Posted tagged ‘censorship’

South Park vs. Militant Islamic Radicals & One Angry Red-Headed Kid

April 23, 2010

I spy with my little eye something that is BLASPHEMOUS!

This week saw the airing of “South Park’s” 201st episode, the aptly named “201.” In it, celebrities and Gingers collided over possession of the Muslim prophet Mohammad who both sides believed solely possessed the ability to “never get made fun of ever.” It was a poignant episode that lived up to the hype of the series, now in its fourteenth season, reaching such a momentous milestone. It was not without controversy as, not unlike the last time creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker (Peace be Upon Them) flirted with broadcasting an image of Mohammad (seen as the highest level of blasphemy in certain Islamic circles, punishable by death), there was an overlying fear at the show’s home Comedy Central that death threats would be made. Little did they know that they would incur the wrath of not only Militant Muslims but a Rigorously Rowdy Redhead.

The Islam-centric threats came from the New York-based website RevolutionIslam. I’d like to quote their official statement that mentioned previous artists murdered for depicting Mohammad in the past and specific directions as to how to get to the creators’ (Peace Be Upon Them) homes, but I can’t as their website has since been hacked in the absolute most hilarious of ways. Minor as it may seem, the threat was enough to intimidate the network itself, resulting in every instance of the word “Mohammad” used in the episode being bleeped out, and a large black censor-bar completely obscuring the prophet for the entire half-hour duration. The network went one step further as to pull the episode out of its scheduled rerun slots, as well as made it, as well as every other episode that so much as mentioned the prophet (!), unavailable to stream on both Netflix and the show’s website.

One of these things is not like the others...

Is Comedy Central overreacting? Perhaps.* Without getting into “we can’t let the terrorists win” rhetoric, I have to echo the sentiment of the show’s original “Cartoon Wars” two-parter from 2006 where, addressing the Danish Mohammad cartoon fiasco, declared that in the eyes of parody “either everything’s OK or nothing is OK.” It’s a slippery slope and, seeing as every other religion has been blasphemed to some degree, sets a dangerous precedent. Stone and Parker (Peace Be Upon Them) responded yesterday morning with this message on the show’s official website:

In the 14 years we’ve been doing South Park we have never done a show that we couldn’t stand behind. We delivered our version of the show to Comedy Central and they made a determination to alter the episode. It wasn’t some meta-joke on our part. Comedy Central added the bleeps. In fact, Kyle’s customary final speech was about intimidation and fear. It didn’t mention Muhammad at all but it got bleeped too. We’ll be back next week with a whole new show about something completely different and we’ll see what happens to it.

Also angry with Stone and Parker (Peace Be Upon Them) is a red-headed Youtube “personality” named CopperCab. You’ve probably seen his original outrage video from a few months ago venting his frustration with the show’s treatment of “Gingers,” people born with red hair, pale skin and freckles:

Which became such a phenomenon that the boys (Peace Be Upon Them) aired a clip of Cartman recreating the video as a commercial for the show’s season premiere:

Of course Coppercab saw the clip and, channeling the spirit of Mick Foley, came back with this:

Personally, I find the idea of one of the biggest franchises in cable-television history targeting an obscure 18-year-old boy for something he said on the internet to be hilarious. Coppercab seems non-plused by the entire thing and, following the implicating of Gingers in the last episode, came back with this:

Folks, if you’re like me, you can’t stop watching those opening three seconds. Incredible. I’d make the kid one of my favorite nutzoids, but I’m not convinced his sheer insanity has peaked yet. Could the Gingers and Radical Islam perhaps be in cahoots? Is this a multi-national conspiracy to get “South Park” removed once and for all? How will Matt and Trey (Peace Be Upon Them) respond on Wednesday? Now that we finally know Cartman’s father, it looks like every truth will be coming forward soon.

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

UPDATE CUPCAKE: As of 3:15 PM ET on April 23rd 2010 AD, London has REFUSED to air episode “201.” More on this as it develops.

*And by “perhaps” I mean “yes.”

Great Moments in “Edited for Television”

April 16, 2010

STOP SWEARING AT ME!

You know what’s truly wonderful about Television? Everything. No seriously, from the good things, to the great things, to even the bad things – it’s all awesome. The past decade has seen the medium flourish with premium channels taking cutting edge comedy and the story-archs of episodic drama to new heights. As memorable and culturally enriching as such programming is, the ever increasing demand for content has made countless hours of television an oozing sore awaiting treatment. TV has often cast its dolphin mutilating tuna net into other mediums like a master-of-ceremonies needing to fill time fishes for semi-relevant anecdotes. More often than not, networks will air movies to fill the gap. Seeing as it’s an upstanding respectable arena, these works of art will often be made more palatable for all audiences’ benefit. By removing all the foul language and violence, the films are neutered made better. Here’s some of the worst them .

WARNING: The language in these clips range from explicit to fluffy.

The Big Lebowski (1998)
This was the first real absurd overdubbing I recall seeing. If you’ve ever walked up and down Hennipan Avenue or strolled through Greenwich Village, you’d recognize that every line of this film without question has been memorized by every human being ever born. Surely broadcast television doesn’t need to protect us from ourselves? Well, maybe a little:

Scarface (1980)
As a rap artist, I am legally required to not only like this movie, but reference it ad-nauseum. The way Al Pachino’s character goes from nothing to amassing a fortune* has struck a chord with most of Hip-Hop’s elite including No Limit Soldier Silkk the Shocker who, in an edition of MTV Cribs, showcased his “Scarface Room” which had no less than NINE televisions playing the movie on a loop at different times so if he ever wanted to see a certain part, it would always be coming up.** One could only imagine the horror that Mr. The Shocker would have if he ever sat down and saw his spiritual guide modified to…well…this:

Snakes on a Plane (2006)
Let’s be honest, this entire movie exists for this scene. A joke of a movie that wound up proving how powerful and unimportant the internet truly was, this exhibition of everything wonderfully wrong with Hollywood cared so much about delivering to its loyal fans who perpetuated its phenomenon by reshooting an entire scene to include something people jokingly knew would never be in any movie. Well, when television plays the internet’s movie, the cosmos align to bequeath a series of trump cards turning the simple concept of movie dialogue into complete and utter unintelligible gibberish. Avert your eyes, children:

OK, what was that? Look, we’ve all seen this film so we know SPOILER ALERT that at NO POINT is the concept of snakes, or anyone, fighting monkeys mentioned. The more I think about it, the more it confounds me. Do monkey fighters exist? I’m all too-familiar with monkey knife fighting***, but the participants in those are recognized by the Nevada State Athletic Commission as “fighting monkeys,” NOT “monkey fighters.” To add to that, what possible flight could last Monday-to-Friday? “But Chaz,” you say, and I say “What?” and you say “maybe he means flights that wouldn’t be on the weekends?” No, the term for those is “Weekday Flights.” How dare you.

Die Hard 2 (1990)
Sometimes the dubbing gets so bizarre it just adds numerous entire dimentions to the movie that shouldn’t exist. There are no words:

Pallies (1996)
Probably the cornerstone of unfortunate editing. Or masterpiece. Depending on context:

Alright, I have to go swear now.

Until next time…let’s agree to agree!

*Then losing everything, including his life, at the end of the movie proving a wholly hedonistic material lifestyle is unfulfilling and frivolous, but don’t ever tell a rapper that as most of us never made it to the end since it’s really long and once we see he has a huge gun OF COURSE he’s going to be OK so let’s just rewind it and quote along with it, K?

**NOT A JOKE!

***My Church group holds one in the basement of Immaculate Conception every third Sunday. It’s also tortilla night. You should come.