‘South Park’: still king of rationality
Miko Malabute | Thursday, September 17, 2015
How does a show, extending into its 19th season, manage to stay so successful and popular? Well, it continually tackles the latest, most controversial topics talked about across America and doesn’t apologize for its social commentary.
It’s no secret that, while we as a society have grown more culturally sensitive and politically correct for the better, we may have overcompensated for our past ignorance and faults. Scene writer Adam Ramos recently covered how comedic legends Jerry Seinfeld, Larry the Cable Guy and Chris Rock now avoid performing at campuses because of an overly sensitive culture that has been cultivated on college campuses, which prevent them from performing as they wish — all in the name of comedy, with no malicious intent. While we have been trying to be more sensitive and respectful, it might have gone so far as to deter anyone from speaking freely, for fear of tripping up on rhetoric that may simply be misinterpreted.
Well, “South Park” isn’t afraid to mince words. In its latest season premiere of the episode “Stunning and Brave,” we see a new principal in charge of South Park Elementary, “P.C. Principal.” After a verbal slip-up by the former principal, P.C. Principal sets a zero-tolerance standard for any kind of hate speech or insensitive remarks. This standard is ramped up to an absolute extreme, where virtually everything that is uttered in the school hallways is policed and censored for the sake of being politically correct. The people of South Park choose to remain silent and limit their own speech — if not for fear of offending anyone, then for fear of getting bullied into political correctness by P.C. Principal.
The plot wonderfully mixes together Caitlyn Jenner, “Deflategate” and fraternity culture in a way only “South Park” can. The episode received a score of 7.8 out of 10 according to IGN’s Max Nicholson; the episode, as Nicholson put it, “took on political correctness with scathing wit and truly outrageous moments.” Kyle Broflovski, often the voice of reason in the television series, suffers from a misunderstanding of his opinion on Caitlyn Jenner — thus begins the relentless torment and bullying by the members of the “P.C. fraternity.” Broflovski eventually admits Jenner is in fact brave for her honesty to herself, and it is heavily suggested the P.C. fraternity (and the culture they have now imposed upon the town) has won.
The episode is laughably ridiculous and ridiculously funny, and it highlights a genuine sentiment that has been brewing in today’s America for quite sometime now. Yes, it is okay to be sensitive to other cultures — as a matter of fact, I prefer that to the hateful speech that was sadly all-too-prevalent in our society not too long ago. But there is something to be said about being rational and level-headed, especially when, in our haste to defend others, we lash out at everyone.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.