Why is South Park trending? What did I miss?

excelsiorlef

Member
Oct 25, 2017
43,448
I'm making a point which was put into writing by Marshall McLuhan back in 1964 in his book "Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man". Despite the time gap his theories apply directly to the shitshow that is society under the umbrella of social media. In short: the content is less important than how it is communicated.

But if you must know (you're not demanding it but I'll tell you anyway) I was raised on a diet of South Park and believe in rationality, empathy for others, and socialistic principles (at least within a capitalist economy) and I'm absolutely not a right-wing lunatic.

I put it to you and her that it isn't South Park that makes people what they are but the environment they're in and the constant barrage of information to which they're subjected every day. The shortened structure of twitter and nature of other platforms lead to oversimplified "hot takes" and a flattening of meaning. This gets disseminated, interpreted incorrectly (as it relates to the original material) and before you know it fake news emerges and opinion polarised.
The ironic thing here is this also applies to South Park. You can argue but it's satire but how it's done has lead to a lot of people taking it at face value

And then there's their rampant transphobia which is devoid of satire

All I can tell you is I don't think people are gonna quote that tweet to shit on my community can't say the same about thr Dolphin bullshit.
 

ZackieChan

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,804
It wasn’t the South Park episode about the 2004 election that made me disillusioned with the whole system - it was the fact that Bush fucking WON the election despite it being obvious there were no WMDs and the whole thing was based on a lie.
It’s not “lol don’t care about anything,” it’s the no matter how much you seem to care or fight for things, in the end it doesn’t matter and most of it is out of your control.
 

ebs

Member
Oct 27, 2017
389
"Impossible to overstate the cultural damage done by SOUTH PARK"

You have to be a special kind of oblivious to make such an incredible claim with nothing beyond anecdotal evidence and see no problem with that.

Also seems unable to separate correlation and causation.
 

Theecliff

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,051
i despise discussions about media on this site sometimes. so much nonsense like ‘it’s just a game’ ‘it’s just a cartoon’ ‘it’s just a joke’ to shutdown any and all discussions about cultural influence whenever it comes up.

this is more a response to the thread as a whole but here we go

no one is claiming that a cartoon invented certain behaviours. South Park didn’t invent nihilistic centrism, or casual racism, or casual transphobia, or whatever. but it absolutely can influence and reinforce views on said subjects - just like any piece of media not created in a vacuum - especially when the show is as openly god damn political as South Park.
also, acknowledging that it could be an influence on culture isn’t accusing it of being the sole influence!! the tweets in the OP and the posts in here aren’t saying that, heck

this also isn’t saying that you can’t enjoy media with problematic elements, which is another bullshit hand-wringing deflection that comes up in threads like these (like, for example, when a thread popped up discussing asia-phobic undertones in early cyberpunk media had people crying ‘you’re not allowed to enjoy anything anymore!’ in response). criticising elements from a piece of media doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to enjoy it anymore, just that said media has elements worth criticising. and understanding that, as well as where those elements came from - the creator’s views, their culture and the time it was created in - helps us better understand the media as a whole and reflect on our own inherited views so as to not passively take some of this shit for granted.
some occasionally shitty and harmful messaging doesn’t stop South Park from having some great moments and humour that you can enjoy. i used to love South Park, and i’d be lying if i don’t find some of it still pretty funny. but that doesn’t mean you also can’t criticise it’s more problematic and bigoted content for what it is.


in general i just think people get so personally attached to media that they become extremely defensive and things become one or the other - criticism becomes censorship, some influence becomes all the influence. or shit suddenly becomes a personal attack - oh youre not allowed to enjoy anything anymore! well i didn’t turn out bad so surely there’s nothing bad about it!!
but that shit’s rarely what anyone’s saying, or a complete over-exaggeration.

It’s possible there is truth to this.

on the other hand, i know of plenty of passionate, earnest, empathetic people who used to watch the show. I include myself.

maybe it’s telling that i no longer watch it, maybe it’s just been genuinely shitty for a long time.

Maybe it was always shit!

but I don’t think it damaged my worldview.
this isn’t how influence works. just because you weren’t affected doesn’t mean others haven’t been. just because you or me or your friends didn’t turn out to be bad eggs in the end after we all watched South Park at some point in our lives doesn’t mean that it’s messages didn’t affect the world view of people out there - nor that people couldn’t perhaps reflect on those views inherited by said media as they mature, and outgrow them.
personally, as a teen, i was all into the centrist ‘why does anyone give a shit either way’, ‘the answer is always in the middle’ nonsense without ever actually knowing much about anything, in part because how i viewed and understood culture - including a lot of politics and political figures - was filtered thru shows like South Park, and i can guarantee a lot of my other school classmates were largely the same.
on the other hand, we literally have posters in this very thread explaining that they’ve been subject to racial and discriminatory abuse based on jokes from this show. there’s a chance that the people who did this to them were always shitty and bigoted, but the specific ammo they had came directly from the show. and perhaps the notion that that sort of joke could be appropriate could have possibly came from the fact that one of the most popular tv comedy series throws some of that shit out non-critically and you’re supposed to laugh along with it.

I don't think it's wild to say that a tv show that was one of the most popular pieces of cultural critique for an era had some effect on the way people act today. Pointing out that other things probably had an effect too isn't really a counterpoint to that.
thank you!!
 

Alice

Member
Nov 2, 2017
5,466
"Impossible to overstate the cultural damage done by SOUTH PARK"

You have to be a special kind of oblivious to make such an incredible claim with nothing beyond anecdotal evidence and see no problem with that.



Also seems unable to separate correlation and causation.
So, do you have anything besides AdHominem to actually say? Or are you just here to insult someone you disagree with?
 

Fatoy

Member
Mar 13, 2019
1,860
I don't think South Park is particularly good satire (although it can be funny in small doses) but if satire is all it takes cause "cultural damage", then the culture in question could use some reinforcement.
 

WolfForager

Member
Oct 27, 2017
109
These twitter types must have a thesaurus at hand every time they post, I can't remember the last time I saw "earnestness" and "inocluation" used in a sentence.

Anyway, if Southpark was a left leaning show that only made fun of the right, would it be deemed to be OK from the left for belittling the right? And visa versa, the same should be considered. It's libertarian at the moment and has a chance to "offend" both sides.

Maybe I'm getting old, but this type of social commentary is starting to "trigger" me whereas before i just let it slide off my back.
 

zashga

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,171
The central message of South Park is that people who care about things are stupid and annoying. I haven’t been able to stomach it for years now; it’s not hard to understand why it’s more popular with the anti-PC crowd and fence-sitting centrists.
 

Nora

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,546
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.
A lot of people have probably already told you how bad this take is but this really is not it and I don't think you know what leftism is. Or you don't watch more than like 2 TV shows.
 

Sanka

Member
Feb 17, 2019
1,409
Eh, South Park never preached anything that society didn't already, which is to always look at both sides and find a common ground. That's how most episodes played. It was more the offensive you can joke about anything aspect that was damaging.
 

Shugga

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
20,875
"is south park really relevant anyway", you ask in a thread about why it's trending #2 on twitter
Yeah absolutely irrelevant
Galaxy brain
 

ebs

Member
Oct 27, 2017
389
Look at how many "Stunning and Brave" comments appear whenever a woman or minority is announced to be in a big role.
What percentage of people who’ve watched South Park and then participate in being a dickhead online constitutes a situation where “it’s impossible to overstate the cultural damage done”?
 

Palette Swap

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
3,979
Anyway, if Southpark was a left leaning show that only made fun of the right, would it be deemed to be OK from the left for belittling the right? And visa versa, the same should be considered.
I often see this, and I think it’s a very superficial view of things, in that there’s a false equivalency nestled in there.
Making fun of war profiteers and jingoism for example (making fun of the right) isn’t the same as making fun of trans people and their right to exist (generally what “the left” is angry at).
 

ebs

Member
Oct 27, 2017
389
It has nothing to do with you insulting a woman because you disagree with her.
Pointing out logical fallacies someone makes when making clearly exaggerated and unsubstantiated claims Is not insulting. It’s criticising.

Also your insinuation that it has anything to do with her being a woman is utterly disgusting.
 

The Masked Mufti

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
1,150
Scotland
This is a good point too. Just today I had encountered someone on youtube who attacked Patrick Stewart for wanting his new Picard show to handle the problems of today (Trump, nationalism, etc) which he thought of as left-wing virtue signalling (and stewart himself being perceived negatively as a socialist). Of course Star Trek is built upon idealistic socialist concepts such as a future socialist utopia in which diversity is cherished and the majority want for nothing in a post-money civilisation. Everything he saw as a recent trend

These people see what they want to see and refuse to process anything that doesn't align with their narrative. Perhaps the same could be said of the people attacking South Park for the negativity inherent within it.
Fucking hell. This reminds of how much negativity surrounded the episode where Kirk and Uhura kissed (the first interracial kiss on screen and it turned out to be the most viewed episode iirc). These motherfuckers were ok with Kirk sleeping with aliens but not kissing a black woman.
 

V_Arnold

Member
Oct 26, 2017
911
Hungary
Its ratings?
We either accept that the media that we consume influences us in some shape or form.
Then, if we do not accept that, the discussion is over, and no media has influence on us. This is not supported by our evidence that every single one of us is shaped by what we grew up with/amongst.

So we move on in the discussion, accepting that the media that we consume has a certain degree of power in shaping us. All that is left is to determine the ideology of South Park. That again, is not hard to do: libertarian truly describes it best, there have been countless analysises of that in the past, and in this very thread too (that quoted reddit post is a great and condensed one).

Now we are at a point where we have a massive, decade-long success show, and we know its ideology as well. We know the power that the Tea Party holds over in Republicans, and we also see the way centrists in the democratic party have this insane amount of cinicism towards anything that Sanders (and to a lesser degree, Yang or Warren) proposes.

So we have all the data points we need. We know what society looks like, we know what South Park proposes, and we know how succesful it has been. So what is left?
 

gutter_trash

Member
Oct 26, 2017
16,029
Montreal
people shoulds stop calling everything CENTRIST/
it's really MEME as fuck to do so

this is when people stop listening to you because all you do is go ""uhhh uhhh huuhh you don't agree with me? then YOU CENTRIST!!!!!!!!""
 

Kill3r7

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,847
On one issue?

Let's look at millennial voting numbers and general involvement in politics for the last decade as another data point. Let's look at online discussion norms and how South Park episodes shaped criticism towards other issues and promoted "both sides are the same" in earnest.
Unfortunately PEW data doesn’t really support those claims https://www.people-press.org/2018/03/01/the-generation-gap-in-american-politics/

I say this as someone who is a millennial by definition but identifies and relates best to Gen X.
 

The Masked Mufti

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
1,150
Scotland
Do people think that the books movies and TV shows don’t affect the way they see the world?
The same people will be screaming that social media has influenced the world negatively.

There was a study published by the British Medical Journal (a decade long study I think) about the impact of video games. Interestingly, and unsurprisingly, they mentioned that TV shows have a huge impact (and much larger than video games) on mental health and perception.
 

sibarraz

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
10,313
At least on the matter of US politics, I never understood why people here trash South Park for "Both Siding" the US elections. Even though is true the democrats are better than republicans, I still see them as "republican lites" who are just one stupid comment away of showing themselves as hardcore right wingers. In that regard, it really feels like both sides are the same, specially now that someone like Bernie who truly represents a leftist candidate, is getting criticized by his own coalition.

South Park deserves lots of criticisms on matters like global warming or transphobia, but on their politics I can't really criticize them since the US political system is so fucked up
 

Alice

Member
Nov 2, 2017
5,466
Pointing out logical fallacies someone makes when making clearly exaggerated and unsubstantiated claims Is not insulting. It’s criticising.

Also your insinuation that it has anything to do with her being a woman is utterly disgusting.
I find it utterly disgusting to call people "a special kind of oblivious" and then trying to pass it off as "criticism".
 

ebs

Member
Oct 27, 2017
389
Calling someone a 'special kind of oblivious' would be typically taken as an insult I imagine.
This is fair. There’s definitely an insulting tone behind the actual point.

People spreading grandiose claims based on anecdotal evidence and people believing it just because it feels true rather than examining facts is a root cause for so many of today’s problems. Global warming deniers, antivaccers, people who still believe in trickle-down economics.

It’s a topic which gets me riled up because the left has always been better about this, but I see that slipping away in recent years. Sound bites and hot takes dominate discussion more and more, critical thinking decays, and then real solutions to major problems become harder to actualise.
 
Oct 26, 2017
10,145
UK
The biggest cultural effect it had at the time I grew up was normalising antisemitism and popularising "Jew" as an insult.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,291
UK
Eh, South Park never preached anything that society didn't already, which is to always look at both sides and find a common ground. That's how most episodes played. It was more the offensive you can joke about anything aspect that was damaging.
Yeah, South Park's approach was to bring a cultural topic of discussion to the masses by offensively presenting both sides showcasing how messed up it is on both sides. There are exceptions to this though (Tom Cruise Scientology episode, Death of Chef). During my time watching the show since the late 90s, I've often noticed that the people I've discussed episodes with tend to miss the point of what South Park is trying to do and pass it off as "That TV Show that's pissing off [Insert people/religion/whatever]". It's a very misunderstood show but it was never preachy.

Family Guy was the more offensive show in the sense that the show's premise is just "Setup to something offensive. Cut to flashback and deliver offensive joke. Cut back to normality" without showcasing or explaining the reasoning behind it. How that garbage gets a free pass is beyond me.
 

ebs

Member
Oct 27, 2017
389
Its ratings?
We either accept that the media that we consume influences us in some shape or form.
Then, if we do not accept that, the discussion is over, and no media has influence on us. This is not supported by our evidence that every single one of us is shaped by what we grew up with/amongst.

So we move on in the discussion, accepting that the media that we consume has a certain degree of power in shaping us. All that is left is to determine the ideology of South Park. That again, is not hard to do: libertarian truly describes it best, there have been countless analysises of that in the past, and in this very thread too (that quoted reddit post is a great and condensed one).

Now we are at a point where we have a massive, decade-long success show, and we know its ideology as well. We know the power that the Tea Party holds over in Republicans, and we also see the way centrists in the democratic party have this insane amount of cinicism towards anything that Sanders (and to a lesser degree, Yang or Warren) proposes.

So we have all the data points we need. We know what society looks like, we know what South Park proposes, and we know how succesful it has been. So what is left?
I agree that media has influence over us.

I think we can also agree that people generally watch more than just South Park.

So any libertarian influence it would have is just some small part of the sum total of influence media holds over the average person. And so specifically singling out South Park as creating a situation “where it’s impossible to overstate the cultural damage done” is nonsensical.
 

gutter_trash

Member
Oct 26, 2017
16,029
Montreal
they make fun of the Left when elements of the Left are either hypocritical, contradictory or opportunistic.

the Whole Foods episode makes fun of the corporate fake left.

the Gentrification episodes are excellent to showcase in a comedy what Gentrification does to a community
 

Shugga

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
20,875
they make fun of the Left when elements of the Left are either hypocritical, contradictory or opportunistic.

the Whole Foods episode makes fun of the corporate fake left.

the Gentrification episodes are excellent to showcase in a comedy what Gentrification does to a community
So what's up with their transphobe stuff
 

Fisty

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,076
I do miss the early SP when it was just irreverent poop jokes and goofy parodies. Taking the show towards a topical "issue/trend of the week" format has really degraded their satire and given them less time to reflect on issues before making jokes. That being said, I've only seen probably 3 or 4 episodes in the last 10 years
 

Alice

Member
Nov 2, 2017
5,466
You’re clearly replying in bad faith between that insinuation of sexism to now ignoring my points which have been made and elaborated on across multiple posts.
See, that's the problem when you enter a thread with a comment that does nothing but insult the person criticising south park and only after several people call you out on it, actually adding substance to what you said. How would anyone feel like you came in her e in good faith with a first reponse like the one you left?
 
Oct 26, 2017
10,145
UK
So what's up with their transphobe stuff
Look, there's clearly two sides to transphobia... like there's two sides to white guys doing yellow face... but there's like only one side to cis white guys telling gay people that the f-word isn't a homophobic slur any more and the show's in no way preachy.

People dying on a hill for South Park here has always been the weirdest thing when they'd cop a ban if they actually acted on the messaging.
 
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