselves, dividing it among various world leaders to bribe them into silence.
When the Space Police return, the world’s leaders– thrilled to have a fortune in space cash for their respective countries– help Randy lie to the aliens, who are suspicious because suddenly Mexico has built 32 hospitals and 7 water parks overnight and China has spent its space cash on 48 soccer stadiums. After they leave again, the world’s leaders learn that Finland is about to come clean to the space cops, and they wipe Finland out in a nuclear missile attack. When the Intergalactic Police pay a third visit to ask about the nuclear attack, South Park’s residents fake disbelief. McGee-zax then emerges from the officers’ ship, having only faked his death. He reveals that he is really Kevorn Zaxor, ambassador of new world testing, and that the whole chain of events was a test to see if Earth was worthy of joining the intergalactic community. Because humanity was dumb enough to believe that space cash was real money with actual value, the Earth is isolated from the rest of the Universe forever. What makes this episode unbelievably awesome is that the intergalactic community of alien races enlightened enough to travel through space consider sound monetary policy the most important criterion for judging a civilization’s maturity, stability, and safe induction into the intergalactic world. Any civilization dumb enough to believe “space cash” or any other made up fiat money has any actual, intrinsic value would be dumb enough to do… well, pretty much every evil, wasteful, short-sighted, and stupid thing human civilization has done over the last hundred years thanks to central banking.
And don’t forget to visit our official website to learn more about the Silver Circle Movie:http://SilverCircleMovie.com