Why is South Park trending? What did I miss?

Psittacus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,061
She's right. South Park is part of the rich tapestry of chan-style faux-nihilism that formed at the time and continues to plague political rhetoric to this day.
 

Silex

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,016
I think these follow-up tweets should be equally noted:
To be clear, this is isn't to absolve Matt & Trey either. I think often times when certain pieces of media get criticized for their cultural impact people get the impression that those pieces are sole party of blame when in reality the audience that became impacted shares the responsibility of not being able to properly parse the show, as well.
 
Feb 8, 2019
984
I don't think this take is particularly strange. Obviously South Park didn't CAUSE anything but it's an insanely popular piece of American media over the last 2 decades, of course it has influenced culture. What do people even think popular culture is?
 

Birdie

Member
Oct 26, 2017
7,649
"You think women are emotional try telling a man you don't like South Park" or so it goes.
 

lint2015

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,682
I grew up on South Park and I turned out fine ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I'm pretty left-wing.

I don't know if these impressionable young kids who became cynical fucks took how the show dealt with issues seriously or what. And is that the creators' fault? I don't know.

All I know is I understood it was a satire and it did me no harm. I also haven't watched it for yonks.
 

Dark Knight

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,788
Shit people are shit people. I've watched the show since the first or second season and I turned out a progressive, socially aware person. As did most SP viewers who are Era members now.

I hate these takes that blame satire, badly written or not, for forming apathetic, garbage people. Those people were going to be shit regardless of what they consumed.

If your criticism, however, is that South Park got an issue wrong(like climate change, or their recent awful trans episode) then that's totally valid. Even then I think it's on the viewer to get more informed and not allow South Park to be a source of education, but it's no secret that the show has missed the mark on many occasions(and they shouldn't be given a pass in those instances, of course).
 

Doran

Member
Jun 9, 2018
839
Rock music and DND turned an entire generation in Satanists and now, 24 years after it first aired South Park is responsible for the Alt Right. Every generation turns into their parents, they just find different ammo.
 

Z-Beat

Member
Oct 25, 2017
18,905
Also this:

They apologized for the Manbearpig episode

edit: damn beaten by seconds lol
That happened months ago though. It was a funny episode though, people finding out Manbearpig was real but resigned that there was nothing to be done and everyone basically having to beg Al Gore to help them now, and that Manbearpig was the fault of old people who didn't care about future generations because they were having too much fun.
 

L Thammy

Spacenoid
Member
Oct 25, 2017
17,395
Rock music and DND turned an entire generation in Satanists and now, 24 years after it first aired South Park is responsible for the Alt Right. Every generation turns into their parents, they just find different ammo.
South Park is 23 years old. It isn't some hot new media that out of touch old fogies are whining about; it's criticism from people who have grown up around South Park.
 

Captain of Outer Space

Come Sale Away With Me
Member
Oct 28, 2017
4,910
i notice when I do this now on Twitter all the tweets are about how the thing is trending and no one knows why
I've noticed this for sports when a game that's ongoing or just finished is trending and nothing near the top of the list has the score or relevant info to the event. Just official accounts with random tweets or people complaining/boasting about the game. It's such a poor way of getting info.
 

IanGrag

Member
May 1, 2018
470
The fact that someone called South Park left-wing leaves me hollering.
I’d argue that with a few exceptions, South Park has been very left winger for the past three or four years. They had a two part episode criticizing Amazon and frankly praising socialism and unionization. Lots of anti-Trump stuff. Apologizing for ManBearPig. Criticizing the lack of caring about gun violence in the US. The list goes on.

I agree that South Park has spawned some annoying “radical centrists”. The same way Rick and Morty has spawned nihilists. Ultimately, we have to hope that people are able to consume entertainment, especially cartoons, and understand that their views should not be gospel.

I started watching South Park when I was ten. I’m super progressive. I think people overestimate the effect that entertainment media has on people.
 

Pwnz

Member
Oct 28, 2017
7,913
Places
South Park is a mixed bag. They've been bad on climate change but admitted they were wrong. They were very bad eith transsexual rights, but the highest cultural damage? Nah. It's a messy libertarian leaning satire show not meant to be taken seriously. Compared to Fox News which attempts to be taken seriously and has created a cult that is undermining human rights and American democracy.
 

captainpat

Member
Nov 15, 2017
707
Rock music and DND turned an entire generation in Satanists and now, 24 years after it first aired South Park is responsible for the Alt Right. Every generation turns into their parents, they just find different ammo.
It never ends. People love overstating how influential something is so their hate of it seems more justified. Does anyone even how any concrete examples of the effects of South Park?
 

NHarmonic.

The Fallen
Oct 27, 2017
6,685
Centrist?
South Park is one of the most left leaning TV show in the 21st century and this coming from someone who has voted multiple times for the most left wing party in a social democracy.
Made by 2 libertarian white cis hetero males.

It’s not a beacon of the left mindset. They are unable to handle a lot of issues without both-siding stuff. Episodes like board girls are terrible, and only exist to give fake arguments to the right against trans people, for example.
 

Pwnz

Member
Oct 28, 2017
7,913
Places
If had a nickel for how many times I've heard people cite that stupid giant douche vs. turd sandwich episode...
That's a product of it's time. Back then Bush has really high approval ratings and there was righteous anger about 911 and it wasn't clear to a lot of people that the bush admin was making shit up. Lately the message has been that Trump is a disaster trolling North Korea to war on twitter and is a horrible human being that has concentration camps. It's not at all boths sides. They picked not Trump.
 

Dark Knight

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,788
this. it is part of a larger whole, but at the same time this is essentially a "nature vs nurture" argument.

let's not forget people's parents also affect how they behave...
Way, way more than any media. You bet your ass your average mass shooter grew up with a family that didn't care enough in an area drowning in firearms even though some would try to sell you that video games were the reason.
 

Doober

The Fallen
Jun 10, 2018
3,918
Some folks on the left have really taken to those old conservative arguments about how this or that piece of media ruined society.
 

Antrax

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,937
Isn't that every episode? South park is a centrist's dream that loudly screeches about how caring about things is bad and makes fun of anything not part of the status quo.
This isn't actually the core ideology of the show. It's "don't annoy Trey Parker."

They don't actually have beliefs. They seemed liberal when they lived in a small town, and they switched once they hit Hollywood and the people telling them to do stuff became liberals instead of conservatives. It's never been a smart show. The message was always "stop bugging me."
 

Dark Knight

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,788
This isn't actually the core ideology of the show. It's "don't annoy Trey Parker."

They don't actually have beliefs. They seemed liberal when they lived in a small town, and they switched once they hit Hollywood and the people telling them to do stuff became liberals instead of conservatives. It's never been a smart show. The message was always "stop bugging me."
While this is true, you'll quite often get episodes where awful things in society annoys Trey and Matt because they are socially pretty liberal. Things like gay conversion camps and not allowing gays in boy scouts and such.
 

L Thammy

Spacenoid
Member
Oct 25, 2017
17,395
Not until you start blaming the cartoon.
Alright, I'm getting kind of bored with you already, so I'm just going to ramble a bit and leave this here.



The reason why edgy shows are celebrated is because they can fall off the edge. It's about risk. We celebrate the show for taking the risk to handle sensitive subjects and the wit to do so while avoiding the potential issues that make that topic a sensitive one.

When you reach the point that you have a nerd squad willing to defend your show for whatever shit it pulls - like, maybe someone suggests that a show that has been praised for its progressive views shouldn't have characters who are centrally stereotypes, or dedicate episodes to mocking minority groups, or whatnot - then your show is not edgy. It's not part of the establishment. It's free to abuse whoever it likes without consequence.

At that point, it shouldn't be celebrated for taking risks, because there isn't any. But there's a big push for that celebration to still happen, because that's the most comfortable state for a comedian to be in; to get all the rewards of being a risk-taker without having to actually spend the energy in mitigating that risk.

There's that fundamental absurdity of you comparing South Park after a quarter of a century of critical praise to Dungeons & Dragons and rock music in their infancy.



Long-running shows like South Park or The Simpsons have fandoms for whom the show is ingrained on their identity. Criticism of the show, no matter how honest or valid, is criticism of the fan's own fragile ego. They become a force that removes all the pressure to improve or do things well because anyone who attacks their beloved show.

There's you demonizing people for the sin of not liking a show that you like.

And it's especially frustrating for members of the groups who supposedly progressive shows champion, because as soon as they find themselves having to acknowledge the fault of showmakers that don't care about them, the fandom that was happy to bask in the praises of being part of the counterculture whirl around and try to repress any dissent against the establishment.

It's the old brigade of people who love to say they're against racism but scream "this is how Trump won" the moment that they're asked to stop being racist themselves. Because ultimately, they're really just self-serving assholes who had no actual loyalty or concern for anyone for themselves.
 
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Oct 26, 2017
2,150
Yeah. South Park explains Donald Trump and his brigade of middle-aged and elderly hate mongers who've been spewing their brand of hatred for what feels like eons.

/sarcasm

None of those creatures were raised on South Park that's for sure. Dana Schwartz' take seems like a variant of blaming video games for corrupting the youth of today.
 

Gentlemen

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,568
This forum thread is now just a continuation of the twitter thread, bunch a woodwork hot takes arguing against something Dana didn't say while not demonstrating an ounce of understanding of what she actually said.

Which is perhaps about the best we can expect from people taught to think by South Park.
 

Sampson

Member
Nov 17, 2017
1,105
There's nothing inherently wrong with political apathy or cynicism.

Anyone who makes that argument very likely holds a belief that if only those people weren't so cynical, they would join my side!

When in fact the opposite may be true.

Trump supporters, neo- (and historical) nazis, suicide bombers -- these people are very highly motivated and engaged. It would be great for everyone if they were a bit more cynical and detached. Have you seen the size of some of those Trump rallies?

Carlin had an old joke, "you show me someone sitting at home, stroking his penis, and I'll show you someone who isn't causing any trouble"
 
Oct 26, 2017
2,150
This forum thread is now just a continuation of the twitter thread, bunch a woodwork hot takes arguing against something Dana didn't say while not demonstrating an ounce of understanding of what she actually said.

Which is perhaps about the best we can expect from people taught to think by South Park.
I think her take is a bad one that feels like an extension of the blame video games mentality. South Park didn't raise the generations of people who have enabled Donald Trump's rise to wanna-be fascist power. Blaming it feels like a waste of time and diverts attention away from the root causes of much of the world's current social ills.
 

Volimar

volunteer forum janitor
Member
Oct 25, 2017
13,285
I think it's okay to acknowledge the kind of attitude that shows like South Park can foster in people while also admitting that it's not the sole cause for why people act the way they do. There's no need to get defensive about your show.
 

Sampson

Member
Nov 17, 2017
1,105
This forum thread is now just a continuation of the twitter thread, bunch a woodwork hot takes arguing against something Dana didn't say while not demonstrating an ounce of understanding of what she actually said.

Which is perhaps about the best we can expect from people taught to think by South Park.
Using mockery as a political tactic predates South Park by a few hundred years, at least (Voltaire). Don't leftists read Rules for Radicals anymore?
 

Dark Knight

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,788
Which is perhaps about the best we can expect from people taught to think by South Park.
There's no need to be so dogmatic about it. I think most fans on Era will admit it has flaws but isn't at all responsible for today's political climate or our disaffected youth. The crushing futility of a failing and dying republic seized by decades of economic strangulation orchestrated by ancient sociopaths is what has made most of us cynical and somewhat defeatist. Saying South Park is even marginally responsible is quite a cheap argument.
 
Oct 26, 2017
2,150
I think it's okay to acknowledge the kind of attitude that shows like South Park can foster in people while also admitting that it's not the sole cause for why people act the way they do. There's no need to get defensive about your show.
I think it's fair to defend it. Certainly if, like me, it seems erroneous to blame a global trend toward right-wing xenophobia and racism on a show. If anything South Park would be a symptom not the cause.
 

timrtabor123

Member
Feb 11, 2019
367
As someone who got made fun of for years due to something made up on the show, yeah. Also, the number of stupid quotes I've heard from South Park fans imitating Japanese people when I mentioned I lived there was racist and obnoxious. I think a lot of Americans don't process a lot of the shitty stuff they took from South Park, because it's comedy.
As a dude in a wheelchair named Tim I sympathize with this.
 

IggyChooChoo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,016
I scanned through, but was surprised to not see any mention of Team America, the explicit message of which was that the US does, in fact, need to police the world. That the world “needs dicks to fuck assholes to prevent them from shitting on the pussies.” This movie came out in the wake of the invasion of Iraq and was a direct rebuke to war critics like Michael Moore and various celebrities. It’s a very representative viewpoint of the time. And definitely a conservative one.

I’m glad to hear Matt and Trey have grown in recent seasons (assuming that’s the case). But in their heyday, I think that writer has pegged their work correctly. Whether they are partly responsible for boosting a cynical “fuck you for caring“ attitude or just a reflection of it is rather beside the point.
 

Sayuz

Member
Apr 29, 2019
57
If had a nickel for how many times I've heard people cite that stupid giant douche vs. turd sandwich episode...
Ironically, the point of the episode is that most elections will come down to 2 candidates you don't like much, but you should vote for the one the one you agree with more anyway, because your vote still matters. That and to a lesser degree that shaming people into voting isn't productive.

The episode literally ends with:

Mr. Mackey: [Adding Stan's vote to the tally] Stan's vote bring the total votes for Turd Sandwich to...thirty six! And Giant Douche has...one thousand, four hundred, and ten. Giant Douche still wins!
Stan: Dude, so my vote didn't even really matter!
Randy: Hey! That's not true, Stan.
Sharon: You can't judge the merits of voting on whether or not your candidate won.
Randy: Your vote still mattered.
Garrison: [rushing into the school holding up a shredded PETA shirt] Hey, everybody! They just found all the PETA members murdered at their compound!
Mr. Mackey: What the? They're all dead? Well, that means...
Clyde: That we can go back to being the South Park Cows!
All: Hooray! All right!
Randy: Now your vote didn't matter.

I mean, yeah, it ends with the joke that the status quo has returned, so none of it really mattered, but the message is still pretty clear.

When they brought it up again in the 2016 season, the message was that while both candidates were unappealing (Clinton and Garrison as a Trump stand-in), one was actually prepared to do the job (Clinton), while the other was dangerously unqualified, racist, and was only running for the ego boost and didn't really want to win (Garrison), who people only supported out of a false nostalgic desire to return to a "great America" from the past which never existed. I mean, they had a scene where one of Garrison's memberberries shoots one of the others in the Oval Office and tells them that they're going to make people 'member the real, old stormtroopers, implying that Garrison will literally be bringing Nazis to the White House.

Say what you will about the messiness of that season's plot lines (which definitely did not all come together), but the satire was not subtle.
 

Flame Lord

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,224
Reminds me of Roger Ebert's Team America review:

If I were asked to extract a political position from the movie, I'd be baffled. It is neither for nor against the war on terrorism, just dedicated to ridiculing those who wage it and those who oppose it. The White House gets a free pass, since the movie seems to think Team America makes its own policies without political direction.

I wasn't offended by the movie's content so much as by its nihilism. At a time when the world is in crisis and the country faces an important election, the response of Parker, Stone and company is to sneer at both sides -- indeed, at anyone who takes the current world situation seriously. They may be right that some of us are puppets, but they're wrong that all of us are fools, and dead wrong that it doesn't matter.
Back when I didn't really think much about politics I found their cartoon exaggerations funny, but I have to say there have been a few times in the last few years that I've been confused by older episodes that take a "both sides" approach (douche bag vs turd sandwich) if not out right argue against totally reasonable outlooks (anti-tobacco industry or global warming). Actually that cigarette episode especially sticks out to me; it's not even one where they pick at both sides, they straight up defend the tobacco industry.
 
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May 20, 2018
92
I wonder what made a generation of young people cynical and angry, distrustful of institutions and traditional politics.

Was it the collapse in living standards and rising levels of debt

Was it the illegal wars based on lies that killed millions of people and continue to rend the world's wounds open for decades

Was it the accelerating climate crisis destroying the planet, burning, drowning, choking and poisoning us all that leaders deny is happening, and when they don't decline to do anything about since it would be too expensive

Was it the return of fascism, white nationalism, ethnic cleansing, concentration camps and xenophobia

Was it the biggest financial collapse since the Great Depression, where insane hyper accelerated greed destroyed the homes and livelihoods of the middle class

No, in fact, it was a cartoon
As ridiculous as it seems, I do think our cultural products have a strong role in diminishing our trust in institutions and politics because our understanding of the moment is precisely filtered and molded by those products. Just think of the role of radio in the emergence of a far right in America. Cartoons, TV shows, and other media that people consume on a daily no doubt have a similar role in amplifying a healthy skepticism of power into a extremely cynical outlook on our civic life.
 

Volimar

volunteer forum janitor
Member
Oct 25, 2017
13,285
I think it's fair to defend it. Certainly if, like me, it seems erroneous to blame a global trend toward right-wing xenophobia and racism on a show. If anything South Park would be a symptom not the cause.

I don't think people are blaming the entire global trend on SP. It's just one of the fingers in the pie. That said, I don't think it's fair to let it skate by as just a symptom of a larger problem with the way it uses its platform.