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David Horowitz

David Horowitz’s Archives: Why Gore would censor “South Park”

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Posted on November 4 2010 6:45 am
David Horowitz is the editor-in-chief of NewsReal Blog and FrontPage Magazine. He is the President and CEO of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. His most recent book is Reforming Our Universities

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Teacher: Now some of you know what it’s like to be the new kid in town, so I want you all to take special care to make him feel welcome. I want you all to meet our new classmate … uh, what’s your name again?

Damien: Damien!

[Some weird Latin-like chanting begins. There are flames in Damien's eyes.]

Teacher: Say hi to Damien!

[Silence]

Teacher: And where are you from Damien?

Damien: The seventh layer of Hell!

Teacher: Oh, that’s exciting. My mother was from Alabama.

[Weird chanting]

Damien: My arrival denotes the end of the beginning, the beginning of the end. The new reign of my father.

Teacher: Your father?

Damien: The prince of darkness.

Teacher: Wow, we have royalty in our class.

It’s not hard to see how literalists might have difficulty with these scripts.

The other day, in fact, I was paired with film critic Michael Medved on Fox-TV’s “O’Reilly Factor” to talk about new film releases in the wake of Columbine. Medved described the “South Park” movie as depraved and not fit for mainstream release. It was “anti-kid and anti-God.”

One of the kids does curse God. But he hates God, as he explains, because his mother tried to abort him with a coat hanger. You would think a pro-life conservative, like Medved, might appreciate the satiric dissonance in that. Unfortunately, irony seems out of reach for the Truly Serious.

“South Park” is an R-rated film, requiring a photo ID (and a paid ticket) for entry. So why should anybody have a problem with it? Of course, the president himself set the standard for busybody government when he looked into the cameras during one of his state of the union addresses and called on the nation’s entertainment producers to make programs and films “that you would be proud to take your grandchildren to.”

Is this then the reformers’ agenda - to cram all artistic expressions into the parameters of a kindergarten class?

Not surprisingly, “South Park” the movie is an acid commentary on all efforts to have government put the genie of freedom back into the bottle of political correctness. The “South Park” kids sneak into an X-rated film, featuring the foul-mouthed farting comics Terrance and Phillip, by giving a homeless person $10 to escort them in. The film makes an indelible impression on what one of the kids calls their “vulnerable little minds” and they come out speaking in expletives.

The way the “South Park” adults respond, then, is just a comic extension of familiar attitudes to us all. One of the “South Park” kids, Cartman, has a V-chip implanted in his head so that every time he curses he gets a shock. The parents refuse to take responsibility for their kids’ behavior and blame Canada (because Terrance and Phillip are Canadian) instead.

They form Mothers Against Canada to protest the outrage. Soon the national scapegoating has escalated into a full-scale war. It’s the kids of course who restore sanity and peace, and in a wonderfully zany twist are able to do so because, during a lightning storm, occasioned by the appearance of Satan and Saddam Hussein, the V-chip in Cartman’s head is recircuited so that it becomes a weapon he can use to defeat the marauding adult armies. Every time Cartman uses a four-letter word a bolt fires from his head and zaps its target. With this weapon the kids are able to defeat the forces of adult darkness that have engulfed their innocent — if innocently foul-mouthed — world.

Unfortunately, in the real world of 1999 America, the book burners are on the march. The Clinton team has already laid down clear markers in its assaults on the tobacco and gun industries. With government studies now authorized for an examination of the entertainment industry, with “scientific studies” to follow, it’s not hard to visualize the lawsuits coming next.

What makes these developments truly ominous is that the Republican opposition has caved. In the past, Republicans defended the principle that legal industries should not be destroyed by government lawsuits. But having defended an industry that actually kills people, tobacco, Republicans are now joining the lynch party to target an industry that has killed no one.

Milan Kundera’s classic novel about totalitarianism, “The Book of Laughter and Forgetting,” made the point that laughter is absolutely subversive of totalitarian ideologies like political correctness. Gore’s effort to ban the laughter in “South Park” is, accordingly, a threat to us all.

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