The Big Picture: Out of the Park

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Please Bob could you say "Bonk" in your next big picture?

Always loved south park's view on things. I agree that taking south park literally (and using their points as proof they're right) is idiotic, but refering to an episode to explain how stupid you find certain things in the world, is ok with me.

Examples:
I dont believe in 9/11 conspiracies, but for me south park's 9/11 conspiracy is still the only 9/11 conspiracy that slightly make sense :D

I dont think all who dont share my religion are raging haters like Stan in the mormon episode, but the episode shows the retardedness of religious animosity and judging someone plainly on their belief (ignoring all their other qualities).

Please, please, please talk naturally, Bob.

Regardless, Trey Parker and Matt Stone are obviously nihilists.

Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.

I have the exact same issues with people who quote The Daily Show or Colbert as their source for preferred reality. It's COMEDY. I love these shows, and also South Park, because they're funny. Not because I think that Shakeweights dispense cab fare when you're done.

That said, it's disingenuous to suggest that no actual political or social thought goes into South Park, any more than it would be to suggest the same about Daily or Colbert. What there is, is bound up primarily in the technique of mirrored logic, where the fallacy of a concept (and thus why it should be laughed at) is revealed by flipping the idea on its head and seeing what falls out.

Taking any of this at face value would, and does, defeat the entire point being made.

One such example? Right here in Bob's review, where he claims that the Mormon episode DOESN'T bash the religion in question like happened in the Scientology episode. Quite the contrary: Matt and Trey call bull$#!+ on both religions equally as being valid spiritual paths (and, apropos of nothing, also poke fun at religious factionalism in a different episode by having Heaven become a guessing game where you go to hell --- unless you picked "Mormon" as your faith).

The point, in both cases, has to do with the behavior exhibited by the people belonging to each religion. For all that Mormonism is attacked as made-up-BS in South Park, it is also recognized that Mormons themselves turn out to be decent folks you wouldn't mind having as neighbors. This is compared to Scientology, which --- well, it's Scientology. A Mormon may stop at asking you to take a free copy of "The Book", but Scientologists can't stop worrying until you get "cleared" via a few hundred expensive hours of "auditing".

By taking these episodes at face value, it seems Bob missed the point on his way to letting all of us know that we shouldn't take South Park's episodes at face value.

...okay.

EDIT: Also, "South Park Republicans" was a term coined to refer to those in the center-right spectrum. At the time Sullivan coined it, he was a Bush voter (2001) who later shifted to support Democrats in general, then Kerry and Obama in their respective presidential races.

He is renowned for having a variety of left-wing as well as right-wing views.

So, no. Not the "Limbaugh Republican Archetype" you were shooting for, Bob.

Generic Gamer:
Just going to throw this out there; when I hear people quoting some stupid adult cartoon for easy referencing to back up their ideas, the show is Family Guy and the people are Liberals.

Are you sure you're not just pissed off at South Park quoting because it contradicts a lot of your own ideas?

Though I'll give those idiots this; when it was laid down on the table exactly how despicable Brian is, most of them shut up.

This, right here, is pretty much exactly what I got out of this week's show. I'd bet ten bucks Bob wouldn't have a problem if South Park said more things he agrees with. South Park is pretty much the only widely viewed piece of satire that lends any sort of credence to conservative views at all. Seth McFarlane, being a well-known liberal, tends to make any sort of message to his shows left-leaning. Jon Stewart goes after Republicans FAR more than Democrats, and when he does take aim at the Dems, such as in the famous face-to-face chastising of Obama, it's for not being liberal enough or backing down from liberal values. Colbert's whole shtick is an over-the-top impersonation of conservative talking heads. SNL spent the entire last decade ridiculing Bush at every turn but won't touch Obama (though to be fair, that may be as much to avoid any accidental racism as it would be any agreement in ideology). It's widely known that in the entertainment business in general that liberals exponentially outnumber conservatives, and those conservatives who get any sort of respect are few and far between: Chuck Norris, Kelsey Grammer, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford and Mel Gibson before he went insane being the only ones I can think of off the top of my head, and of those, only Norris, Arnold and Redford were ever vocal about it, as compared to so many other Hollywood types who wear their liberalism on their sleeve. Within that list, only Kelsey Grammer works primarily in comedy, and his comedy is never overtly political in nature.

The point I'm trying to make is that conservative satire is a rare thing, and I just got the feeling that in this video, Bob was just angry that South Park provides some satire conservatives can look to for enjoyment without being the butt of the joke every time. Though with a character like Cartman and Matt and Trey's "nobody is safe" philosophy when it comes to the show, they still are the butt of the joke quite often.

MovieBob:
Out of the Park

You shouldn't turn to South Park for life lessons.

Watch Video

Y'know, I've learned something today. People shouldn't draw their personal philosophy or political beliefs from a cartoon on TV. We shouldn't rely on other people to tell us what to think, though it is reasonable to be influenced by others' beliefs and consider adopting them ourselves, our beliefs and opinions must always be ours. Culture is not a crutch, and we are each responsible for our decisions whether or not they were on TV.

Wait, this is the life lesson that is consistently presented on South Park, every disaster is caused (or made worse) by a mass response that isn't thought out by anybody...often influenced by television or celebrity.

What South Park provides is exactly what society needs right now, no - not fart jokes, but an eye for critical thinking and a reluctance to ever side with one side on every issue.

I think it's completely irresponsible to look at any philosopher / politician / thinker and draw the entirity of your beliefs from them. Most of all that's just lazy, but even worse is that it means the theory/belief is not being tested, just treated with blind faith. Any author/activist who doesn't actively spur and challenge their followers is irresponsible, and a pretty sucky leader. South Park, whatever their personal philosophy may be, acts in this way, and I'm glad the term "South Park Republican" has dissolved as it has.

I'm a bit unsure of these people saying: "Don't take South Park seriously!" because, well, the issues it deals with are serious, and they usually come up with some worrying points concerning them, all of which is very relevant. I wouldn't conflate "No explicit, concrete message," with "Nothing of worth to take away," because they do deal intelligently with issues, and often have something relevant to say that isn't raised elsewhere.

In a nutshell, South Park is fantastic precisely because it lacks a dogmatic message, but that doesn't mean it is 'just a cartoon' and therefore politically or philosophically irrelevant, just that its worth isn't in providing a consistent belief system, only a constant and consistent challenge to our beliefs and actions.

I thought that the main problem they had with scientology was the whole cult thing... Im not sure, but im pretty confident that Mormonism isnt a cult.
I enjoy watching you're videos though, always gives me something to think about :P

Wait, wait, wait that's your real voice?

You mean to tell me this whole time we've been listening to generic radio voice when we could've had JFK?

C'mon Bob, do at least one episode in your normal voice.

OT: I honestly have never really watched South Park that much so I can't really comment.

For life lessons I turn to MovieBob instead.
:-)

i7omahawki:

MovieBob:
Out of the Park

You shouldn't turn to South Park for life lessons.

Watch Video

Y'know, I've learned something today. People shouldn't draw their personal philosophy or political beliefs from a cartoon on TV. We shouldn't rely on other people to tell us what to think, though it is reasonable to be influenced by others' beliefs and consider adopting them ourselves, our beliefs and opinions must always be ours. Culture is not a crutch, and we are each responsible for our decisions whether or not they were on TV.

Wait, this is the life lesson that is consistently presented on South Park, every disaster is caused (or made worse) by a mass response that isn't thought out by anybody...often influenced by television or celebrity.

What South Park provides is exactly what society needs right now, no - not fart jokes, but an eye for critical thinking and a reluctance to ever side with one side on every issue.

I think it's completely irresponsible to look at any philosopher / politician / thinker and draw the entirity of your beliefs from them. Most of all that's just lazy, but even worse is that it means the theory/belief is not being tested, just treated with blind faith. Any author/activist who doesn't actively spur and challenge their followers is irresponsible, and a pretty sucky leader. South Park, whatever their personal philosophy may be, acts in this way, and I'm glad the term "South Park Republican" has dissolved as it has.

I'm a bit unsure of these people saying: "Don't take South Park seriously!" because, well, the issues it deals with are serious, and they usually come up with some worrying points concerning them, all of which is very relevant. I wouldn't conflate "No explicit, concrete message," with "Nothing of worth to take away," because they do deal intelligently with issues, and often have something relevant to say that isn't raised elsewhere.

In a nutshell, South Park is fantastic precisely because it lacks a dogmatic message, but that doesn't mean it is 'just a cartoon' and therefore politically or philosophically irrelevant, just that its worth isn't in providing a consistent belief system, only a constant and consistent challenge to our beliefs and actions.

Wow. What a fantastic post, you really hit the nail on the head for me.

Great job!

I haven't met anyone that takes the whole show as something to live by so I can't very well speak on their reasoning, but I will say I'd like to think most of the people that draw influence from it, whether they talk about it or not, realize there isn't any particular overarching thing to take away from it (except maybe, as someone said, "get some perspective", or maybe "don't take things too seriously"), but that a lot of individual episodes do have lessons or at least information that can be of help. I know it's provided me with a lot of things to think about, and I usually agree with the conclusion reached about them on the show in general or by the main characters, if there is one.

Calbeck:
One such example? Right here in Bob's review, where he claims that the Mormon episode DOESN'T bash the religion in question like happened in the Scientology episode.
[snip]
For all that Mormonism is attacked as made-up-BS in South Park, it is also recognized that Mormons themselves turn out to be decent folks you wouldn't mind having as neighbors.

Do you see why your post is messed up? If not, I'll tell you didn't say they didn't bash Mormonism, he talked about the "overall positive point" (I'm paraphrasing here)... which is what you just brought up.
As for watching The Daily Show and The Colbert Report for news (where did you get "reality" from?), it's because I trust their reporting more than a lot of other reporting and because they're funny. I've seen the accusation about republican and democratic inequality on those shows and I don't think it holds, they attack any stupid idea that's funny enough-- which may be a key factor, a lot of stuff they could be talking about just isn't that funny. I don't know how you're classifying and sorting things but a lot of what you might see as saying democrats aren't being liberal enough is actually just talking about how they're weak.

It's funny I did not even realize that he speaks with an accent. Apparently if you're not out of the English-speaking country you dont get it.
As for South Park, it should not carry the message. Enough that it shows things from a different angle and did not hesitate of anything.

This might be the first episode of The Big Picture where I completely disagree with moviebob. As far as I can understand, bob's problem with people adopting stances from South Park is that South Park doesn't have an overaching philosophy, and hence shouldn't be taken seriously? What? It sounds like moviebob feels that something can only be a legitimate source of philosophy unless it assigns itself to a specific group or ideology. But why can't you have differing opinions on different issues? There are independents and moderates (like me!) who maybe believe a few things the Republicans say, and a few things the Democrats say. Or a few things the Objectivists say and a few things the Subjectivists say. Why can't Trey Parker & Matt Stone be against one thing and for another? It's not contradictory if they're not r...elated. And besides, issues aren't so cut & dry.
By the way, the mormonism vs. scientology episodes are actually not contradictory at all. They are just as offended by Mormonism as they are by Scientology. Only they attack the lack of critical thinking and stupidity of its followers in regards to Mormonism (I found these gold plates! NO, you can't see them, just trust me), and Scientology they just take a step further because it's so completely insane. I honestly don't know how anyone could think that Trey Parker & Matt Stone are "okay" with Mormonism. The whole Book of Mormon play is a no holds barred mockery of the religion. "I Believe" points out all the ridiculous things that Mormons actually believe (much like they did with the Scientology episode). "All American Prophet" summarizes the history of the Mormon church, complete with Trey & Matt's signature mockeries interspersed. "Turn if Off" mocks the belief that Mormons have that Homosexuality is wrong and if you get those urges you should just "turn it off". I could go on, but the point is that Trey & Matt are far from okay with Mormonism. They mock it just as much as they do Scientology.
Okay, so with that out of the way, I fail to see what point bob is trying to make about something requiring a consistent or overarching philosophy in order to be legitimate enough to take seriously. There is nothing wrong with approaching issues individually and exploring them one at a time. There doesn't need to be an overarching philosophy with South Park because each episode is its own self-contained entity. Sure, there are characters and a general storyline like in any other series, but one day mecha-streisand is marching through South Park, and the next day there's a giant pile of rednecks having gay sex in the town square. It's silly. It's a comedy show primarily, but this is a comedy show where the creators love to express their stances on issues intelligently, fully, and in such a way that there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't seriously consider their arguments. And they KNOW that. They WANT people to listen to them, and consider what they say. The "What did we learn today?" segments at the end of each episode are slightly tongue-in-cheek, yes, but they use that time to summarize what point they were trying to make, and even though the episode itself might have been silly as hell, there is a legitimate argument in there.

DarthFennec:

Golan Trevize:

DarthFennec:
Yeah, I never liked people who took their ideas from South Park (or from anywhere outside their own personal experience for that matter), but I've always found that 98% of the things Matt and Trey say in that show, I already agree with, and that they explain the reason they hold those views much better than I ever could.

Also, Bob sounding like the Scout automatically makes him a hundred times more badass.

100 * 0 = 0 :D

Sorry, but Bob is anything but badass.

What are you talking about, Bob is totally badass XD

Of course he is. ;)

No Bob, you don't need a general philosophy to be able to make a good point.

The Great ideas are all dead anyway and have been for decades now.

If they make a good point on South Park, by all means link the scene to your own rant. A good argument is always a good argument nomatter where it comes from. Besides it's usually a good laugh.

Well, Bob, I think your normal speaking voice rocks, whether or not most people will think 'Scout' or 'JFK'. In my region, our accent is flat & boring American Standard, and it's incredibly cool to hear something that's not that or the tiny occasional southern twang. I can't speak for others, of course, but I'd like to hear more of it. :)

More about the point of this video, it seems (to me, at least) to be a bad idea in general to stick to one source of info on which to base your opinions and philosophy. Whether you draw from one book or one show or even one musician, you're limiting yourself to the content of one person's outside perspective. Unfortunately, lots of folks are quite lazy, and to learn, a person has to put forth effort. In the end, I can only hope that the people saying 'I got this from South Park!', or really any non-documentary TV program, are just trolling.

One can hope, right?

im not sure i believe thats his real voice. im not saying hes lying, necessarily...but it kinda sounds like a stereotype of a new york accent

people who actually take lessons from southpark shouldn't be aloud to breed.

OT: Scot>JFK

I'm sorry but if you honestly think that South Park is one of the most single important things to hit TV then you've really lost alot of points in my books. And you're right the people that do trumpet it are really annoying.

Well some episodes got some good points, but it's not like i would use south park in a political argument. : P

Im kinda torn on the subject of South Park personally. I whole hearty agree with bob that people shouldnt try to take South Park as a philosophy,(which begs the question of how moronic americans are that they take advise from that) however as far as the show goes...Meh

I used to like it, hell I'd eagerly await new episodes for awhile, but lately within the past few years its been very hit and miss. The Cartoon Wars and Imaginationland eps where my favorites in the series, but those gems are the few diamonds. I feel that within the past 3-4 years Matt and Trey have gone a bit far with some of the jokes and jabs not necessarily things that even need to be joked about.

Really alot of South Park is a little on the extreme side, I know thats part of the gag but even Family Guy doesnt go so far.

Ive grown out of SP and I dont think I'll really watch it again.

When I think of Boston accent, I imagine people with fedora's, coats, suits and are serious and professional.

themilo504:
So don't listen to the show that says rainforests are evil. Captain obvious everybody.

You mean Captain Hindsight.

1. Maybe South Park guys just have different opinions about different religions. There are a number of different positions besides you can take besides just a blanket "they are all equally good/bad." They see Mormonism are silly and benign and Scientology as even more silly and pathological. This isn't very difficult to understand.

2. I can think of at least one political stance consistently backed by South Park. South Park hates political correctness.

Honestly the episodes themselves have no real message you should be following at all. But if you understand the background of some of the stuff going on behind the show, it is a lot more morally correct.
Example: Episode 200 and 201 were censored by comedy central for depicting Mohammed (And tom cruise). Because CC threw such a shitfit, they decided the mid season finale (Episode after 201) would be entirely making fun of disabled children, and wasn't censored by comedy central at all. I really admire them for appealing to stupid people who take the show literally, and the people who understand it's context, and doing both better then any other show out there. Family guy appeals to stupid people... and thats about it. The Simpsons is way too politically correct to have any purpose at all.

Primus1985:
Im kinda torn on the subject of South Park personally. I whole hearty agree with bob that people shouldnt try to take South Park as a philosophy,(which begs the question of how moronic americans are that they take advise from that) however as far as the show goes...Meh

I used to like it, hell I'd eagerly await new episodes for awhile, but lately within the past few years its been very hit and miss. The Cartoon Wars and Imaginationland eps where my favorites in the series, but those gems are the few diamonds. I feel that within the past 3-4 years Matt and Trey have gone a bit far with some of the jokes and jabs not necessarily things that even need to be joked about.

Really alot of South Park is a little on the extreme side, I know thats part of the gag but even Family Guy doesnt go so far.

Ive grown out of SP and I dont think I'll really watch it again.

What episode of south park do you feel has gone too far?

I am disappoint; I thought Bob's lapse into his Baaahhhhhston accent was a subtle play at changing the continuity of his own production and "expecting" the viewers to carry on just as though nothing had happened. You know, like your standard Geoff Johns ret-con. Turns out I was overthinking it.

Speaking of overthinking, it could just be me, but the irony of the Starship Troopers comparison is that, while the original Heinlein novel was a pretty rah-rah-military affair, I interpreted the tone of the recent film adaptation as being more satirical in nature, telling a lot of the same story, but with a tongue in one's cheek as the realization dawns that war is cyclical, we're not so different from the bugs, and as per the newsreels, we have always been at war with Eastasia.

The one thing that always irked me as being the lynchpin of some gen-Xer's philosophy is the movie Fight Club. Yes, it was a good film, and yes, it brought Brad Pitt out of the long-haired pretty-boy phase of his career into the short-spiky-cut shades-wearing badass phase, and yes, it was a good treatise on nihilism, though not to the extent of the book. But there was a better movie about a lot of the same concepts of nihilism and free thought and subversion of establishment that came out in the same year... I think it was called The Matrix or something.

But the quality of the film notwithstanding, it drives me nuts when people get all like "Fight Club totally redefined my life" and so forth. It's a MOVIE. You guys remember that part where Ed Norton was trying to "awaken" the brainwashed masses in the Durden compound, shouting at them "YOU ARE ALL INDIVIDUALS" and they respond in their bland monotone "we are aaallll indiviiiiiduals"... they think they've been set free from an oppressive establishment, when in fact they just fell into another collective with the illusion of freedom because they are TOLD they are free and don't have the will or self-awareness to establish that for themselves. When your entire perspective on life, the universe, and everything is based on a MOVIE that was designed to EXTRACT MONEY from you so that the studio can PROFIT from your entertainment and so-called enlightenment, guess what? THAT'S YOU. YOU ARE THEM. WAKE UP, FIGHT CLUB DOUCHEBAG! /rant over

Also, Bob... WHERE ARE SAMURAI PIZZA CATS?!? WE DEMAND SATISFACTION!

I have to agree. I've never looked to South Park for a coherent ideology. It's always been a light-heartened show that uses satire to take down all sorts of things a peg or two. The fact that it pokes fun at beliefs all across the board (as opposed to other shows) means I have no problem with it having a sacred cow roast because I know it's just having some fun and showing the ridiculousness of certain things (some being more ridiculous than others).

Also, was not expecting that accent change.

SP has always been hit or miss with me. They often bring up important topics but they often neglect to show the big picture (no pun intended) and over simplify complex issues and for the young audience that watches it can be harmful, because they use half formulated arguments from a cartoon as a reference for their opinion. Instead of I don't know an actual book or something.

Alas, the point seems to have been missed.

Or maybe it wasn't, but I think so. It seems to me that there's a strangely large group of 'trumpeters', or 'parrot'-ers, who will latch onto not only South Park-isms, but any particularly useful sound byte that supports their ideas. Or what someone has told them their ideas are.

Once the parroting starts, its pretty obvious that these guys have been eating up somebody else's idealogy with a spoon and a fork. Yet its impossible to take away a complete philosophy from curiously narrow opinions - regardless of how authoritative they are. So the obvious way to set about buttressing their positions is in the same way as they started; grabbing onto more sound bytes and fragments of popular culture. Logic and critical thinking didn't fall by the wayside, they were discarded before step one.
_____________
Hey Bob! You made a suggestion in a Junk Drawer spot, and I'd like to see you follow up on it. And if there's not enough material for 5 minutes, you could make it a two-for. You see, I would really like to see a retrospective review for Big Trouble in Little China. Maybe as a two-for with Escape from New York. See, I have this nutty idea that Carpenter was trying to put horror elements in EFNY, but Carpenter's idea of horror is just to have sorta creepy stuff in the background with audio stingers when they blandly emerge. It's all for nothing because Carpenter's monsters aren't particularly scary. So EFNY ended up being half an action flick in the ruins of an awful horror film. But BTiLC was always pretty darn cool.

JPArbiter:
Were people really making THAT MUCH of a deal out of his Bostonian accent? Seriously? I thought it was general knowlege this guy was from New England, and people from New England sound weird. heck his broadcast voice sounds Bostonian to me, maybe cause I am a midwesterner.

Same. He gives it a valliant effort but he doesn't quite nail the generic middle american broadcast accent 100%.

One thing that I find kind of amusing is that after a few years of living down here in Australia I can't fucking understand many regional American accents anymore, but I can make out what a drunken bogan is screaming at 3 o clock in the morning.

I guess you just get used to it...

I was always under the impression that manbearpig was less about global warming and more about how annoying it was that Al Gore wanted people to pay attention to him since no one cared about anything he had to say. But yeah, I see your point.

South Park is a great show. I hope no one mistakes it as anything more than that.

Saw this episode once, and it's great.

However, the episode has recently been having problems loading. Tried watching them on other computers and it keeps taking forever to load, if not loading at all.

Hope it can get fixed soon. Where do I go to the Escapist to make a complaint?

Jake Martinez:

JPArbiter:
Were people really making THAT MUCH of a deal out of his Bostonian accent? Seriously? I thought it was general knowlege this guy was from New England, and people from New England sound weird. heck his broadcast voice sounds Bostonian to me, maybe cause I am a midwesterner.

Same. He gives it a valliant effort but he doesn't quite nail the generic middle american broadcast accent 100%.

One thing that I find kind of amusing is that after a few years of living down here in Australia I can't fucking understand many regional American accents anymore, but I can make out what a drunken bogan is screaming at 3 o clock in the morning.

I guess you just get used to it...

having worked briefly in both voice acting and broadcast he actually performs admirably in toning down the Boston. not every broadcaster needs to sound like they are from Kansas City, just that wide swath of soil between Indianapolis and Denver.

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