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Did Comedy Central Censor South Park?

Did Comedy Central censor tonight's episode of South Park? The answer would appear to be YES.

[THURSDAY NIGHT UPDATE: In an interview Thursday evening, South Park Executive Producer Anne Garefino explained to me that Comedy Central censored the episode out of fear (not tolerance) and gives details here on how the battle whether to air the Mohammed scene continued until late Tuesday night, less than 24 hours before airing the episode.]

[UPDATE from Thursday early afternoon and updated again Thursday night: In response to my inquiries whether the statement aired on South Park on Wednesday night was accurate, early this morning an official with media relations at Comedy Central gave me an evasive answer, "Well, not exactly." He then referred me to a Comedy Central VP who [was either away from his desk or on another call when I tried to reach him three times over a 15-20 minute period. Apparently, he promptly returned my call within a few minutes of my last morning call, leaving me a voice mail message that I didn't pick up until late Thursday afternoon, after I had already spoken with him.]]

But Stephen Spruiell at NRO now has a confirmation of the censorship claim made on South Park (and first posted here on VC on Wednesday night).

A spokesman for Comedy Central told NRO:

They reflected it accurately. That was a Comedy Central decision.

NRO goes on to say: "Just in case there was any confusion, that settles it. Comedy Central censored the image."

Comedy Central has now released a brief statement:

"In light of recent world events, we feel we made the right decision." ]

In Wednesday's episode, part II of "Cartoon Wars," Kyle (one of the boys of South Park) persuades the President of Fox TV to run a Family Guy episode with a short scene including Mohammed. Kyle lectures the head of FOX about the importance of free speech:

"You can't do what he wants just because he's the one threatening you with violence. . . .

Yes, people can get hurt. That's how terrorism works. But if you give in to that, Doug, you're allowing terrorism to work. . . .

Do the right thing, Mr. President. . . .

If you don't show Mohammed, then you've made a distinction between what is OK to make fun of and what isn't. Either it's all OK or none of it is. Do the right thing."

At the point in the South Park episode where Mohammed is about to be shown handing a football helmet (with a salmon on top of it) to the Family Guy, the screen shows these words:

"In this shot, Mohammed hands a football helmet to Family Guy."

The next screen shows these words:

"Comedy Central has refused to broadcast an image of Mohammed on their network."

In the South Park episode, President Bush then sees the image of Mohammed supposedly broadcast on Family Guy (which Comedy Central censored us from seeing) and says,

"Hey, that wasn't bad at all. They just showed Mohammed standing there, looking normal."

Al Qaeda retaliates by broadcasting its own cartoon showing Americans, President Bush, and Jesus "crapping" on each other and the American flag.

"Al-Zawahri" then praises his retaliatory cartoon:

"Oh Yeah. Take THAT! We Burned you! That was way funnier than Family Guy."

Thus, from the South Park episode itself, it appears that tonight: "Comedy Central has refused to broadcast an image of Mohammed on their network." To be certain of this, one would want confirmation from Comedy Central or the South Park creators.

Tonight's episode is being rebroadcast on Comedy Central at midnight ET Wednesday night and 10pm ET Thursday night.

It should be noted that a 2001 episode of South Park included Mohammed.

UPDATE: As one of the comments below notes, Comedy Central apparently allows South Park to show Jesus defacating on others and being defacated on, but prohibits showing Mohammed "just standing there, looking normal."

Unfortunately, until Comedy Central or Matt Stone and Trey Parker make clear whether South Park was indeed censored, one can't know for sure. The "play within a play" format renders things a tad uncertain.

FURTHER UPDATE: There is much more at

Malkin (including clips and links).

Also:
Instapundit,
NRO,
the Captain,
Iowa Voice,
Anchoress
,
Political Pit Bull
,
Right Wing News
,
Tammy Bruce,
Coalition of the Swilling,
Malcontent,
You Tube,
TV Squad,
Pretend Pundit.

FURTHER, FURTHER (late Thursday afternoon) UPDATE:

This post has been updated here, here, here, here, including a link to the [fake] censored clip from Wednesday's episode. [I deleted a still picture here because it and the clip from which it was taken are fakes .]

JoeSchmoe:
If Comedy Central in fact censored this show, everyone at the network should lower their heads in shame. They will not show one picture of Mohammed, even when he is just "standing there, looking normal," but it is okay to depict Jesus defecating on people? Can they really be this hypocritical, or are they just that cowardly?
4.13.2006 1:14am
Constantin:
With very few exceptions, the collected U.S. media has forever ceded any right to gripe about the abridgement of its First Amendment rights in any situation short of actual, coercive government mandate. Like Stan said last week, there's a big difference between "believing" in free speech and fighting to protect it.

Moral of this story: terrorism works. For all of the hokey "If you do/don't do X, the terrorists win" stuff from five years ago, it actually applies here. And they won.
4.13.2006 1:26am
18 USC 1030 (mail):
Yes, they censored it, I just watched the re-air. I thought it a nice touch, censor Mohammed; yet, show Jesus pooping on Bush, the American Flag, and a bunch of other people. I can deal with the pooping Jesus, but if that is ok then it is all ok. What is the deal with the one religion bad the other ok stuff? I understand the issue with the cartoons, but if you are going to censor that, then censor the other as well. Sure depictions of Jesus and depictions of Mohammed are not the same because of the intrinsic belief. However, I'd say pooping Jesus is a bit contrary to Christianity.
4.13.2006 1:35am
18 USC 1030 (mail):
Oh yea, I forgot to put it in there: I say show it all.
4.13.2006 1:36am
Ace (mail):
Didn't Comedy Central already run an image of Mohammed in the "super best friends" episode? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Best_Friends
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Mohammed1.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:504_superbest.gif

Second, did anyone catch the "slippery slope" reference when Kyle is talking to Cartman about the conversation that Kyle had with "Bart"?

Third, did anyone think that this episode made George Bush look like a defender of free speech?
4.13.2006 1:37am
Ross Levatter (mail):
I guess in the nature of the question it might be hard to say, but I would think that a show lampooning censorship saying, on the show, "Comedy Central censored this" is making a joke. It sort of proves their point--that a double standard exists--in a clever way. Does anyone have an explicit statement from a Comedy Central spokesman confirming they REALLY censored the show.(It's sort of like performance art, in a way...)

Censoring South Park is like trying to air condition hell... :-)
4.13.2006 1:40am
John Armstrong (mail):
My immediate impression was that the "censored" panels were part of the joke. As evidence, why have anyone describe the scene if it was intended (by Matt and Trey) to be shown at all?

I'm sure that soon enough either M&T or Comedy Central will make some sort of clarification for everyone out there who's ready to go off half-cocked about hypocrisy.
4.13.2006 1:45am
DoubleDownRob:
Since I haven't seen any commentary from Matt and Trey on this issue, I think they wrote the episode exactly as it aired. I don't think Comedy Central censored that, i think Matt and Trey wrote the censor in, to further drive home the point that censorship, no matter the culture or reason is stupid and wrong. They are trying to show that they can and will make fun of whoever they damn well please. And furthermore, they are pointing out the stupidity and hypocracy of the american christian public. So people will complain about them showing Jesus pooping on George Bush, and complain about censoring an image of Mohammed, but you never hear any complaints about the fact that Cartman makes fun of Kyle being Jewish in every episode i can remember. And he often calls him things like a "Rat Jew bastard" or accuses him of hoarding gold. Americans never stand up and complain about jew bashing on the show, but they will moan and complain about Mohammed censorship in one breath and complain about negative images of Jesus in the next? Matt and Trey learned well from George Carlin: everything is funny in the right context. and if we as a people aren't allowed to make the jokes, then whats the point of being free, or for that matter, being alive?

Oh, and yes, Mohammed was one of the Super Best Friends, in an episode they did several years ago, in season 5. and no one started a riot or burned anything down then. Oh, and if i haven't offered enough opinions yet, here's one more: I don't care what your religion says about depictions of Mohammed or Jesus or anyone. If you start a riot or commit acts of violence because someone drew a picture, than you are an asshole and you are not a civilized human being. If you commit acts of violence in the name of religion, any religion (this goes just as much for christians who do things like bomb abortion clinics) then you don't deserve to live in civilization with the rest of us, and you should be jailed forever for not only your act but for making everyone who peacefully believes what you do look bad.
4.13.2006 1:53am
Jared_F:
DDR,

SP has shown that after 22.3 years, even AIDS becomes funny.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jared_Has_Aides
4.13.2006 2:05am
anonymous coward:
Of course, South Park has also had problems with other religions recently...
4.13.2006 2:09am
John Jenkins (mail):
I'm pretty sure the censorship is part of the joke, as noted above. There's no reason for CC to even show the episode if they're actually willing to censor it. I think this is a misplaced reaction to the joke.
4.13.2006 2:12am
U.Va. 1L (mail):
Absent any word to the contrary, I think the best assumption is that the episode aired exactly as planned. As DoubleDownRob notes, those inserted titles provide them with a good way to make fun of Christians and Muslims both.
4.13.2006 2:25am
Major:
I imagine it was both censored and aired as intended. South Park probably asked knowing they would be shot down. If Comedy Central won't mock Scientology, and almost no serious news outlet will depict Muhammad, then one can be certain Comedy Central won't mockingly depict Muhammad.

Therefore, you ask "Can we show Muhammad handing Peter Griffin a football helmet with a salmon on it?" You are told "No." Then you are free to make your point about censorship in the most powerful possible way—while actually being censored.
4.13.2006 2:29am
roy (mail) (www):
John,

CC is clever enough to make money off the attention even though the show made fun of the network. The controversy attracts viewers without alienating sponsors. Assuming the network execs are willing to look like pansies so long as they can be wealthy pansies, it's entirely plausible that they censored the show and let it air with the "Comedy Central has refused..." note.
4.13.2006 2:31am
Zach (mail):
Assuming the network execs are willing to look like pansies so long as they can be wealthy pansies, it's entirely plausible that they censored the show and let it air with the "Comedy Central has refused..." note.

That sounds too clever by half.

Then you are free to make your point about censorship in the most powerful possible way—while actually being censored.

This sounds more plausible.
4.13.2006 2:47am
Justin (mail):
All of a sudden, the marketplace of ideas fails. It's amazing how conservatives "discover" the fact that private organizations can exert political power when the mood strikes them.....

Since Comedy Central is not the government, and South Park entered into their contracts freely, isn't it in liberterianworld by definition not censorship? What am I missing here, other than the conservative issue du jour (the right to offend people based on their...religion? Well, conservatives have never been accused of consistency! :) )
4.13.2006 3:19am
Maniakes (mail) (www):
The issue here is that the 'censorship' is motivated by a credible threat of violence, which makes it Not Cool in libertarianworld.
4.13.2006 3:24am
HLSbertarian (mail):
Justin said: Since Comedy Central is not the government, and South Park entered into their contracts freely, isn't it in liberterianworld by definition not censorship? What am I missing here, other than the conservative issue du jour (the right to offend people based on their...religion? Well, conservatives have never been accused of consistency! :) )

Calling something censorship doesn't equate to calling it illegal, or suggesting that it be remedied by law. No one here has suggested, so far, that CC has no right to censor its shows, just that it's a bad idea for it to do so. Something like: I disagree with what you don't say, but I'll defend to the death your right not to say it.

PS: I'm with those that believe that the episode was either written as aired or, at most, that Matt and Trey pitched it expecting to have the scene censored (as Major suggested above.)
4.13.2006 3:37am
SG:
Justin,

It's clearly censorship, but it's not government censorship. Comedy Central is within their rights to show or not show whatever they wish, and others have the right to criticize their judgement. No one's accusing Comedy Central of violating anyone's rights, just have having poor judgement.

In this case, and assuming that CC did in fact censor the episode, CC has allowed a depiction of Jesus literally being defecated on, but an image of Mohammed just standing there was unacceptable. The obvious conclusion is that their censorship was not motivated by some highminded desire to avoid offending people, but was instead coerced by a fear of violent consequences from offending Muslims.

Does the fact that violence is being rewarded strike you as a problem?

Or is your interest piqued only when you can blame conservatives for something? After all, you surely know full well what the issue at hand is, yet somehow you managed to find a way to turn it into a "conservatives are bad" strawman to whack on. Believe it or not, there are issues in the world that manage to transcend a "conservatives are bad/liberals are good" analysis. Or have you found nothing that can't be reduced to that?

Personally, I'm having a bout of insominia. Damn George Bush!
4.13.2006 4:00am
Bob Loblaw (www):

However, I'd say pooping Jesus is a bit contrary to Christianity.
I think I missed that lesson in Sunday school.
4.13.2006 4:20am
john dickinson (mail) (www):
I have a good pic of the "Super Best Friends" Muhammed character here.
4.13.2006 4:52am
Omnimutant (mail) (www):
I belive that Matt and Trey censored the episode themselves for one reason and one reason only. They Love to make people freak out. It is genius that that episode got censored (weather intentional or not), because you were all expecting to see an image of Mohammed and you did'nt get to see it. I think that was planed to a tee and it's exaclty what the entire episode is about. They know that we have all seen Mohammed in the Super Best freinds Episode. It was genius for them to censor it because you wern't missing anything that you havent all ready seen.

Which brings me to the bigger picture. A Cartoon image of Mohammed giving a football helmet with a fish on it to another cartoon image was sensored and were all ticked about it. Were not ticked about the fact that we did not get to actually see somthing as minial as that, were ticked off because it was "censored". That in and off itself was a demonstration of just how precious and important freedom of speech really is. This eposide was a civic's leson. We all learned just how much we value our freedoms by having it taken from us for a brief second even when the topic was so minial that really nobody would have cared if it was in any other situation.

Good Stuff!
4.13.2006 5:05am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
One reason that I love South Park, besides having it geographically so close (most often, within 30 miles and one relatively low mountain pass) is that they do so well at investigating all these sacred cows and political correctness. I fall into the school of believing, until and unless we find to the contrary, that this was all planned by the SP creators. It was integrated just too well to be a last minute thing.

I think that part of the allure is that it is such a sophisticated usage of the phrase, "out of the mouth of babes...".
4.13.2006 6:07am
rbj:
I keep hearing the SP announcer saying "Who censored South Park"

The Mohammed in the SuperBestFriends episode is not so relevant, because that was before the Islamists decided to create a violent controversy over depictions of Mohammed. It did take months before the Danish cartoons were turned into a cause for rioting.
4.13.2006 9:17am
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Justin, I'm disappointed in your reaction. As someone pointed out, this is more than an election issue - liberal or conservative - I think we can all get behind the idea that free speech ought to be defended from threats of violence.

Indeed, while CC remains free to protect its interests by censoring itself, you are incorrect to point out that this is a product of a fair marketplace of ideas. The self-censorship would not be an issue - the mohammad episodes would not be necessary - were it not for the ever-present threat of Islamist, shall we say, overreaction.
4.13.2006 9:34am
Wahoobudd (mail):
I am assuming you guys are joking about all this right? I mean, clearly this was part of their joke.
4.13.2006 9:36am
Major:
Of course it is part of the joke, but I have to believe that Matt and Trey at least pitched showing Muhammad, albeit expecting to have the scene censored.

They said in black and white text that "Comedy Central has refused to broadcast an image of Mohammed on their network." Irreverent as they are, I doubt they would broadcast an outright lie about their network. Pitching it and being rejected is the CYA thing to do.
4.13.2006 9:47am
Reality Man:
People, you're missing the point of the episode. The whole thing is a shot at Comedy Central for not airing "Trapped in the Closet" after Isaac Hayes left the show and Tom Cruise allegedly threatened Comedy Central if they aired that episode again (which pokes fun at scientology).

Not showing Muhammad was a deliberate jab at Comedy Central for not showing the scientology episode again, in fact both these recent episodes were about Comedy Central using the disguise of the Islam cartoons.
4.13.2006 10:04am
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Reality Man, you are seriously oversimplifying this if you think that it's just about scientology. Sure enough, that's in the background, but you can rest equally assured that Matt and Trey take the Muslim threat to free speech very seriously.
4.13.2006 10:10am
Major:
Reality Man,

That goes without saying, but what does that have to do with the topic of this thread, which is "Did Comedy Central Censor South Park?" (again).
4.13.2006 10:12am
Pyrrhus (mail) (www):
Interesting tidbit from the wikipedia article on the episode:

"
When trying to convince the Fox President to air the show, Kyle says, "Yes, people can get hurt. That's how terrorism works. But if you give in to that, Doug, you're allowing terrorism to work." At no point was it established that the President of Fox's name was Doug. This is probably a reference to Comedy Central's President Doug Herzog referring to whether Comedy Central would air the image of Mohammed uncensored, or pull from rebroadcast controversial episodes such as "Bloody Mary" or "Trapped in the Closet."
"

Does this suggest that comedy central may indeed have prohibitted depictions of mohammed, at least at the level described by Major?
4.13.2006 10:18am
Pyrrhus (mail) (www):
oh and here is the link to the wikipedia article:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartoon_Wars_Part_II
4.13.2006 10:19am
Pluto's Dad (mail) (www):
I don't know if Trey and Matt are playing a joke on us, or if Comedy Central really did refuse to show the images. I am inclined to believe that CC refused to show Mohammed.

However, the REAL crime, is that the past 2 episodes were simply not very funny.
4.13.2006 10:21am
Joshua (www):
There is one way to find out whether this was censorship or just another joke: Wait for the DVD release.

When you watch the show on DVD, it's on, well, your DVD player, not on Comedy Central, so what they do or don't want to put on their network is irrelevant.

If the two text panels are still there in place of Mohammed, then it's pretty safe to conclude that those are part of the gag. If, on the other hand, Mohammed is actually shown on the DVD version, then it's just as safe to conclude that Comedy Central did, in fact, censor the image of Mohammed.

Of course there's also a third possibility, that the DVD distributor might have the Mohammed images censored, in which case the text panels would presumably remain, with the second one changed accordingly.
4.13.2006 10:24am
Jake (www):
I also was unsure about the status of the censor, as I commented here, but after reading all of your comments, I bet it was staged after all.

I'm glad I read a lot of the above though, because I didn't even catch the fact that Jesus was shown pooping on everybody as just another smart twist.

Man, this show is just great. Anyone catch the other self-referencial joke about how at least Family Guy is not being all "self-righteous and preachy"?
4.13.2006 10:37am
Justin (mail):
I think the point is that while one should condemn the violence in Denmark, people on the right are coming off like a bunch of hypocrites who hate brown people.

Let's not forget that showing Mohommad *is* offensive..to all Muslims, not just the ones who riot. If I go around offending Christianity every time some Christians did something stupid in the name of Christ, I'd be labeled a jack***. Because, I'd be one!!

And yet the right seems to orgasm every time Islam is offended (come on, let's do it!!! Let's reprint the cartoons!!!! It's..uhh...1st Amendment!!! or wait, private..that doesn't work...okay, it's CENSORSHIP!!!). And when people decide to act in good taste, the right goes nuts on them.

I doubt it was censored in this instance. But if it was, are you really going to sit here and go apesh** over Comedy Central's decision not to offend people? Granted, Comedy Central offends people all the time, but if you're going to get actually ANGRY at them not offending one particular group of people...that's bigotry, and there's no way around that.
4.13.2006 10:37am
TallDave (mail) (www):
My guess, based on how this stuff usually works, is that Matt and Trey were told that the portion with Mohammed could not be shown. So they added the part describing it.

So (my guess is) the espisode WAS aired as written, and WAS censored.

Granted, Comedy Central offends people all the time, but if you're going to get actually ANGRY at them not offending one particular group of people...that's bigotry, and there's no way around that.

No, actually, saying "we're going to offend every group of people EXCEPT this one" is bigotry. Demanding everyone be treated equally is precisely the opposite of bigotry.
4.13.2006 10:42am
Justin (mail):
Yes, Jake. Comedy Central is bigoted against 98% of their consuming audience. They just don't like you and hope you die. ::shakes head::
4.13.2006 10:54am
Joshua (www):
Also to respond to Justin, South Park has depicted Mohammed before without being censored. The only relevant circumstance that's changed since then is that mocking Mohammed, which obviously wasn't enough to attract unwanted and potentially violent attention from Islamists the first time around, just as obviously is enough to do so today. So, if there was indeed censorship going on here, I can only conclude that it was out of fear of reprisal, not PC sensitivity.
4.13.2006 10:55am
Justin (mail):
Sorry, that was meant for TallDave.

I don't think, btw, that Muslems are asking Comedy Central to offend, say, Mormans. That's just not their battle. And if the ADL is more concerned about Anti-Semitism than they are about, say, racism, that's not bigotry in my book.
4.13.2006 10:56am
Justin (mail):
Well, Joshua, two points

1) One of the major incentives large corporations have to not be offensive is the boycott. That's called a free market. (The idea that Comedy Central is worried about riots in Studio City is patently absurd).

2) Wouldn't a much more reasonable alterntative to this illogical "fear of reprisal" be that when they first showed it several years ago they were not aware that it was particularly offensive?
4.13.2006 10:58am
Justin (mail):
Well, Joshua, two points

1) One of the major incentives large corporations have to not be offensive is the boycott. That's called a free market. (The idea that Comedy Central is worried about riots in Studio City is patently absurd).

2) Wouldn't a much more reasonable alterntative to this illogical "fear of reprisal" be that when they first showed it several years ago they were not aware that it was particularly offensive?
4.13.2006 10:58am
Daniel Chapman (mail):
My guess is that "the point" had nothing to do with people on the right hating brown people, Justin.
4.13.2006 10:59am
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Justin, as much as you wish it were so, no one is orgasming at the thought of Islam being offended. It's hardly an unnatural or an indefensible reaction, when confronted with a conditional threat to assert your right to free speech by defying the condition.

Seriously, don't you ever get tired of the whole "neo-cons have texas crude and blood of innocents pumping through their blackened hearts" schtick? The DU is that way.
4.13.2006 11:01am
Pyrrhus (mail) (www):
Hmmm. And here is another factoid from the wikipedia article that suggests that CC did NOT censor the episode:

"
Even though the entire plot of the episode is about the censorship of Muhammad, an image of the prophet actually appears in the opening credits. (He's standing next to Satan and Scott Tenorman in the final shot of the sequence)
"
4.13.2006 11:01am
TallDave (mail) (www):
Justin,

Yes, saying "we're going censor the mocking of Mohammed, but not anyone's else's sacred cow" is bigoted.

If you don't think so, consider the reaction if they aired an episode that mocked every religious figure except Jesus, on the grounds the Religious Right would get angry. We'd hear umpteen ACLU lawyers decrying our "theocracy."
4.13.2006 11:01am
ctb:
Justin,

I doubt that depicting Mohammed is offensive to all muslims. But, hey maybe you have actually asked them all and I haven't. But I'll bet that many, and I would hope most, are not offended by respectful depictions. If all are offended by the mere depiction, well then there there goes the idea that most muslims not fanatics. But I just don't believe that.
4.13.2006 11:04am
Sydney Carton (www):
Justin: "I think the point is that while one should condemn the violence in Denmark, people on the right are coming off like a bunch of hypocrites who hate brown people."

How so? Everyone here is talking about censorship because of the threat of violence. It has nothing to do with anyone's race or color. Stop projecting your psychological biases onto people discussing this topic.

"If I go around offending Christianity every time some Christians did something stupid in the name of Christ, I'd be labeled a jack***."

Christianity is insulted nearly every day on this blog. You can't read a thread related to religion here without somebody deliberately and intentionally insulting Christianity. And being labeled a jack*** is hardly the worst thing to befall you. It's no crime, and it is hardly the equivilent of threatening violence on someone. Something which, none of the Christians on this blog who've been insulted have never done, I might point out.
4.13.2006 11:04am
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):

1) One of the major incentives large corporations have to not be offensive is the boycott. That's called a free market. (The idea that Comedy Central is worried about riots in Studio City is patently absurd).

Yeah... no....


A Danish newspaper that ran a series of cartoons of the prophet Muhammad is still feeling the heat from their publication, having received a bomb threat one day after printing an apology to the Muslim world.


That was just the first google result. There were a few thousand more when you hit "muslim" + "cartoon" + "threat."

Fear of boycott if a financial incentive, and indeed a product of the market. It's not called a "boycott" though when someone blows themselves up in, say, a cafe near your office.
4.13.2006 11:05am
The Monster (mail):
The word 'censorship', in order to mean anything in a political context, has to include the (implied) threat of force. If Comedy Central decides that they don't want to air another depiction of Muhammed, that is 'editorial discretion'. It doesn't prevent others from transmitting whatever they want. On the other hand, when islamofascists threaten violence against anyone who does it, that's censorship. On the gripping hand, if the reason CC decides to exercise editorial discretion is the threat of violence, then it's also self-censorship.
4.13.2006 11:06am
Justin (mail):
I'm not going to respond to 50 different commenters (I have a job and everything), but I think we should all remember the two wrongs don't make a right thing. And there'd be one thing between tolerating offensive speech (which we should, of course, do) and getting upset with the idea of NOT BEING OFFENSIVE. If Eugene Volokh made a statement that one can criticize Christianity, but if you were just going to do something purely for the purposes of being offensive towards Christianity, you'd be banned - that would be the appropriate analogy. And I think anyone who fights for their right to offend Christians are like those Christians who fight for their rights to offend homosexuals. They're correct on the law, and their rights should be protected, but they should also feel a little bit ashamed of themselves, too.
4.13.2006 11:08am
Justin (mail):
And once again, the idea that Comedy Central is worried about violence being done to it in Studio City, Los Angeles,CA is rediculous. Just because it's a rallying cry of the right doesn't mean it isn't absurd on its face.
4.13.2006 11:09am
TallDave (mail) (www):
And once again, the idea that Comedy Central is worried about violence being done to it in Studio City, Los Angeles,CA is rediculous.

Yeah, just ask Pim Fortuyn and Theo Van Gogh.

Oh, wait, they're dead because they offended Muslims.
4.13.2006 11:10am
TallDave (mail) (www):
but if you were just going to do something purely for the purposes of being offensive towards Christianity,

Dude. Have you ever even SEEN South Park?
4.13.2006 11:12am
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Justin, you again fail to observe the relevant parallel. Offending homosexuals for the sake of offending them serves no purpose - that much is true. Offending some Muslims in the context of a Muslim threat of violence serves to vindicate our threatened right to speak freely. Last time I checked, Mario Cantone wasn't threatening to strap on a suicide belt and blow himself up on a bus. The Muslims are threatening precisely that.
4.13.2006 11:14am
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Correction - Muslims are not threatening to blow themselves up on buses. They are actually doing it.
4.13.2006 11:15am
Sydney Carton (www):
"And once again, the idea that Comedy Central is worried about violence being done to it in Studio City, Los Angeles,CA is rediculous."

Liberals never believe in the threat of violence. They don't believe it when someone has a gun to your head. And they don't believe in using violence to protect themselves. That's why they're all wimps, and why thugs always win under a liberal.
4.13.2006 11:16am
Jim O'Sullivn (mail) (www):
Terrorism truly works. If Christians want to stop offensive depictions of Christ, they must recruit suicide bombers. Nothing short of that works, but that works very well.
4.13.2006 11:17am
Philip Cassini (mail):
Justin, you believe that it's okay to be offensive to Christians, but not to Muslims. That makes you the bigot. Also, read a history textbook; depictions of Mohammed are not forbidden in Islam, and in fact exist by the thousand throughout the Muslim world. Thirdly, even if all Muslims believed that depictions of Mohammed are forbidden to Muslims, the rest of us aren't Muslims and do not have to abide by those religious edicts. Your ignorance is quite stunning.
4.13.2006 11:17am
nooner (mail) (www):
It is also worth noting that the "Super Best Friends" episode ran in syndication on March 13, 2006, after the controversy erupted, and no one made a peep.
4.13.2006 11:23am
TallDave (mail) (www):
South Park deliberately sets out to offend just about every group at one point or another. It's pretty much the whole premise of the show. So when we say "Whoa! Hold on! Can't offend the Muslims, that's different from everyone else." it should be beyond obvious that there's a problem with that.

I mean, really. Are we going to shut down abortion clinics because some extremist Christians credibly threaten violence against them? By extension, are we going to censor discussions of abortion for the same reason? It's inconceivable.

This an outgrowth of the "multiculturalism" movement that says we have to "respect the other" in ways we would never accept if applied to our own majority groups. Issues like this expose the essential illogic of the whole idea.
4.13.2006 11:25am
TallDave (mail) (www):
Oh, one last thing I should point out:

The entire original Mohammed cartoon controversy was a fraud.

It was cooked by power-hungry mullahs who went around showing the cartoons along with some fake pictures (one wasn't even of Mohammed) to stir up resentment.

That's why, as nooner points out, the original S Park episode with Mohammed drew no controversy. The reality is, most Muslims don't really care. It's mostly just a few extremists and opportunists.
4.13.2006 11:29am
danking70:
Either South Park was censored or Matt and Trey set Comedy Central up for a ton of protest letters, hate mail, and other unpleasantries.

One way or the other we should find out the truth soon under this scenario.
4.13.2006 11:30am
EstablishmentClaus (mail) (www):
Phil,

I don't agree with Justin, but to be fair, that's not at all what he's saying.

What he's saying is this: you have a legal right to offend Christians, and a legal right to offend Muslims. However, if you're a good person, you won't go out and do it for no reason. The fact that a bunch of Muslims went crazy when someone offended them and Christians generally take it with a little more sang-froid doesn't mean that you're not kind of a jerk if you go around offending people just for the giggles.
4.13.2006 11:31am
Reality Man:
Again your all missing the point.

Comedy Central did not censor Muhammed. Not at all. Matt and Trey wrote that in. What they DID do is pull the scientology episode because of Viacom and Tom Cruise.

Matt and Trey struck back by using the Muslim situation. Fox is Comedy Central and Islam is Scientology... its that simple. Hell, Kyle used Comedy Central's President's name Doug when talking to the Fox President.

Matt and Trey are not "cowering" to Islam and the threats of Muhammed, they are merely making a point about free speech and comedy central's pulling of the scientology episode. They have shown Muhammed before, it's not a big deal to do that for them, what they are pissed about is the pulling of the Scientology episode. So far, the first 3 episodes of the new season have dealt with the pulling of that episdoe.

Seriously people, if you don't get it, just stop watching the show.
4.13.2006 11:31am
Pyrrhus (mail) (www):
Here is a link to the picture of mohammed in the credits of the episode:

The resolution is pretty low, and there's basically no chance that the casual viewer would pick him out, but you can tell it is him by comparing it to pictures from "Super Best Friends":
4.13.2006 11:32am
Joshua (www):
Justin: And once again, the idea that Comedy Central is worried about violence being done to it in Studio City, Los Angeles,CA is rediculous.

TallDave: Yeah, just ask Pim Fortuyn and Theo Van Gogh.

Also ask the staff of the Boston Phoenix. They expressly admitted that it was fear of violence that prompted them not to print the cartoons.
4.13.2006 11:35am
Grimmy:
Guys, guys. And gals. The whole point of showing Jesus in a context most Christians would consider highly offensive is this:

people who do so are usually lauded by their moonbat peers as "BRAVE", "COURAGEOUS", etc. etc. ad nauseam. What Trey and Parker have shown us is that it is not brave at all to abuse followers of a religion that espouses love and turning the other cheek. "Ooh, look at all the nasty emails! We're so brave!" It's just a cheap bid for an Oscar.

Real courage would be offending wackos who threaten your very life. And it's apparently lacking at all levels of the mainstream media.

Another point, of course, is that all those smug appeals for tolerance don't apply to Christianity. Thus the NYT refuses to show the Muhammad cartoons because of not wanting to offend Muslims, yet shows in the same paper a photo of a painting of the Virgin Mary smeared with dung.
4.13.2006 11:37am
Mike P (mail):
It didn't even occur to me that Comedy Central was actually censoring an image of Muhammed. The text panels were part of the joke, especially once Jesus showed up and had a poop fight with the rest of the infidels.

Wasn't the whole point of the episode that having a double standard would lead to further demands by radical Muslims to restrict the free speech rights of the general public, and that multiculti BS doesn't increase tolerance and promote coexistence when one of the factions in question isn't willing to peacefully coexist?
4.13.2006 11:41am
exhelodrvr:
It seems to me that the point of this was to make fun of Islam.
4.13.2006 11:48am
SG:
Actually, I think what Justin's subtext is that if he saw "conservatives" applauding CC's newfound sensitivity toward religious faith and asking that it be extended to Christianity, he would be outraged that CC submit to censorship in any form.

It really seems that Justin is far more concerned with how "conseratives" view an issue that with the issue itself.

It seems rather uninteresting to attempt to debate someone who's analysis doesn't extend beyond reflexive opposition.
4.13.2006 11:51am
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
exhel, to the (limited) extent that you are right, a system of beliefs that says "do as we say or we blow you up," should by all means be made fun of. To the extent that Islam <i>doesn't</i> say that, it was not mocked on South Park.
4.13.2006 11:52am
exhelodrvr:
Mike,

"To the extent that Islam doesn't say that, it was not mocked on South Park."

Actions speak louder than words. Islam pretty clearly does say that.
4.13.2006 11:59am
HLSbertarian (mail):
Justin said: And I think anyone who fights for their right to offend Christians are like those Christians who fight for their rights to offend homosexuals.

EstablishmentClaus said: What he's saying is this: you have a legal right to offend Christians, and a legal right to offend Muslims. However, if you're a good person, you won't go out and do it for no reason.

That's hardly the point. The larger issue is that is that one man's offense is another's criticism, or political commentary, or protest. However, the freedom to do all of the above is often won at the margin by what seems to people like Justin as offense for offense's sake.

Even the offense for offense's sake that seem to get your panties in a twist is actually commentary on what many see as the hypocrisy and hypersensitivity of some Muslims. Consider the chronology: 1)Cartoons published, 2)Muslims say they're offended and start burning things, 3)Many American media outlets self-censor to avoid number 2, 4)South Park mocks number 3. Exactly what part of that involves South Park's supporters hating brown people?

They are lampooning current events. If the Christian Right suddenly claims offense to portrayals of George Bush as a moron, you can bet that American media will be "fight[ing] for their rights to offend" him, because what some have labeled as offense also happens to be their job.

The reason it's bad to divide speech into worthwile commentary and tasteless insult is that the contents of those categories will then depend on who's holding the gun.
4.13.2006 12:04pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
I agree. The most exported version of Islam, so to speak, certainly seems to say that. I'm only saying that SP does not mock Islam in the abstract, or in its entirety. To the extent that Islam was the target, (as opposed to TV execs and US society), only those facets of it were mocked that objectively deserved it - propensity for brutal overreaction and incomprehensible oversensitivity.
4.13.2006 12:06pm
Justin (mail):
BTW, the whole group blame thing is so 1939. Stop blaming "Islam" for a small percentage of the idiots who riot and murder. I guess people are afraid of anything where you can list 2 people who died for those reasons. Maybe I should go divest all my money, since more than 2 people were killed for having money.
4.13.2006 12:10pm
Houston Lawyer:
Clearly, in order to ensure that Christianity is mocked no more than Islam, it is time to reinstitute the Spanish Inquisition.

As has been stated before, those who promote the mocking of all religions other than Islam and Scientology are cowards who should be scorned.

My guess is that the episode played exactly as written.
4.13.2006 12:16pm
Justin (mail):
I think EC sums up my thoughts pretty generally.

People here seem to think that offending Muslims is serving some sort of political message. If I believed that, I'd be fine with the anger in "censoring" that (though, of course, the Dixie Chicks should be banned from all radio! ;) ). Goodness knows that so-called religious leaders in Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Denmark need to learn that what they're doing to their own people and to other peoples is NOT okay.

But I'm not getting a political message from most of the audience. I'm getting the desire to be a political message, but that seems secondary, only searched for upon request. Mainly this is, "hey, dude, let's go make the Muslims go bat**** again. Got any more (if you're in HS) pot? (if you're a college graduate) scotch?"

And while I have no problem with South Park actually offending Muslims (really, its not that big of a deal to be offended, and that's their raison d'etre), which they apparently did, I have no doubt it's because Trey and Matt are immature and juvenile (which is their right, and they're darned good at it), not to serve some greater political message.
4.13.2006 12:16pm
Justin (mail):
"As has been stated before, those who promote the mocking of all religions other than Islam and Scientology are cowards who should be scorned."

Errr, is the set of these people summed up by Isaac Hayes? Or are you happy with your straw man?

I, and my guess is the vast majority of liberals who are, ya know, people who are not athiest, Muslim, or Christian Scientists, have no problem with religion. We have problems when the Pope, or the Shah of Iran, or Jerry Falwell. says that Homosexuality is a sin. We have a problem when the Taliban says "women can't participate in a civil society." We have a problem when Pat Robertson fights for ending welfare. But our opposition isn't to the religion itself, but to the POLITICAL actions of the religious FIGURES and GROUPS.

To the degree Piss Christ (I've never seen it, and have no desire to) is an attempt to offend Christians, its not art - it's just obscenity. To the degree (as some people have told me) that it actually stands for symbolism of how Jesus is corrupted for political purposes, then its art - but the artistic value comes from its political expression, not its offensiveness.
4.13.2006 12:21pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
<blockquote>
BTW, the whole group blame thing is so 1939
</blockquote>
OK, Paging Dr. Godwin...

Justin, the claim that only a small percentage of Muslims have corrupted the otherwise peaceful religion has been demolished handily, too many times. I won't bother to restate it here, except to remind you of demonstrations in the Muslims world, post 9/11.

And divestment is so ISM. No one is saying that we should divest from Muslim countries. We want to see them come into this world, not out of it.

PS take a look at these Pew numbers. I know that facts are pesky when they get in the way of a good disjointed diatribe, but here you go anyway:
http://pewglobal.org/reports/display.php?ReportID=248 ;

Note that those are the "new and improved" numbers, with support for terrorism "waning."
4.13.2006 12:23pm
mtv200 (mail) (www):
good!!!
4.13.2006 12:23pm
The Monster (mail):
No, Justin. If you divest yourself of money because people threaten to kill you because you have it, you're giving in to terrorism.
4.13.2006 12:32pm
TallDave (mail) (www):
I think it's important to understand WHY it seems like a lot of Muslims are extremists, or violent. There are actually structural issues underlying this phenomenon that have little to do with the religion itself.

In much of the Muslim world, governments are autocratic and repressive. They deny the right to form political parties or even gather publicly. In such situations, there can exist only two loci of power: the state, and the one place that the state cannot prevent people from gathering: the mosque. Since there are no institutions to prevent it, the mullahs are generally as repressive and violent in their sphere as the autocrats are in theirs. This dynamic results in the situation we have today.
4.13.2006 12:38pm
Shake-N-Bake (www):
I am 100% convinced that Justin, and quite a few others in this thread, have seen maybe 5 episodes total of South Park, if that. Seriously. A vast majority of the last few years of episodes have had an obvious 'greater message' or some political commentary, as did their movie "Team America". They even made fun of themselves for this very characteristic in this week's episode.

The episodes this week and the last were a dig on Comedy Central for pulling the Scientology episode, a dig on Family Guy (they HATE Family Guy) for being nothing but non sequitur jokes, a dig on themselves for being preachy, and a dig on all the people who throw away free speech because they're afraid of terrorism. The "censored" panel of Muhammed was clearly part of the episode, not something foisted on them by Comedy Central -- the message is significantly stronger with a "censored" panel than without, not to mention the fact that I'm sure they knew it would provoke talk about the episode (thereby increasing ratings).

Reality Man is right -- if you don't get it, quit watching the show. You had to know they were goofing around with it from the moment they made it look like Comedy Central was censoring it by pulling the episode and airing a Terrance and Phillip special.
4.13.2006 12:41pm
Dale Skinner:

Oh, one last thing I should point out:

The entire original Mohammed cartoon controversy was a fraud.

It was cooked by power-hungry mullahs who went around showing the cartoons along with some fake pictures (one wasn't even of Mohammed) to stir up resentment.


Very true. The cartoons were first published last September. The riots only happened a few months ago.
4.13.2006 12:46pm
SG:
Justin,


People here seem to think that offending Muslims is serving some sort of political message. If I believed that, I'd be fine with the anger in "censoring" that


Did you see the episode? Are you blind? They explicitly depicted the president of a television network agonizing over the decision to show Mohammed out of fear of explicitly shown threats of violence if Mohammed were depicted. And then, to make sure you didn't miss the double standard, after refusing to show the Mighty Mo' "just standing there", they showed Christ being defecated on. As someone else pointed out, they were so busy making political commentary, they forgot to be funny.

It was not only clearly political, it wan't even subtle about it. The fact that you're able to miss it says far more about your world view than it does about the episode in question.
4.13.2006 12:49pm
HLSbertarian (mail):
Justin said: People here seem to think that offending Muslims is serving some sort of political message. If I believed that, I'd be fine with the anger in "censoring" that

That's just the problem, Justin. Many people here don't want "Justin believes this has political value" to be a hurdle to expression.
4.13.2006 12:50pm
The Monster (mail):
And when you think about it, a lot of the reason why we have the Welfare/Redistribution/Regulation State is because of fear of the terrorists in the '60s who said they'd "burn that mother down!". By giving in to the demands of organized threat groups, we've reinforced the Hate Whitey rhetoric of the professional race-baiters, whose demands for 'justice' only increase.

Now we're seeing the same thing play out with the immigration issue. The implied threat is that the 12 million illegal immigrants will become violent if we try to deport them, or even if we try to keep even more illegals from crossing our borders.
4.13.2006 12:51pm
cd1974 (mail):
HLSLibertarian has it exactly right. Justin has the right not to "see the value" in this offense, but that doesn't mean it's valueless.

Also, I understand Justin doesn't want to simply see M and T stoke the fire for what he sees as not good reasons, but a lot of South Park's charm comes from doing the most precisely offensive thing they can think of at the time. Why should they change that for one group?

btw, look at the Fav/Unfav ratings for Jews in the Middle East......not so good. Yikes.
4.13.2006 1:00pm
Ammonium (mail):
I'm guessing that the South Park guys had been told long before that they could not show Muhammad. They gave Comedy Central a chance to reverse the policy, but they didn't. Had they kept Muhammad in there, either the entire episode would have been pulled or Comedy Central would have simply cut out the Muhammad part. The result is the same either way: no Muhammad. By doing it this way South Park gets to voice its criticism of Comedy Central (did anybody ever really believe that Comedy Central stuck in that slide?)

Also, if Comedy Central didn't tell South Park that they couldn't show Muhammad, I would think that by Comedy Central would have said something to fend off all the complaints they must be getting.
4.13.2006 1:08pm
Justin (mail):
Since alot of this has gotten out of hand,

1) I've seen every South Park episode for the first 5 seasons, and more than half of the ones since.

2) I am completely okay (absolutely indifference) with M &T showing Mohammad or otherwise doing anything offensive or insulting. It turns out that Mohammad was apparently actually shown in the episode (see an above commenter) and good for them.

What irritated me was the anger people had against Comedy Central for what they misbelieved was Comedy Central's desire not to piss off Muslims - for what? Obviously, for the sake of pissing off Muslims. One can try to, in a hyperphilosophical sense, say that there's a political statement in pissing off a small group of people who are intolerant, and if in doing so, you have to piss off a greater number of people who are actually tolerant, so be it. This seems to be a strained analogy, and completely at odds with the seemingly same set of people who didn't want to hear that Piss Christ and Poop Mary were artworks with expressive elements.

What irritates me even more is (hopefully just uninformed) claims by people like Mike that it's okay to blame all muslems for the acts of a few because they've shown to deserve it, simply by Western spectacularism and the sheer failure to understand that there are OVER A BILLION muslims (mostly living in abject poverty) and if even TEN MILLION of them go nutso and riot, that's LESS THAN ONE PERCENT.

Oh, and HLSLiberterian, I have no problem with you personally insulting both me and my sexuality, whatever floats your boat. But if you're going to make grossly illogical statements like:

Justin. Many people here don't want "Justin believes this has political value" to be a hurdle to expression."

I wouldn't bank on the Kozinski clerkship just yet.
4.13.2006 1:19pm
Dales (mail) (www):
Steven Spruiell contacted Comedy Central and got confirmation that there was, indeed, a decision by Comedy Central to not allow them to depict in this episode Mohammed.

As such, those who have been saying that it was a gag that Comedy Central was in on, and not a case of Comedy Central being the pussies that South Park was portraying them as, are off base.

In fact, one could say that the presumption that there was no censorship was exactly the kind of head-in-the-sand, refuse-to-see-what's-going on behaviour that was being pilloried so brilliantly in these episodes.
4.13.2006 1:20pm
Justin (mail):
Oh, and one last "clarification."

Some people here seem to be of the mindset that I'm showing "hypocracy" because I find hypocracy bad as a direct thing. Instead, I'm simply trying to show that the argument being used by many of you to justify your anger at not pissing off Muslims is not the argument you actually believe, which (from a debating stand point) makes it more likely that the obvious alternative possibility is the actual motivation.
4.13.2006 1:22pm
Sydney Carton (www):
"What irritated me was the anger people had against Comedy Central for what they misbelieved was Comedy Central's desire not to piss off Muslims - for what? Obviously, for the sake of pissing off Muslims."

Jesus being deficated on doesn't offend Christians? The bleeding Mary episode doesn't offend Catholics?

It is obvious that you have a double standard. Offending Christians is ok. Offending Muslims is bad because they'll kill you. The obvious lesson is for Christians to get violent. That won't be forgotten. Especially since Christians have been the whipping boy of the Left for the past several decades.
4.13.2006 1:25pm
submandave (mail) (www):
Justin, while I agree completely with your larger point, which EC so succintly stated, I have issue with the specifics in a couple of your comments:
[T]he right seems to orgasm every time Islam is offended ... Let's reprint the cartoons
I think you fail to understand the distinction between printing the cartoons in order to offend and printing the cartoons in order to inform. While there are some who did the former (and advocate repeatedly doing so), I do not think these are necessarilly limited to "the right" nor do I think this is the main issue for most. Danish newspaper prints cartoons and Moslems get offended = no big news. Danish newspaper prints cartoons and Moslems are incited to violence and murder = big news. In the latter case it is a gross ommission of a large part of the story to actively and pointedly work to avoid printing the cartoons. It is this to which I, and I think most others, object, especially when such intentional avoidance is done by those who tell us so self-righteously of their "duty" to protect the people's "right to know."
[P]eople on the right are coming off like a bunch of hypocrites who hate brown people ... when people decide to act in good taste, the right goes nuts on them.
It seems to keep coming back to your preconceived ideas about "the right" and how it colors your perception of a person's stated thoughts. Granted, it seems like most of the commenters failed to grasp the "comedy" SP intended by self-censoring a benign Mohammad scene and not censoring a patently offensive Jesus scene, but I don't see anyone saying the scene shouldn't have been "censored" simply because they want to offend Moslems. Their point seem to quite clearly be that it is wrong that they think CC felt compelled to "censor" the former simply due to a perceived threat of violence. References to the latter simple provides evidence to support the belief that such censoring was not done out of any sense of "good taste." The whole issue is that SP and CC have never failed to be as offensive as they want to whomever they want, so any perceived reluctance to offend any individual group based upon coersion is that much more apparent. This paragraph may be a bit hard to read, as I don't think there was any real censorship of the episode but tried to write understanding the perspective of those who do. I appologize for any obtuse syntax that results, but I think SP did a very good job in that despite my belief I can also see very well how the possibility of censorship in this case is not completely farfetched, and that thought alone is disturbing.

I was also rather perplexed by what you perceive as "good taste." Not telling a 6' 5" 300lb biker his Ma Ma is ugly because of a fear of what he'll do is no evidence of acting in good taste. Especially if you immediately turn around after that and tell a 5' 6" 115lb nerd his father sucks donkey d***s. You are 100% correct that a right to act like a boorish creep does not mean it is the right thing to do. However, is it neither hypocritical nor racist for someone to point out when a boorish creep is not afforded their right due to another's threats, regarless of whether that person is from "the right" or not.

BTW, just to be clear about it there are millions of Moslems around the world that aren't "brown." I recommend you be careful lest one accuse you of stereotyping, profiling and racism.
4.13.2006 1:26pm
Sydney Carton (www):
"I'm simply trying to show that the argument being used by many of you to justify your anger at not pissing off Muslims is not the argument you actually believe"

I don't know about others, but do not presume to tell me what I believe, Justin.

I'm angry at Comedy Central for having a double standard. They insult the Virgin Mother, insult Jesus, and all Christians. And yet they have no problem with making sure Muslims aren't offended. It's a hypocritical double standard. If you're in the business of making a provocative, offensive show, then fair's fair.

Why aren't you complaining about CC showing Jesus being deficated on? Why not complain about the Virgin Mary?
4.13.2006 1:30pm
Justin (mail):
Though there's an easy way to be proven wrong here - if anyone can show me evidence of their past outrage over the Dixie Chicks being silenced because of their political speech by a private entity, I am more likely to buy your "private censorship hurts us all" argument.

(On the other hand, I can freely admit that the reason that the Dixie Chicks censorship upsets me more than the "don't show Mohammad for no reason other than pissing people off" censorship is on the merits - while the Dixie Chicks could have been more articulate in their opposition to the war, the idea of someone being censored for being outspoken against the war bothers me much more than someone being censored because they want to piss people off because they get a kick out of it.

Because, I'll be honest. I go through the right wing blogs, who make this a huge first amendment issue, and describe all this booha as brilliant, and use words like brave and valerous to depict Mohammad for the sole purpose of depicting Mohammad, and I just don't see what everyone else claims to see. I see a bunch of people happy to stick it to "them" - and whether "them" are just the rioters, or just the terrorists, or if its foreigners, or Muslims, the fact that that they're okay with sticking it to "them" by sticking it to Islam as a whole is troubling, for obvious reasons.

Maybe I'm wrong, because I'd like to be. There are a lot of people who I'd normally respect who either have joined the "white mob" or who tacitly condone it - but I just don't see it. I think if this was a bunch of Peruvians who rioted once because Incans were pissed off, it would be "news of the weird" at best. Nobody would care. It's because the target of the offense are Muslims that seems to drive this - and that, while by itself not a big deal, portends greater tragedy if we're going to win a war on terrorism that involves interacting with a BILLION muslims, many of who already distrust our intentions.
4.13.2006 1:32pm
submandave (mail) (www):
In fairness, Sydney, Justin never said "Offending Christians is ok. Offending Muslims is bad." Even if he is one of "the Left." (Hey, how come they get a capitalization and we on "the right" don't? No fair, Justin!)

I still think he is misstating the larger point in that he feels "the right" is mad that Moslems weren't offended while Christians were. I dare say that most on "the right" would say that neither religion should be offended, but most strenuously object to the idea that SP, CC or anyone else may feel they can't offend Islam due to an actual or perceived threat. The offending of Chritianity in this episode simply helped to amplify the issue and make this contrast even more stark.

The issue being discussed is not one of should but can. And I think all of us, from both "the right" and "the Left" can agree that regardless of the propriety o fthe former the latter should be inviable.
4.13.2006 1:35pm
Justin (mail):
Oh, and I also just can't bring myself to buy the concept that white Christians are persecuted by Muslims in America theory. I apologize, but if offending Islam was something people should really be afraid of, wouldn't we have a ton more dead pundits? How many people publically supported the Danish cartoonists? How many rallies were there in support of Denmark here in America? Name one American who suffered - whose ever suffered - for being anti-Muslim. What about that Louisiana Congressman? Is he still alive?

I'll say this - if any organization fails to depict Mohammad or otherwise offend Muslims out of fear - they're 1) ignorant and 2) wimps. But that doesn't mean anyone who does it for the numerous other reasons why one doesn't go around calling the 300 pound biker ugly are also wimps. It just means this is something we generally try to avoid in a civil society unless we have a good reason.
4.13.2006 1:36pm
Unamused:
Justin:

I can name several thousand who suffered even though they weren't anti-Muslim.
4.13.2006 1:41pm
SG:
Justin, is your argument that it's OK to offend if it's done politically, but South Park hasn't risen to that level, or rather you can look across the internet into others hearts and determine their true motiviations? Neither argument really makes a lot of sense.

Is it not possible that others see an inherent danger in engaging in self-censorhip out of a fear of a violent reaction? And that submitting to a violent groups demands rewards their violence and encourages it in the future?

Why do you infer the worst motives to those who are rationally and peaceably debating with you, yet give the benefit of the doubt to those that have violently taken to the streets?
4.13.2006 1:41pm
Sydney Carton (www):
"In fairness, Sydney, Justin never said "Offending Christians is ok. Offending Muslims is bad." Even if he is one of "the Left.""

He presumes to tell me what I believe. So, in fairness, I'll presume to tell HIM what HE believes: Justin officially believes offending Christians is ok, and offending Muslims is bad.

The guy is a complete hypocrite and is defending the show's censoring of Muslims because he thinks it's good taste. But he hasn't said a WORD about the show's offense of Christians in the VERY NEXT SCENE. You're darn right that the episode amplified the issue. And his denial in the face of the obvious proves he's a hypocrite.
4.13.2006 1:42pm
Justin (mail):
sub, one quibble.

I don't think anyone is disagreeing that everyone in America (at a minimum) should have the right to publish and disseminate all the images of Mohammad they want. The issue of *can*, at least vis a vis the government, is not contested. Nor do I think it is the issue. I think the issue is *should*.

Also, I look at this as someone who respects that Comedy Central and South Park are independant entities that have contracts with each other. So if that contract gives creative control to Comedy Central, then it has every right to determine the *should* question without being forced to defer to South Park, assuming the contract gives them that right. If South Park wanted to take a different approach, they could have negotiated for that, or gone to another network.

While, as a liberal, I'm concerned about the power differentials between negotiating parties to contract in many situations, I don't think we can ignore that this right is a central part of a free market - and given SP's popularity, I think we can safely assume that South Park wasn't bargaining from too weak of a position.
4.13.2006 1:42pm
Justin (mail):
Okay, I have to go back to work. One more:

Justin, is your argument that it's OK to offend if it's done politically, but South Park hasn't risen to that level, or rather you can look across the internet into others hearts and determine their true motiviations?

It's closer to the latter, it's certainly not the former. It's okay (if ill advised) to offend for whatever the reason. However, it's distressing to see a bunch of people getting emotionally involved in the hope of offending others.

Your latter argument is framing what I'm saying in a patently silly way. Though this is not quite to that level, would you make the same argument about someone who claims his membership in the Klu Klux Klan was simply their support of traditional family structure? Who can say what was in the hearts and mind of the rioters who attacked the Danish embassy? Perhaps they were simply there because the Danish minister made calls to their mothers and insulted them?

If the concern I have is bigotry, there is no other way to do it than to ascribe motivations to people's actions. Remember, that's the whole objection to hate crimes. Maybe we should never be concerned about bigotry, I guess. But that seems counter to the history of human civilization.

If the arguments you make for why people are offended by South Park's decision not to show Mohammad, which by its own message ONLY goes to the purpose of insulting Islam don't make sense outside the scope of bigotry, then why should I ignore that?
4.13.2006 1:48pm
FXKLM:
Justin: I strongly support offending Muslims because I think everyone needs to have their most sacred beliefs offended from time to time. The reason Muslims tend to respond more strongly to insults to their faith than Christians is because they're used to living in environment without their faith being insulted. Scientologists are the same way. Within their secluded bubble, they very rarely hear anything critical about Scientology. When they do hear something offensive and critical, they tend to respond rather strongly.

The current situation is unsustainable. We can't keep walking on eggshells for fear of offending Muslims or anyone else. We should continue offending them until they tire of being outraged. Offensiveness is a public good, especially when it's directed at those who think they cannot tolerate it.
4.13.2006 1:51pm
unhyphenatedconservative (mail):
"So people will complain about them showing Jesus pooping on George Bush, and complain about censoring an image of Mohammed, but you never hear any complaints about the fact that Cartman makes fun of Kyle being Jewish in every episode i can remember. And he often calls him things like a "Rat Jew bastard" or accuses him of hoarding gold. Americans never stand up and complain about jew bashing on the show, but they will moan and complain about Mohammed censorship in one breath and complain about negative images of Jesus in the next?"

Maybe the reason they don;t complain is that Cartman is an ass. The very fact that Cartman says something is a signal that it is quite likely stupid. Now if Kyle or Stan or a pre-Super Adventure Club Chef said something that offensive, it might be taken seriously.
4.13.2006 1:54pm
Reader (mail):
They shouldn't air any of that. Our popular entertainment is simply shameful. Not even the most exaggerated parody of our culture could overstate how low our standards have fallen.

I don't mean to say this shouldn't be protected by the First Amendment. I simply mean to say they shouldn't air it, and we shouldn't watch it. It may be legal to tell a stranger she's fat and ugly, but it's also wrong.
4.13.2006 1:59pm
submandave (mail) (www):
Justin, if you want to make a Dixie Chick analogy, I think it would be more relevent if you could find a radio station that refused to play Dixie Chicks but did play music from another band that had made similar statements overseas and received a similar amount of exposure and press. If a radio station or record store decided to remove the Dixie Chicks they were clearly making the statement, right or wrong, "we believe they acted against the best interests if America, so we do not support them." What equivalent statement would CC be making by not offending Moslems but still offending Christians? It certainly isn't "this is in bad taste, so we won't show it." In short, it is either a message of fear and intimidation or a message of inconsistancy.

As to the idea that the DC were "censored," I don't think that word applies when a radio station or even WalMart says "we disagree with this artist's belief and therefore won't support them," because these entities do not control all access to the message. The DC's comments were blasted around the world by thousands of news papers. These comments led to numerous interviews and cover stories. Please expain again how not playing the song "White Trash Wedding" equates to censorship of their widely reported and explored political opinion? I think my perspective is most common, that nothing was wrong per se with them expressing their opinion, but that wasn't what they did. Far from offering an opinion, they simply insulted a war-time President in a foreign country. It was that which I personally found offensive.

As to your tour of the "right wing blogs," please consider again my earlier comment that your existant bias may be more informing you than their actual words. You expect "the right" to be a bunch of bigotted, narrow-minded racist pigs and therefore that is what you find. Much the same way Sydney sees "the Left" as hell-bent of destroying traditions and Christianity, and so that is what he finds in your comments.

And for the record, if a bunch of left-handed dog groomers got in an uproar, destroyed a bunch of property and killed several people over some cartoons in an obscure Angolan weekly I'd sure as all get out want to see those pictures.
4.13.2006 2:02pm
byrd (mail):
At first I thought it was part of the gag. It was just too perfect to be real. Turns out, never underestimate the vacuous gutlessness of the corporate drone.

So is this art imitating life or life imitating art? Or the final melding of the two?
4.13.2006 2:07pm
Billy Freer:
Comedy Central should pay for their self-censorship of the Cartoon Wars episode.
4.13.2006 2:14pm
Anon E Mousse (mail):
I had posted this before i knew if was really censored or not in another blog but hereis my opnion. Makes total sense now that i know CC censored it.

My guess is that CC wussed out. SP has already shown mohammed before so why not show it now. I'm sure Matt and Trey used this in their argument to show mohammed again. They must have agreed that if they were going to be censored, CC had to place the black text frames in place. If they censored themselves, the context in which the episode ended, the jesus defication scene, would make no sense and no real statement. After all, in last nights epsiode they explain how SP episodes are preachy and full of messages and family guy episodes are comprised of out of context jokes that make no sense to the actual plot. If Matt and Trey censored themselves they would be stooping to Family Guy's level.

This show has been getting better lately.
4.13.2006 2:20pm
Sydney Carton (www):
Justin: "I think the issue is *should*....it's distressing to see a bunch of people getting emotionally involved in the hope of offending others."

Justin is viewing this from a typically left-wing perspective, which is why his statements are so mind-numbing. He thinks the issue is SHOULD. He doesn't think we SHOULD offend Muslims. But the offense of Christians in the very next scene didn't raise his ire, implying that one SHOULD offend Christians. Why should one offend Christians? Because, as a leftist, he views them as imposing their morality on American society. As a leftist, he also discounts the reality of Muslims violence (probably while increasing the value of any Christian boycots or other non-violent influences). He also fails to understand that the purpose of showing Mohammed wasn't to offend, per se, but to contrast the inability to show Mohammed with ability to show Jesus. He assumes that the intent to show Mohammed was to merely offend, because acknowledging the contrast would call into question his leftist assumptions about the evils of Christianity (they don't riot when offended, and don't kill the people who offend them).

That's the explanation for Justin. He fails to acknowledge that the entire point behind this episode was not to offend, per se, but to contrast how EASY it is to offend Christians while showing how HARD it is to offend Muslims. But if he recognized that, the bogeyman of Christianity would be dispelled and that would leave him hanging.

Depite his delusions, sooner or later, reality will intrude on him. This situation cannot last forever. How many editors and authors will be silenced by the threat of Islam before they realize how stupid it is for them to be able to piss all over Jesus while hold false piety about a religion that uses violence to get its way? People won't stand for this much longer, no matter how often Justin whines about it.
4.13.2006 2:25pm
Justin (mail):
Since my position has now been "restated" into so many things that even I don't agree with, and because I've made my views clearly, I am done responding on this thread. Take that as you will.
4.13.2006 2:27pm
Anon E Mousse (mail):
To Justin:
All of your points are totally irrelevant with the simple fact that nothing -in the topic of cartoon wars- has ever been intentionally done to incite or enrage muslims. They did it to themselves to incite fear in the western media. Know you stuff when you decide to post on blogs. If this is how your really think, I wonder how you put on your velcro sneakers in the morning before you get on the short bus to...work of all places. You must be a bastion of Liberal thought at the Happy Day Special Needs Work Placemnt Program.
4.13.2006 2:28pm
Jason Lomberg (mail) (www):
I think there's something most people seem to be missing. Matt and Trey are neither liberal nor conservative. Anybody remember the book, "South Park Republicans"? This pretty much explains their unofficial political philosophy. They're liberal on certain social issues, but strong on national defense, and thoroughly un-PC. In this regard, they might be slightly right-of-center. But as SG points out, this episode is not about liberals or conservatives- it's about free speech, pure and simple. At this point in time, conservatives happen to be better defenders of free speech. But 50 years ago, Matt and Trey would have been considered liberal for advocating absolute free speech. These days, the college "speech codes", the PC censorship are all coming from the left.

And let me point something else out. There's a difference between disagreeing with someone's point of view and calling for them to be muzzled. Liberals don't understand this crucial distinction and assume conservatives who, for example, criticize the Dixie Chicks for taking a cheap shot at Bush, are hypocrits. Justin, where are the libertarian market principles involved in refusing to show an image of Muhammed? If by promising to show such an image, Matt and Trey garnered a huge audience for yesterday, that would seem to be the free market in action. But going against the clear wishes of its audiences is more like censorship.

Regarding, "who censored it?" There's something else we need to understand. Yes, the setup, whereby Muhammed got censored and Jesus, Bush, and the American flag getting crapped on didn't, seemed too perfect to have been unintentional. So by this logic, Matt and Trey must have censored themselves, right? Well, yes and no. We seem to forget that an episode of South Park takes very little time to animate. It's entirely possible that after last week's episode aired, Matt and Trey asked Comedy Central about showing Muhammed. CC rejected their request, so Matt and Trey intentionally fashioned the next episode as a response. In other words, CC had nothing to do with directly censoring the finished episode, but didn't give their permission in the first place to show Muhammed. So Matt and Trey were, in a sense, airing their dirty laundry.
4.13.2006 2:28pm
SG:
Justin,

Your perspective is warped. I can't make heads or tails of it.

Do you really believe that people who don't share your political viewpoint (those evil "conservatives") are a bigger concern than people who don't share your political viewpoint and have killed thousands of your fellow countrymen? And continually threaten to kill more? Who have limited the bounds of permissable discourse in your country through violence? Who believe that to die killing you will guarantee them entry to paradise? Who have just announced nuclear enrichment capability? I believe you do.

That's why I'm unhappily but slowly becoming a Republican.

To cancel out your vote.
4.13.2006 2:35pm
SG:
Justin,

Don't worry about continuing to post. If I need your opinion, I can just read some "right wing blogs" and negate their consensus. It'll be the same result, and you don't have to waste your time.
4.13.2006 2:39pm
Brad Hutchings (mail):
Oh my... Of course that was part of the joke. Geez, the freaking episode wasn't even about Mohammed. It was about Isaac Hayes (Chef). And it was brilliant. That two-parter ought to win Matt and Trey an Emmie.

Whoever called Comedy Central to ask for an official comment. OMG, you should have had someone else disgrace themselves. They are laughing at you hard today. I can just imagine the phone conversation...

"Hi, I think there is a turd in my punchbowl. Can you confirm that it is a turd?"

"Well, not exactly."

You know there are going to be legitimate hurt feelings over this in the blogosphere too. Unbefreakinlievable.
4.13.2006 2:50pm
Mackey:
"...the South Park episode where Mohammed is about to be shown handing a football helmet (with a salmon on top of it)..."

I think there may be some substantial difference between a "football helmet (with a salmon on top of it)" and a "salmon helmet." Or am I overreading the actual joke involved?
4.13.2006 2:59pm
rbj:
Mackey,
the image after the self-censorship image was a picture of the dad from Family Guy (don't know his name, can't stand FG) holding a football helmet with a salmon on top.
I have no idea what a "salmon helmet" is supposed to be.
4.13.2006 3:05pm
Joshua (www):
Here's a trackback for you:
Another Mohammed cartoon, censored
4.13.2006 3:22pm
Zi11ion (mail):
Just a few thoughts, and I may be wrong about them.

Look at our behaviors and reactions right now, because of how the episode was aired.

Now, imagine the behavior of people if the image of Mohammed was aired.

If the image of Mohammed was censored, would we all be on these boards arguing about protecting the freedom of speech as actively? Perhaps, if the image were shown uncensored, then those of us who believe in fighting for free speech would feel satisfied that someone else has done it for us, thereby ruining the message that we SHOULD be up in arms about protecting free speech. We would be complacent, we would not fight for protecting our freedoms.

That is my thought; that Mohammed was intended to be censored as a stimulus for proactive actions towards protecting free speech. It riled us up. That's what Matt and Trey are good at.

Really, imagine how those of us, who believed that Mohommed should be uncensored, would really feel or act if he really was uncensored.

But those are merely my thoughts on the matter. We all have our oppinions, and that is what we will have until facts come out. I would like to think that Matt and Trey thought this out much farther than most of us realize.
4.13.2006 3:28pm
SG:
Zi11ion,

I agree with you. Those who think this was just about Scientology or casually offending Muslims truly missed the point. As propaganda, it was excellent. (as entertainment...eh, not so much).
4.13.2006 3:41pm
CJColucci (mail):
I haven't seen South Park in a couple of seasons (the "Return of Chef" episode aside), but I thought Kenny actually WAS killed, like for real and permanently, a while back. Am I wrong? What happened?
And did you hear the one about the atheists who stormed a London newspaper office when someone found half a dozen blank sheets of paper on the cartoonist's desk?
4.13.2006 3:43pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
I learned in about the 2d or 3rd grade that when someone insulted my looks, or ethnic background, or whatever, the worst thing was to act like it bothered you, as it just encouraged the opponent. As a loyal enemy of terrorists, I will take every opportunity to support bothering them, whether by nuclear detonations or by jokes.
4.13.2006 3:55pm
Mackey:
I don't think "salmon helmet" was simply meant to be absurd. I could be wrong.
4.13.2006 3:57pm
James Lindgren (mail):
Comedy Central has now released a brief statement:

"In light of recent world events, we feel we made the right decision."

Jim Lindgren
4.13.2006 4:24pm
Xrlq (mail) (www):
However, I'd say pooping Jesus is a bit contrary to Christianity.

I think I missed that lesson in Sunday school.


Me, too, but then again, I also missed the lesson where they taught us he didn't poop. I can't say I remember any lessons from grade school about George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln pooping, either, but the smart money says they did.
4.13.2006 4:26pm
Wombat:
Not to jump on the "Dump on Justin Bandwagon", but I find his and Freder's comments to be uniformly a waste of time to read. Every post is nothing but A)a variation of how idea X conflicts with stated modern Democrat ideals, and B)therefore anyone who believes idea X is a morally bad person.

Believing in Free Speech means the right to state anything, whether it is "the color Orange is lame" or "the Holocaust never happened". Clearly the (almost certainly anti-semitic in intent) latter statement conflicts with Republican pro-Israel views... yet EV just had a post stating that Holocaust denial should not be a crime. (Anyone who hears that statement should think the speaker is at least biased and at most morally reprehensible, but he or she should still have the right to say it.)

BTW, I just can't let this one go:

"We have problems when the Pope, or the Shah of Iran, or Jerry Falwell. says that Homosexuality is a sin."

Welcome to the modern democratic party. Now that the
"All views (namely, non-Traditional/pro-gay/non-christian/etc.) are as valid as the Traditional view"
meme has lead to many people thinking gays/non-christians/etc. are just as valid as everyone else (though the current opposition to Gay Marriage makes me think they should have ran with that view a bit longer), they've now changed it to
"Only the view that believes everyone is equal is valid".
Which is logically, of course, the most fair of all views, but it is NOT a multiplicity of views.
4.13.2006 4:26pm
TallDave (mail) (www):
If anyone missed the update, it's official: IT WAS CENSORED by Comedy Central.
4.13.2006 4:27pm
Schaller:
I think the salmon helmet was meant to be another stab by Trey and Matt on the completely randomness of Family Guy jokes.

If you want a bullshit deep meaning then how about this:
Salmon swim up stream. Matt and Trey are swimming against the tide of censorship.

See yeah. Making fun of Seth MacFarland's extremely retarded sense of humor seems more likely to me.
4.13.2006 4:28pm
DoubleDownRob:
To begin with, this particular post irritated me more than all the others, so i will start by smacking it.

Reader: I don't mean to say this shouldn't be protected by the First Amendment. I simply mean to say they shouldn't air it, and we shouldn't watch it. It may be legal to tell a stranger she's fat and ugly, but it's also wrong.

You're fat and ugly. Yeah. i said it. and its wrong. i also think its funny. So to quote another Fox show, "bite my shiny metal ass."

Let me see if i can hit everything i want to in one post before my hunger takes over and i go find food.

1. What the episode actually covered: I won't say this is an exhaustive list, but here's what i caught: Scientology, Family Guy, violence in the name of religion, Comedy Central, Matt and Trey getting preachy, the Simpsons, jokes that have nothing to do with plot, the U.S. citizenry being pussies, Christianity.

2. Can SP do something like this: Yes, they can, and they did.

3. Did Comedy Central censor/edit/whatever the episode: IF this was a network decision, i agree with the posters who think it happened before the episode was written. I however, still believe that Matt and Trey wrote the episode exactly as it aired. and if i am correct, then calling comedy central and asking them is pointless, because of course they are going to tell you that it was a network decision. that's how it's supposed to look. and furthermore, Mohammad (or as someone called him, Mighty Mo') appears in the freaking credits! if comedy central intended to screen out all images of the prophet, why did they leave that one in?

4. Should they have done this: since i can't increase my font size, just imagine this in like 60pt font: YES! First of all, i am a firm believer in the fact that your beliefs aren't real until they are questioned. Second, Matt and Trey aren't bigots. they will make fun of everyone, christian, buddhist, scientologist, athiest, muslim, jewish, whoever. Their point from day one has been that nothing is sacred, that everything can be funny, and moreover, everything should be funny. When we can't laugh at ourselves, when we can't look back and see absurdity, that's when we get so caught up that we get crazy. An earlier poster on here said that part of the reason that Islamists (not Islamics, there's a difference) are the way they are is because their beliefs go unchallenged. I think that is pretty accurate. If you are never challenged in what you believe, then you have no other perspective from which to examine what you believe. If you have only one perspective for long enough, your worldview becomes so cemented that you believe any attack on what you believe is an attack on you. and thus you respond with violent self defense. Matt and Trey are doing the right thing by offending whoever they can whenever they can, and we are all better for it. the fact that they are hilarious when doing so makes it even better.

5. was the episode funny: I suppose if you aren't a fan of the show, you might not think that episode was particularly funny. I would contend that just the background images were hilarious enough, but whatever. If you are a real fan of the show (i'm pretty sure i've seen every episode at least once, and if i've missed any, its less than 10 episodes), that episode should have been hilarious to you. Cartman and Kyle slapfighting? freaking great. Also, if you watch family guy (and i do enough to get references), that episode was hilarious (unless you are terribly offended by digs at family guy, in which case, well, you are fat and ugly.)

6. Salmon helmet: I think it actually was just meant to be absurd, as a further smack on family guy. Many of family guy's jokes are just absurdities and non sequitors, and i think that was what Matt and Trey intended. While they certainly do put a lot of subtext into their work and there tends to be a lot of meaning underneath the surface, they aren't generally so obtuse that their fans can't fairly quickly understand the reference.

7. as i noted in my post last night, if you respond to someone questioning your beliefs of any nature with violence, then you are an asshole, and you are not civilized. that goes for everyone. The way to combat speech you don't like is with more speech, not molotov cocktails.

8. My hunger has now conquered my willingness to write more. so to sum up, Matt and Trey rock, the ep is an instant classic, and if you disagree with anything i said, well, you're fat and ugly. =)
4.13.2006 4:39pm
DoubleDownRob:
update to #3 in light of comedy central's "admittance". I still think matt and trey wrote it exactly as it aired, and if i'm correct, Comedy Central would release exactly such a statement. As Wanda Sykes Hall once said: "you gotta stick with your lie." If you follow the show and you follow Matt and Trey's writing style, this is exactly the kind of thing they like to do.
4.13.2006 4:45pm
unhyphenatedconservative (mail):
Double Down.
My only criticism is that I found part 1 much funnier with the Big Wheels chase.
4.13.2006 4:52pm
submandave (mail) (www):
Like many others, I think much of Justin's logic closely resembles swiss cheese, but nothing apart from adolescent self-righteousness is gained by insults, projecting sweeping conspiratorial motivations or rejoicing in his "I'll take my ball and go home" statement. I stand by my assessment that the majority of his contention with the issues raised has to do with whom he assumes is raising the issue (i.e. "the right") rather than the merits of the argument itself. To engage in name-calling and dancing upon his metaphorical grave serves only to strenghten his perception of the arena of political thought as a deathmatch in which he and his righteous allies are faced off against the evil "right".

If you are still lurking, Justin, I agree with much of your contractual points vis-a-vis SP and CC. You are, however, assuming that CC's decission not to show the scene constitutes a statement as to what they think *should not* be shown. By the same logic, one can only conclude they also think the scene offensive to Christians *should* be shown. I see no way to reconcile these two distinct different standards of *should* regarding essentially the same subject matter unless one either assumes CC has a specific anti-Christian agenda or comes to the conclusion that this decission was in fact not based upon any moral or social evaluation at all of what *should* be shown. If it is the former, then I may have to find myself agreeing with Sydney, but I strongly suspect the question for CC came down not to one of morality, decency or taste but one of craven cowardice.

It is the fact that any group can employ such, to be frank, terrorist tactics to cause others to aboragate their own decission on the proriety of their own speech that I feel is truly offensive. I would rather no Moslem be offended, but if avoiding this requires such brazen double standards and in essense rewards the threat of violence, I say roll the clip.
4.13.2006 4:59pm
AV:
Rules of Insults:

If someone insults you, top it.
If you can't top it, ignore it.
If you can't ignore it, walk away from it.
If you can't walk away from it, you probably deserve it.
4.13.2006 5:23pm
Schaller:
Aren't we quite bianary? I didn't realize that the question of whether or not CC censored M-Diddy was one that divided along party lines. Oh excuse me for coming out and saying Democrat and Republican (and this includes those Republicans who are hibernating under various other names until Bush leaves office).

One just because you don't like someone's argument doesn't mean it's wrong. Two just because you don't understand someone's argument doesn't mean it is poorly constructed or full of holes. And this goes both ways.

And two, when the hell did people start using * instead of "? You're all going to grammar hell.
4.13.2006 5:49pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
I don't think anyone is disagreeing that everyone in America (at a minimum) should have the right to publish and disseminate all the images of Mohammad they want. The issue of *can*, at least vis a vis the government, is not contested. Nor do I think it is the issue. I think the issue is *should*.
Justin, if Jews told you (or if Muslims did) that eating pork was offensive to us, would you argue that you "should" stop doing it?

The important thing to understand is that pictures of Mohammed are not deemed "offensive" by Muslims. That's western liberal primarily-college-campus terminology. Rather, they're deemed blasphemous, because depicting Mohammed might lead to worship of Mohammed which would be idolatry. In other words, this is about members of one religion trying to impose their religious views on people who don't subscribe to their religion.
4.13.2006 5:56pm
HLSbertarian (mail):
Justin said: "Oh, and HLSLiberterian, I have no problem with you personally insulting both me and my sexuality, whatever floats your boat. But if you're going to make grossly illogical statements like:

Justin. Many people here don't want "Justin believes this has political value" to be a hurdle to expression."


I wouldn't bank on the Kozinski clerkship just yet."


Sadly, Justin has since left us and won't be able to answer me, but if anyone can tell me where I "insult[ed his] sexuality" and/or how my statement was "grossly illogical," I'd really appreciate the educational experience.

As for the Dixie Chicks and the rest of that argument, the able commenters here have already dissected it too well to leave anything to say.
4.13.2006 6:27pm
^_^ (mail) (www):
They've been showing Mohammed in every season 10 opening...he's in the crowd shot on the right.

Click Here
4.13.2006 6:31pm
Shake-N-Bake (www):
Jason Lomberg: At this point in time, conservatives happen to be better defenders of free speech.

BZZZZT! Try again. "Conservatives" these days include the social conservatives, who would love nothing more than to take away your freedom to say things they don't like.

SOME "conservatives" defend free speech. Many of them are probably more properly called libertarians. SOME "liberals" defend free speech. They're the old-style liberals who you mention used to defend free speech. We do still exist, you know.
4.13.2006 7:30pm
submandave (mail) (www):
Schaller, since the only specific points you mentioned were the use of '*' vice '"' and a reference to an argument being "full of holes", I will respond assuming you were prompted to post by my comment.

First, the '*' has enjoyed use as a means to emphasize a word long before HTML allowed us to do so more elegantly. I chose to emphasize the word "should" in this manner since Justin had previously done so and I was specifically replying to his comment. Also, since this was done to emphasize the meaning of the word rather than in reference to the word itself (or as is more common today, to express a sense of not quite believing the word is being approriately used), I believe the use of quotation marks would have been incorrect.

Second, I think I understand Justin's argument very well and still stand by my description of it as as being full of holes. This is because his entire point is rooted in an unproven assumption. He argues from teh position that the author of this post and many of the commenters are angry because CC chose not to offend Moslems. His position is entirely dependent upon the assumption that many of "the right" think if CC offends Christians they should also equally offend Moslems. On the contrary, I see the issue being discussed as why CC would willfully and repeatedly offend people of various religions and persuasions but go out of their way to try and avoid offending Moslems. In this episode is was simply the juxtiposition of a scene offensive to Christians that emphasized this disparity, but it could just as easilly been some offensive joke about Jews, gays, blacks, Mexicans, etc. Justin even went so far as to say "the right" was getting mad at CC for "act[ing] in good taste," which completely ignores the other 90% of the show, including the Jesus-poop scene often talked about. If this argument isn't more transparent than half the products in a Victoria's Secret catalog I can only question your eyesight.
4.14.2006 10:12am