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Comedy Central's over-reaction via South Park...

Discussion in 'General' started by Malvolio, 15 Apr 2006.

  1. Malvolio

    Malvolio .

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    In it's latest two-part episode, Cartoon Wars, South Park tackled the touchy issue of the Muhammad cartoons that caused so many issues. In this episode, Trey and Matt attempted to give this situation a very calming, level-headed view-point, and in due process, they showed an image of Muhammad.

    Unfortunately, Comedy Central censored the image, and completely ruined any message that the episode was attempting to make.

    I wrote a letter to Comedy Central wednesday night expressing my disgust and disappointment over this episode, and I've gotten a very well formed response, but I don't believe that it has satisfied my concerns over this entire issue.

    Below is the response I got:

    Dear Viewer,

    Thank you for your correspondence regarding the "South Park" episodes entitled "Cartoon Wars." We appreciate your concerns about censorship and the destructive influence of outside groups on the media, entertainment industry and particularly Comedy Central.

    To reiterate, as satirists, we believe that it is our First Amendment right to poke fun at any and all people, groups, organizations and religions and we will continue to defend that right. Our goal is to make people laugh and perhaps, if we're lucky, even make them think in the process.

    Comedy Central's belief in the First Amendment has not wavered, despite our decision not to air an image of Muhammad. Our decision was made not to mute the voices of Trey and Matt or because we value one religion over any other. This decision was based solely on concern for public safety in light of recent world events.

    With the power of freedom of speech and expression also comes the obligation to use that power in a responsible way. Much as we wish it weren't the case, times have changed and, as witnessed by the intense and deadly reaction to the publication of the Danish cartoons, decisions cannot be made in a vacuum without considering what impact they may have on innocent individuals around the globe.

    It was with this in mind we decided not to air the image of Muhammad, a decision similar to that made by virtually every single media outlet across the country earlier this year when they each determined that it was not prudent or in the interest of safety to reproduce the controversial Danish cartoons. Injuries occurred and lives were lost in the riots set off by the original publication of these cartoons. The American media made a decision then, as we did now, not to put the safety and well being of the public at risk, here or abroad.

    As a viewer of "South Park," you know that over the course of ten seasons and almost 150 episodes the series has addressed all types of sensitive, hot-button issues, religious and political, and has done so with Comedy Central's full support in every instance, including this one. "Cartoon Wars" contained a very important message, one that Trey and Matt felt strongly about, as did we at the network, which is why we gave them carte blanche in every facet but one: we would not broadcast a portrayal of Muhammad.

    In that regard, did we censor the show? Yes, we did. But if you hold Comedy Central's 15-year track record up against any other network out there, you'll find that we afford our talent the most creative freedom and provide a nurturing atmosphere that challenges them to be bold and daring and places them in a position to constantly break barriers and push the envelope. The result has been some of the most provocative television ever produced.

    We would like nothing more than to be able to look back at this in a few years and think that perhaps we overreacted. Unfortunately, to have made a different decision and to look back and see that we completely underestimated the damage that resulted was a risk we were not willing to take.

    Our pledge to you, our loyal viewers, is that Comedy Central will continue to produce and provide the best comedy available and we will continue to push it right to the edge, using and defending the First Amendment in the most responsible way we know how.

    Sincerely,
    Comedy Central Viewer Services




    What are your views?
     
  2. RotoSequence

    RotoSequence Lazy Lurker

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    My issue with that is that theyre saying that those who make threats win; safety or not (how many muslims are actually going to SEE this anyway?), theyre letting extremists win rather than let a point through. They took the side of caution for an understandable reason, but I think they should have gone ahead with it anyway.
     
  3. greensabbath

    greensabbath Got Wood?

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    i can see why they censor it and they did give valid points in the letter, although today i saw an episide where christopher reeve broke fetuses in half and drank their blood to get their stem cells which was actually quite gross but in most cases now adays, the people they make fun of aren't about to become extremely violent, and given the nature and sensitivity of those involved with this subject, the muhommad thing, i can see why they would spare us the possible repurcustions of a group that has already voiced their disdain in very violent ways
     
  4. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Thanks for reposting, Malf, interesting read.
     
  5. Krikkit

    Krikkit All glory to the hypnotoad! Super Moderator

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    I can see why they did it and sympathize, but it's a little disappointing.

    In the end, let's be honest, is the pleasure of seeing a jokey image of Muhammed worth risking the lives of the general public? Personally, I'd say not, and the message from the episodes definately got through.

    As for series 10, I'm a little disappointed atm, Matt and Trey seem to be getting a little high on their horses making such blatant political statements, as opposed to the old-school crazy episodes (e.g. Scott Tenorman must die, Good times with weapons etc).
     
  6. Stokesy

    Stokesy What's a Dremel?

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    I downloaded a copy that was labelled as 'uncensored' where you could see Mohammed. They actually censored out his image in the version that was broadcast?
     
  7. Malvolio

    Malvolio .

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    Its a repost :eyebrow: Where?
     
  8. Krikkit

    Krikkit All glory to the hypnotoad! Super Moderator

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    Where the hell did you find that? Seems strange that that could even have found it's way onto the internet seenas no-one broadcast it...
    Could be a fake, or it could be a leak from within Comedy Central.
     
  9. Malvolio

    Malvolio .

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    While watching some older episodes I've found something interesting out: south park has showed Muhammad previously, with absolutely no issue. What episode? Season 5, episode 4, "Super Best Friends", where he played a very key role.

    Looks like the Washington Post are reporting that Matt and Trey are not too happy over what Comedy Central did.
     
  10. Halgy3000

    Halgy3000 What's a Dremel?

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    I actually thought it was just part of the episode. I thought it was funny.

    But in any case, I don't blame Comedy Central from censoring the image of Mohammad. Sure, they could have put him out there, but that would have made a lot of people really unhappy and may have started a riot or something. Doing something just because you can is not a great reason.

    PEACE
     
  11. Malvolio

    Malvolio .

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    Censoring something because a couple people in another country gets offended by a picture is not a great reason.

    The entire point this episode/debate is about, amazingly enough, is that we should be tolerant of other peoples view-point, but not to allow them to scare us into doing something stupid.

    This is terrorism, and they have won.

    People have died in the past so we had the ability to get offended and show offensive things, and now people are dieing because of offensive things, which is taking away any right to be offended, saying to the common person: "hey, are you offended? Great! As you don't have to be slightly uncomfortable with how somebody else is! Just kill/sue/hurt them and we'll out-law it!"
     
  12. greensabbath

    greensabbath Got Wood?

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    I agree that is terrorism to a degree. I couldn't care less how much these people would be offended. Trey and Matt were making fun of (as usual) something that they saw as extremely stupid, killing people over a cartoon, no matter how offensive it is, its completely moronic and immature. On second thought, i wish the uncensored episode had been run which possibly would have proved their point even further if a similar reaction had happened in the US
     
  13. Callum

    Callum What's a Dremel?

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    Greensabbath: You think it would be a good thing if this cartoon caused people to be killed, in order to prove a point!?
     
  14. Stokesy

    Stokesy What's a Dremel?

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    It was up on Isohunt. I think it came out a day before the episode aired so it was probably a leak
     
  15. mookboy

    mookboy BRAAAAAAP

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    I don't see how this is letting the terrorists win. Showing an image of Mohammed is offensive to any Muslim. End of discussion. It's not that they are being too touchy about the issue, it's actually ingrained within their religious beliefs. It's so irritating to me that we, in the West, feel so intellectually enlightened as to think we can dispense with religion and therefore poke fun at other peoples without regard for their feelings. Why do we (and I use that generally) think we can trample all over someone elses culture and belief system in the name of entertainment? And not particularly good entertainment at that either...
     
  16. Malvolio

    Malvolio .

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    You don't see how terrorists are winning, mookboy? Think about it: why was it pulled? Because threats were made, violence has happened, and comedy central were scared to run it.

    Sounds like terrorism to me.

    Oh, and showing an image of Mohammed is offensive if you're Muslim. Amazingly enough, the whole idea is that it is only offensive if it is a Muslim reproducing it. Basically: it's the direct opposite of how homosexual people are allowed to say the word f*g without it being censored/causing offense.

    As well, we "in the west" don't feel we can dispense with religion, we just feel that there is this silly thing called freedom. Stupid idea, I know. Amazingly enough, nobody in the world has any right not to be offended by what they see on TV - it just so happens that lately the courts/government has been stupid enough to put through some rather idiotic laws which make absolutely no sense.
     
  17. greensabbath

    greensabbath Got Wood?

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    Not necessarily, its just really annoying and dissappointing that if those people get offended, they can't just make a formal complaint and keep things civil
     
  18. mookboy

    mookboy BRAAAAAAP

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    And so goes the cliche.

    CC pulled it, no doubt, as they expected to be confronted with another bout of controversy a la the Danish newspaper problems. Threats were not made. How could they have been? The episode was censored before being run. Is it now a case of we're letting 'the terrorists' win by not offending the religious beliefs of millions and millions of people?

    That not only makes no sense, but is a totally irrelevant comparison to make. By that logic you obviously want to use the word f*g to refer to homosexuals and feel annoyed you cannot... hey why not complain about being unable to call black people n*****s too? That would the next logical step, right? That example you use is down to the fact that when a term of abuse is adopted and used by those it is meant to insult, then it loses it's power of abuse - hence why black Americans began using the N word to refer to one another. The same with the gay community and their use of any one of the words juvenile, young men think are OK to band about the place in lieu of something more witty or intelligent. It shows a lack of fear of the word and the people that use it to intimidate and offend - which has nothing what so ever to do with causing mass offense to an entire culture and religion.

    So by that arguement, everyone has a right to make light of anything they like, because of freedom? They can cause as much distress and offence to perfectly innocent, law abiding people... in the name of popular entertainment? That would be just insane. Thankfully some of us still have some morals when it comes to this sort of thing, and can accept that there are somethings that are out of bounds. Instead of the philosophical sludge that people trudge out in just this sort of situation to try and defend their right to stomp allover other peoples sensibilities and beliefs.
     
  19. Lord_A

    Lord_A Boom baby!

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    Yes, everyone does have the right to make fun of whatever they like, just as long as it's done sensibly, i.e: not overboard. If you actaully watch the uncensored episode you will see that they are not taking the piss or mocking the prophet, they are just trying to make a point, which now unfortunately has been lost.

    TBH I am pretty pissed off about this whole 'oh we're Muslim you can't touch us otherwise we'll terrorise you' rubbish. The Muslim faith is no more holy or special than any other, hence it can be made fun of just as every other faith.
     
  20. Tulatin

    Tulatin The Froggy Poster

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    There's a difference between being politically correct, and being smart. Where's the sense in doing something when you KNOW it's going to piss people off. Why don't you just walk down the street in harlem, and scream "What's up [You get the rest]". Same idea. People got offended by the cartoons, VERY offended. That, and it's not like there's 2 or 3 Muslims in America who go "oh, you ****s" and get mad. It's 2-3 or 20-30 million. Do you want to FUBAR your customers by pissing them off that badly?
     

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