It’s a sad day for satire.
Comedy Central caved, and last night they bleeped out a good portion of “201,” the follow up to last week’s episode that resulted in Matt Stone and Trey Parker being threatened by religious fascists. (That’s not a term I throw around lightly; here it is accurate.) The episode ran only once last night and isn’t available at South Park Studios.
I actually thought the excessive censoring—Muhammad’s name was replaced with a bleep and was the entire “I learned something today” scene at the end—was intentional. It seemed plausible, and poignant. But that was merely incidental. Comedy Central acquiesced at the last minute.
I can only hope “South Park” isn’t going the way of “Laverne and Shirley.”
The absurdity in all of this is how self-centered hyper-sensitive Muslims—not the Muslims I know, but those running sites like Revolutionmuslim.com and those subscribing to the brand of fundamentalism favored abroad—are in all of this. They really are the only clearly defined group that gets a free pass. In last night’s episode alone, “South Park” showed Buddha snorting coke and Jesus looking at Internet porn and Joseph Smith, “the holy prophet of the Mormon religion,” trying to fly into Barbra Streisand’s gigantic nose.
“South Park” aimed entire episodes at, to name a few, little people, the crippled, those with tourettes, gays, gingers, Latinos, Mormons, Scientologists and, over and over, blacks and Jews. Once upon a time that list even included Muslims. But no more.
Which leaves me wondering: If “South Park” doesn’t have the license to satirize the hypersensitive, who does?