Monday, May 02, 2005


South Park Conservatives - What?!?

When I first heard of a recently-published book called South Park Conservatives, surely I didn't think the author was referring to the TV show of the same name. Well, um, I was wrong.

Some-dude-who's-not-David-Brooks-or-Paul-Krugman (Frank Rich) recently wrote about this in the NY Times (registration required, or use BugMeNot):

So far, so right. Among their other anarchic comic skills, Mr. Parker and Mr. Stone have a perfect pitch for lampooning what many Americans find most irritating about liberals, especially Hollywood liberals: a self-righteous propensity for knowing better than anyone else and for meddling in everyone's business, whether by enforcing P.C. speech codes or plotting to curb S.U.V.'s and guns.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the publication of "South Park Conservatives": Emboldened by the supposed "moral values" landslide on Election Day, the faith-based right became the new left. Just as Mr. Anderson's book reached stores in early April, Mr. Parker and Mr. Stone, true to their butt-out libertarianism, aimed their fire at self-righteous, big-government conservatives who have become every bit as high-handed and meddlesome as any Prius-pushing movie star. Such is this role reversal that the same TV show celebrated by Mr. Anderson and his cohort as the leading edge of a potential conservative victory in the culture wars now looks like a harbinger of an anti-conservative backlash instead.

Indeed. Where as libertarians and conservatives tend to share some ground on economic issues (big corporate handouts from big government not included), they're typically worlds' apart on social issues - and last time I checked, Parker and Stone tend to fuel their satire with far more social topics than economic ones.

Thus, I find it hard to believe that anyone enjoys South Park because of their conservative side; no, when someone's snickering at parodies of Jesse Jackson, Barbara Streisand, or Sally Struthers, they're showing their libertarian side. And come on - suggesting the public execution of Bill Gates, or hilariously mocking the stupidity of modern corporate management? Oddly enough, though, the Underpants Gnome episode that I refer to also defends mega-corporations like, heh-hem, Harbucks, so maybe my argument ain't all there.

Regardless (and hopefully getting back on track), a TV show featuring Korn, centering an episode around a "cripple fight", forming a underage boyband called "Fingerbang", or has a lead character becoming the poster child for NAMBLA probably doesn't fit in with the modern definition of conservative, or any definition of such from the past many election cycles. And the recent episode revolving around Kenny's living will didn't break any new ground for the boys - Kyle's grandfather was outspoken in his desire for assisted suicide back in the first season.

Tthose that enjoy the show's values are libertarians, whether they want to admit it or not. If they're like the majority of Americans, they'd prefer to deny their true identity.

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