South Park just keeps punching society in the gut, but nobody seems to notice. Forget what you think you know about the show. On the surface, yes, plenty have found many things to complain about. But under the surface, where the true meaning resides, South Park has quietly championed and argued for all the right things. South Park repeatedly calls out those amongst us who are doing nothing but harming society. Whether its the Cash For Gold scam, attacking some of the less than righteous sides of all religions, the hypocritical world of the NFL in general especially regarding the Washington team name, and various other social wrongs.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone produce 21 minutes of TV every week. They do not preach, well maybe a little, but they do not pretend to have all the answers. Listen with your mind, not your ears, to what they are saying. They make observations and present a point of view that should make everyone think twice about how the world works. I can’t begin to dissect exactly what they do as it would take an entire book. Which, sorry for the cheap plug, look for that in the future, a book examining South Park and the impact it has. For example, the now infamous Crack Baby Basketball Association episode. Nobody wants to hear a college program like the University of Colorado at Boulder compared to a slave plantation. Keep in mind Trey and Matt are alums of CU. They used Colorado as an example, but they could have put any school in there. Their point was that any institution who profits off another person’s work is frankly comparable to slavery. Sure it is easy to get angry about that, and talk about the extremes. But really, just break it down on a meaning of the word sense. How else would you describe someone profiting off work done by another? Imagine if your boss told you that your pay checks would stop. They would simply pay your rent, give you a credit card that you can use for food that they would load with money as they see fit, and that you were not allowed to work somewhere else. But in return your boss would train you on various tasks. Does that still seem equal? Ultimately, both sides benefit, but one side is massively restricted. While the other is free to make as much as possible. Capitalism allows for everyone to make as much as they can. Hardly seems like the scenario is fair to both sides. Just because someone gets something in return, does not mean they get everything they deserve or are owed.
Now this is what I mean by what I’m saying about South Park. They are sparking very similar inner debates and outwardly debates amongst many viewers. Stimulating the act of thinking. The episode has caused many who have seen it to think about what is happening in college football from many angles. Isn’t that beautiful? Isn’t that what society should strive for, expect more of, and push for more of out of everyone?
Every night talking heads get on TV and tell America it is time for a “real discussion about *insert topic here*.” Typically that phrase is used regarding the issue of race in America. But when does that conversation happen? South Park is helping to at least encourage that discussion with their viewers. I for one am someone who has had many inner debates. I’ve thought long and hard about several topics facing our world as a result of the show. Isn’t that what a show should do? Make you laugh but still make you think? Not all need to, sometimes just laughing is enough. But when the vast majority of TV is just empty, having a show with a ton of depth is one heck of a bonus for us.
This is something that deserves a more structured and thought out write up, but just getting the idea that maybe more people should really take what South Park says more seriously is enough for now. They are actively having the discussion so many claim we need so badly. Time for others to join in.