South Park and Self-Censorship
Posted by Dan Draney on April 25, 2010
You may have missed it, but this week Comedy Central censored an episode of South Park. As you can probably guess, this was not done in response to agitation by a Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Zoroastrian, or even atheist group. It was done in response to death threats against the creators of South Park by a member of what we refer to as The Religion of Peace. Despite all the talk on the left about Christians representing some budding theocratic threat, there is only one religion, Islam, that issues death threats at the drop of a cartoon.
This particular episode satirized Islam’s kooky (and rather selective, in that it only applies to infidels) outrage at any depiction of Mohammad, and it featured a cartoon Mohammad in a bear suit.
Meanwhile our national media never seem to miss a chance to miss a chance to defend free speech against those who threaten violence against those who jeopardize their free speech rights by exercising them. As Diana West writes:
No other American “name” I can think of, no one tops in pop culture, has spoken out against (or even mentioned) the Islamic threat to Western freedom of expression as exemplified by the Sharia dictates against “Motooning.” Certainly no one has produced creative content about it.
Rather, such dictates have been religiously followed — no pun whatsoever intended — just as though our society were itself officially Islamic. This makes “South Park’s” message the closest thing yet to a mainstream declaration of independence from Sharia. For rejecting both the threat of violence and the emotional blackmail emanating from Islam over critiquing Islam’s prophet, the two “South Park” creators deserve a medal.
“They’re courageous — no doubt that they are,” said Bill O’Reilly of Fox’s “O’Reilly Factor” this week. He was discussing the Islamic death threats against Parker and Stone that, naturally, followed the recent “South Park” Muhammad episode.
The threats came in a jihadist video (caption: “Help Us Remove the Filth”) portraying the writer-producers as likely victims of Islamic violence along with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Salman Rushdie, Geert Wilders, Kurt Westergaard and Lars Vilks. A photo of the slain body of filmmaker Theo van Gogh, his head nearly cut off on an Amsterdam, Netherlands, street in 2004 by a jihadist assassin, served as an example.
Rather than praise Parker’s and Stone’s courage, however, O’Reilly went on to disparage their judgment.
“Was it the smart thing to do in light of the Danish cartoonist and van Gogh?” he asked. “It’s harmless to me,” he continued about the episode in question. “But if you are a hard-core jihadist, any mention of Muhammad in any kind of way, particularly if you’re poking fun at him, is a capital offense.”
Way to “look out for the folks,” Bill. Jon Stewart to his great credit, had an extensive piece about the incident on The Daily Show, ending with a “gospel chorus” singing, “Go f*ck yourself.”
Dan Savage has suggested a perfect response we all can participate in: an Everybody Draw Mohammed Day festival.
When the original Mohammad Cartoon Controversy erupted, it played out in the US with most people never even seeing the cartoons involved. Since one can’t discuss the controversy intelligently without actually seeing the cartoons, I put them on Flickr and linked to them from DLMSY. The Flickr interface is a bit clunky, so I will reproduce them here in the next post.