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See the [FAKE] censored clip of Mohammed from South Park, now playing on the web.--

[3d UPDATE: South Park Executive Producer Anne Garefino confirmed to me that the clip is a forgery, but an uncensored episode does exist. See the details here.]

[2d UPDATE: I have had a call into South Park Studios for a while to try to get them to confirm or deny the authenticity of the clip. Until then, I find Brendan Loy persuasive that the clip is a fake.]

[1st UPDATE: A commenter below thinks that the clip and still photo might be fakes that have been photoshopped. Like some of the Danish cartoons, the clip linked here and the still photo might well be forgeries.]

[What purports to be] The censored clip of Mohammed from the Wednesday South Park episode may be viewed at the South Park Scriptorium (with the proper software). A still picture of Mohammed from the [purportedly] censored scene is also available there. [Brendan Loy has reasonably good evidence suggesting that they are forgeries.]

In the clip, Mohammed says:

"Ah, jihad, jihad."

[Still photo deleted for reasons given in the 2d Update above.]

[If legitimate,] this clip tends to show (though it doesn't prove) that, despite earlier warnings that Comedy Central would not allow Mohammed to be shown, Stone and Parker still hoped to change the network's decision.

Redman:
The United States of Pitiful.
4.13.2006 6:17pm
unhyphenatedconservative (mail):
THat's it. We've gotta riot.

I mean who shows a salmon in such an insulting way? Damned infidels.
4.13.2006 6:18pm
FXKLM:
I just want to make it clear that, although I am a regular reader and commenter at the Volokh Conspiracy, my head was deeply buried in a pit of sand at the time Jim Lindgren posted this picture.
4.13.2006 6:27pm
DoubleDownRob:
Unfortunately for me, I was the one standing to the left of FXKLM, and thus buried his head, but i was the last. Thus, I do appear to be a part of the Volokh Conspiracy audience. Now, i can't confirm that this picture is real, since it hasn't come with any sort of confirmation of Matt and Trey. But it does look real enough that should confirmation come, i will withdraw my statement that the episode was written with the censorship.
4.13.2006 6:49pm
rbj:
Obviously a NY Giants helmet. How dare they disrespect the Giants that way. Riot! Riot!

Thanks Jim.
4.13.2006 6:56pm
Dogtown (mail):
I'd like to post this here, which I also posted over on Goldstein's site about this topic. While I generally accept eveything Eugene (and Jeff) say about the Cartoon Jihad, and how our freedoms are being not only undermined by oversensitive Islamists, but surrendered by our own compliant media, I offer this up as my own sincere self-doubt about how far we should go in holding Comedy Central responsible for it:

There was a story, mainly being fed by LGF, about Borders Books not carrying a low-readership periodical that displayed the Danish cartoons on its cover. LGF tried making an issue out of it, and the CEO of Borders Books told Charles Johnson where to stick it. The CEO's position is that he made a business decision not to carry the mag in order to be responsible to his employees. He does not like being the last line of defense against crazy Islamists.

Is CC's decision really any different, especially considering their previous decisions to censor the show regarding other topics? I can accept the argument that they're hypocrites by censoring Mohammed when not censoring other blasphemous religious descriptions, but should CC, like the CEO of Borders, be expected to hold the torch for freedom of speech and put its neck on the line to defend it
4.13.2006 7:07pm
keatssycamore (mail) (www):
Dogtown,

I think Matt and Trey made the argument about why it shouldn't run very fairly. Of course, the argument was pushed by Cartman who just wanted to kill Family Guy (bless his fat little heart). So it's clear they ultimately disagree, but I felt there was a sophisticated amount of nuance in the episode.

Not to mention all the stuff about cartoon writers being crazy and impossible to deal with.
4.13.2006 7:13pm
Dogtown (mail):

Not to mention all the stuff about cartoon writers being crazy and impossible to deal with.


I haven't even seen it yet. I recorded it last night, so it'll be anti-climactic now. But that line you just quoted is a good one.
4.13.2006 7:18pm
Steve:
I think there is a degree of difference between self-censorship and a mere refusal to engage in intentional provocation. It's not necessarily cowardly to decline to pick a fight.

Put another way, there are those who believe that anyone and everyone needs to immediately declare which side they are on in the Cartoon Controversy, and want to create as many test cases as possible, and then there are those who would rather pass on test cases and save their decisions for a real controversy.
4.13.2006 7:18pm
Charles Chapman (mail) (www):
Steve, sometimes the only way to prove that one will not be intimidated, will not be bullied (if perhaps, most importantly, only to oneself) is to engage in the behavior that the bully is trying to prevent you from doing.
4.13.2006 7:32pm
Designbot:
This clip is probably fake. You'll notice that Mohammad is drawn in the "South Park"-style used in the Super Friends episode, rather than as a Family Guy character. Also, the Comedy Central chyron is at the lower-right of the screen, which doesn't make much sense, considering the scene was never broadcast.
4.13.2006 7:33pm
MnZ (mail):
Steve,

Let's suppose that you are a movie executive. You live in an environment where people don't like Communists. Someone hands you a very reliable list of actors and writers that are Communists. You decide that you will not hire those people since you don't want to provoke the anti-Communists.

Are you within your rights? Might it be the wise course of action for you personally?
4.13.2006 7:40pm
Long time lurker:
Just an FYI: comparing the "uncensored" clip to the original episode, it looks very much like a forgery. 1) The Mighty Mo' was drawn in the SP style, probably taken from the previous SuperBestFriends eppy 2) When he speaks, there is a noticible crack in the audio which indicates to me a splice from another source (possibly Team America) and 3) The end of the scene when Peter says "Thanks Muhammed!" was in both clips - in the "uncensored" one he's next to Peter and in the original he's off-screen left. What did they do? Air-brush him out in the aired version? Anyhoo, probably just a cute Photoshop job.
4.13.2006 7:41pm
Steve:
Steve, sometimes the only way to prove that one will not be intimidated, will not be bullied (if perhaps, most importantly, only to oneself) is to engage in the behavior that the bully is trying to prevent you from doing.

Right, but not everyone agrees that it is necessary for Comedy Central to demonstrate, right here and right now, whether it would allow itself to be bullied. Some people aren't content to wait and see how businesses like Comedy Central would react to real controversies, and thus they feel it necessary to trump up manufactured controversies. Hence my "test case" analogy.
4.13.2006 7:46pm
Steve:
Steve,

Let's suppose that you are a movie executive. You live in an environment where people don't like Communists. Someone hands you a very reliable list of actors and writers that are Communists. You decide that you will not hire those people since you don't want to provoke the anti-Communists.

Are you within your rights? Might it be the wise course of action for you personally?


I don't have a good answer to this, but it's a great example of what a real controversy might look like, as opposed to a manufactured one!
4.13.2006 7:48pm
SG:
Steve,

Did South Park want to show an image of Mohammed? Did CC refuse to air it? It's hardly a manufactured or theoretical controversy; it was real, with two parties that had names. We all got to watch it at 10 EDT last evening. I think both sides positions were fairly portrayed.

Now maybe this isn't the exact circumstances that CC would have choosen to go to the mat over, but the fact remains that when they went to the mat, it was in a fetal position.

I really want to understand the other side of this issue, because right now I don't get it. Why should all people should refrain from doing something that some Muslims find blasphemous? Steve, what would be sufficent provocation to cause you to say "enough"?
4.13.2006 8:16pm
claritas:
SG, I think the entire point of free speech is that individuals get to choose when they do or do not want to speak. Comedy Central owns the show, broadcasts the show, pays the actors, and will, in a very real sense, be held accountable for what they put on the air. Comedy Central IS the speaker. I don't think you can argue against Comedy Central's decision here on free speech grounds: they made a sensible decision that they didn't want to bear the costs of this particular satire. If YOU want to go around with a picture of the cartoons on your t-shirt, that is also your right. Pay the consequences, but don't make Comedy Central do the same--a network that, by the way, has given South Park a longer leash than anyone else would have, and on this particular occasion reasonably decided it didn't want to risk anyone's death for a cartoon.
4.13.2006 8:25pm
Justin (mail):
I'm only posting to add the following points:

1) Comedy Central was both wimpish AND ignorant (you need to have something to fear to be a wimp, and they had nothing to fear).

2) Until someone can compare the death rate of showing Muslim Cartoons in the US is comparable to say...drinking a beer, I think all of this persecuted-by-"Muslims"-complex looks rediculously silly. What happened in Denmark aside, Jim Lindgren is in no more danger of dying then he was yesterday, despite his broadcast of the mohammad cartoons. Neither is the god knows how many people who republished the Mohammad cartoons in the US.

Would I publish it in Saudi Arabia? Different story. Denmark? There's a lot more to the story than the happenstance of someone publishing a cartoon that happened to have a picture of Mohammad.

Treating Muslims, and particularly Muslim Americans, like human beings capable of rational thought might be step one to winning the war on terror, you know.
4.13.2006 8:31pm
Justin (mail):
That should read "Mohammad south park (fake) clip" not cartoons. Sorry, Jim. Carry on your jihads, everybody.
4.13.2006 8:31pm
Justin (mail):
And damnit, it wasn't "drinking a beer" it was "drinking alcohol." Sorry for being absentminded.
4.13.2006 8:33pm
FXKLM:

Treating Muslims, and particularly Muslim Americans, like human beings capable of rational thought might be step one to winning the war on terror, you know.


Treating Muslim Americans with respect means subjecting them to the same insults and mockery that we direct at every other group of Americans and trusting that they have enough of a sense of humor about themselves to deal with it. Holding them to different standard is not respectful and it's certainly not treating them as human beings capable of rational thought.
4.13.2006 8:45pm
Brendan Loy (mail) (www):
Definitely a fake:

The "uncensored" Muhammad clip is fake

With photo and video evidence...
4.13.2006 8:45pm
Dogtown (mail):
It's best to draw a line of distinction between an entertainment source, like Comedy Central, and the news media. The news media (involved in the Danish cartoons) should stand up for liberal values like free speech, but why should the same expectation be placed on CC, or E! Entertainment, or HBO, or Cartoon Network?

Why should such organs of entertainment be expected to act as our last line of defense against Islamic radicals?
4.13.2006 8:49pm
Steve:
Did South Park want to show an image of Mohammed? Did CC refuse to air it? It's hardly a manufactured or theoretical controversy; it was real, with two parties that had names. We all got to watch it at 10 EDT last evening. I think both sides positions were fairly portrayed.

If this doesn't qualify as a manufactured controversy to you, I wonder what would.
4.13.2006 8:50pm
Jar Jar Binks (mail):
It's a fake.
4.13.2006 8:55pm
SG:
Steve,

It would be manufactured if SP had asked CC not to show it, and then made a stink over it (not an impossible scenario). But, assuming that there was a legitamate difference of opinion, telling satirists that Mohammed cannot be satirized but Jesus can be seems like a full up honest-to-Allah controversy. And when fear is the motivation for declaring Mohammed off-limits (not market forces) something has gone seriously awry in our society.

Let me ask you this: Is it a manufactured controversy when clinics stop performing abortions becuase of a fear of bombings? That seems pretty analogous to me.
4.13.2006 9:28pm
SG:
I think I was unclear. It would be a manufactured controversy if both parties were on the same page and they were staging the "censorship". I.e., if CC were actually willing to show the image but SP thought their point would be better made by crying censorship.

I wouldn't rule that out, but I don't think that's what happened.
4.13.2006 9:31pm
Charles Johnson (mail) (www):
Dogtown wrote:

There was a story, mainly being fed by LGF, about Borders Books not carrying a low-readership periodical that displayed the Danish cartoons on its cover. LGF tried making an issue out of it, and the CEO of Borders Books told Charles Johnson where to stick it. The CEO's position is that he made a business decision not to carry the mag in order to be responsible to his employees. He does not like being the last line of defense against crazy Islamists.


The CEO of Borders never told me where to stick anything. You were taken in by an April Fool's prank, by Gerard Vanderleun at American Digest.
4.13.2006 10:30pm
Constantin:
"As satirists, we believe that it is our First Amendment right to poke fun at any and all people, groups, organizations and religions and we will continue to defend that right. Our goal is to make people laugh, and perhaps if we're lucky, even make them think in the process."

--Statement from Comedy Central in response to complaints over South Park's 2005 'Bloody Mary' episode.

Terrorism works.
4.14.2006 12:00am
Dogtown (mail):

The CEO of Borders never told me where to stick anything. You were taken in by an April Fool's prank, by Gerard Vanderleun at American Digest.


Yes, Charles, I understand that now, thanks to another helpful commenter. I don't read your site, so I wasn't privy to it being fake.

Nevertheless, it inadvertently highlights a valid question that I followed with after the part of the ridiculous Borders flap, which I simply used as a means of introducing the question.

The questions stands for any reasonable commenter to answer.

Thanks
4.14.2006 12:17am