South Park recently had their 200 episode. The creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, had decided to celebrate by doing a two-part nostalgic episodes that used old plots and gags from previous popular episodes; they basically took elderly ingredients and baked them all together to make something new, yet familiar. The result, in my eyes, was an hour (counting both episodes) of delicious laughter for those who have been watching South Park for quite a while. The episodes were named “200” and “201”. It was pure joy to watch these episodes and recognize the jokes and motivations. It felt like Stone and Parker where thanking us for standing by their show, making it possible to go all the way up to making 200 episodes. Even if the episodes have been a huge hit among fans, for Stone and Parker it has meant death threats. After the episode “200” was aired, thats plot implied that Mohammed was inside a bear costume, a Islamic site called revolutionmuslim.com said that South Park creators should watch out that they don’t end up like Theo Van Gogh (an artist that was killed on an open street after making the movie “Submission”, a movie critical of Islam). Stone and Parker responded courageously to the death threats, stating that they would be so hypocritical if they would have not have done the implication. They said that they can’t pick and choose to whom they make fun of and who not while thinking who will hurt them and who will not. My hat off to these men! They understand the value of freedom of speech! Unfortunately… Comedy central does not… You see, the second part of “200”, “201”, was heavily censored. Whenever Mohammed’s name was mentioned, it was beeped out. When he appeared on the show, he was blocked out by a censored black block with the text “Censored”. There was a speech at the end of the episode that got completely beeped out, which according to Parker and Stone was about intimidation and fear, and had nothing to do with Mohammed, or Islam. While watching “201” I felt a certain sorrow. Here the men are trying to say something about free speech, and they are prevented from saying it. What is interesting is that South Park doesn’t mock Mohammed at all. In the episodes, he doesn’t really do anything but exist. There is nothing to be upset about. Another thing is that by censoring Mohammed completely and by even beeping out his name makes Mohammed actually seem us something bad, obscene. Another strange thing is that before the controversy with the Danish cartoons South Park had an episode called “The Super Best Friends” in which Mohammed appeared, uncensored, and there were no problems! So why someone would get upset now, when Mohammed was shown six years ago already? South Park has had a lot of trouble before. They have been threatened and sued by fanatical religion groups before. Yet Parker and Stone stand by their morals: everything should be okay to be made fun of. Everything should be okay to write about. Clearly, the creators and writers of South Park are the satirist we all deserve and need, people that stand for an absolute right to free speech. Thank you, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, for your courageous acts. I only hope that “201” will be soon aired on the TV again, uncensored, as it should have been the first time it was shown. Let’s not be stopped by fear!
For more information about South Park and the threats its gotten, check these pages: