Third Party & Independents Archives

The War on Blasphemy

Recently an event that I would like to call “Much Ado About Nothing”, or as Bill O’Reiley preferred to call it “The War on Christmas”, took place in Talk Radio Land and the Blogosphere. It was a story about how a majority group felt persecuted because a few governmental and private corporations decided to call the tree used to celebrate the Christmas holidays a ‘Holiday Tree’ instead of a ‘Christmas Tree’. Of course, the Christmas Tree has been deemed a secular symbol for as long as I can remember so I wonder where the persecution came in. However, now it’s Christianity’ turn to do the persecuting by determining that an airing of a South Park episode is an abomination and must be silenced.

Yes, you read me right, South Park. As far as I can tell there has only been one time that Comedy Central has decided to not air a South Park episode, that was after Christopher Reeve passed away and the episode that used him in a humorous satire was deemed inappropriate for further airing. It was not done because of pressure from external groups. However, there is a first time for everything it appears. Because of pressure from the Catholic League, who most likely doesn't watch much South Park I imagine, the airing of 'Bloody Mary', the season 9 finale that originally aired a few weeks ago and was scheduled to be aired again on the evening of the 28th was pulled from the lineup unexpectedly.

I'll leave the details of the Catholic League's complaint out of this, it has very little to do with the subject in any regards. Here we have a group of people that spent a few weeks being hysterical that someone might not want to say the phrases Happy Christmas or Christmas Tree and instead use the words Happy Holidays and Holiday Tree, who now go out of their way to force a television show that uses over the top satirical portrayals of current culture to make us laugh and possibly shine a light onto some of our societal ills off of the air. Not only do they want the episode to never be shown on television any more, they are calling for the episode to be left off of any future DVD sales.

And this is not the only action by religious groups recently that causes me fear that for some reason they are in the majority in this country. Personally I would have thought that in this day and age we would be a bit more intelligent about believing in invisible omnipotent beings that know and see everything. But according to recent polling it appears that still a majority of the country is Christian in some way. Fine, everyone has a right to their beliefs. But no one has a right to push those beliefs on those who do not agree with them. And some of the following recent events are making it very clear that many religious groups just do not understand this basic principle.

  • A professor was pulled over and beaten because he was going to teach a COLLEGE class at Kansas University called “Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies”.
  • Roman Catholic priests protested the observance of Halloween (I find this particularly hilarious considering the recent War on Christmas nonsense this past month).
  • The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) attempted to have a Denis Leary 'Anti-Christmas' special canceled from Comedy Central.
  • In Canada, the town of Oxford, Nova Scotia decreed that Christmas would be the only name used to describe the holiday season. Sorry Jews and Wiccans.
  • In the UK, the show 'Jerry Springer – The Opera' was inundated with complaints and Christian protesters burned their television licenses outside of the BBC and 11 regional theaters pulled the show after an aggressive campaign against the show being allowed to be performed.
  • James Dobson earlier this year called on a video with several characters, such as Spongebob Squarepants, be prevented from airing for children because he felt that the makers of the video were pushing a 'homosexual agenda'.
  • James Dobson also compared embryonic stem cell research to Nazi medical experiments.
  • Several Christian groups called Katrina 'God's Punishment' of New Orleans and it's decadent ways.
  • Here's an idea. If you want to believe in something, fine. I don't care if you believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Just don't attempt to force me to believe in it as well. Don't expect me to follow any rituals or rules of your faith and if something is aired on television or at the movies that is against your religion, DON'T WATCH IT. The minute you attempt to prevent anyone else from watching it, you're crossing the line. And one day, I hope sooner than later, when Christianity is in the minority, we non-Christians might be able to live free from YOUR persecution of us.

    Now I have to go out and purchase up my weekend supply of alcohol since it is ILLEGAL in the state of Indiana to purchase alcohol on Sunday.

    Posted by Rhinehold at December 30, 2005 5:00 AM
    Comments
    Comment #109144

    Yeah, I hate when people want to push their beliefs on others or assume that their beliefs are the only valid ones. Anyway…

    Happy Christmahanukwanzmarayule!

    Darkblood
    *Holiday Secular Goodness*
    -2k5

    Posted by: Darkblood at December 30, 2005 5:45 AM
    Comment #109151

    They’re Republicans> What do you expect?

    Posted by: Aldous at December 30, 2005 6:18 AM
    Comment #109160

    I don’t mind people trying to force their ideas on other people in this country so much as them succeeding. Comedy Central should have the guts, if they are willing to carry a regularly offensive show like South Park, to not back down simply because somebody gets offended.

    The simple fact here is that because of our freedoms, it is competition and not coercion which really matters in the end. I’m afraid that by focusing on censorship and not creativity, they are only letting more people slip to the grasp of the worst of popular culture. My advice? Persuade some Catholics to make a satire as funny as South Park.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 30, 2005 7:45 AM
    Comment #109168

    Apparently Sunday comes right after Friday in Indiana also. Those bastard Christians actually cancelled Saturday.

    How is it any different when the Catholic League asks for a television show to be cancelled than the NAA(Colored)P or the NOW gang, or anyone else for that matter. I would love to be able cancel programming because I did not like it. The reality is that Comedy Central made a business decision. It is not like Comedy Central has droppoed its anti-Christian bias.

    Posted by: Peter at December 30, 2005 9:21 AM
    Comment #109169

    Stephen,

    1) I’m surprised you don’t mind the use of “force” to impose ideas on other people. Is that what you meant to say? Letting special interests influence private and public policy seems to be a major problem with this country.

    2) How much do you think this hullabaloo is related to your other link? It seems the only way the FRECs can keep their boss in the Oval office is to make up fake religious wars as a distraction to his incompetency.

    3) It’s a nasty episode. For those who don’t know: the virgin mary statue is believed to be a miracle because it is bleeding from it’s butt. Pope Bendeict comes to investigate, determines it’s really bleeding from it’s vagina, and announces (paraphrase) “it’s not a miracle, every chick bleeds from their vagina”.


    Peter,

    You obviously don’t watch comedy central. There is no anti-christian bias except in the pathologically paranoid power hungry heads of Dobson, O’rielly and their sycophants.

    Posted by: Dave at December 30, 2005 9:25 AM
    Comment #109171

    First of all I saw the episode and did think it was funny if not a little sick. But why, Rhinehold, do you get offended by the Catholic Leaque’s outrage? Shouldn’t they be allowed to protest anything they want to?

    Same for the rest of your points about Dobson, etc. Does free speach and expression not apply to Christians just because they are in the majority?

    Posted by: George in SC at December 30, 2005 9:44 AM
    Comment #109185

    Peter-
    Comedy Central is not built on reverence and political correctness. The Bloody Mary episode was recently preceded by one that probably gave Tom Cruise (and the rest of the Church of Scientology) epileptic fits of anger. There’s one where Mr. Slave (a homosexual S+M obsessed character who walks around in leather) and Paris Hilton have a “Whore-Off”, which Mr. Slave wins by means I have no idea how to politely describe. Bloody Mary was par for the course, trust me, and caving in to pressure from the Catholic League on this show doesn’t make much sense, given the fact that Comedy Central airs South Park at all.

    Dave-
    1)I find people often use the words “force their beliefs on other folks” to mean that they aggressively push their ideas. Until people actually start to force their ideas through policy and outright intimidation, I just take it as it comes. The truth is, I find, is that nobody can make me believe anything I don’t want to, and if all they are doing is simply shouting at me, I’m free to simply shout back. When they try to legislate a point of view out of commission, or use brute-force intimidation, then I consider it forcing an opinion on somebody. Just because an opinion’s unwanted doesn’t mean it’s a threat.

    2)For me, the Christmas War thing is a by-product of a subculture that wants to believe the worst of the more secular, more diverse culture its confronted with. It relates only tangentially, really. I guess the point would be that they are so obsessed with making villains out of my folks on the left, that they fail to perceive how bad they look being so relentlessly politicized and adversarial on everything.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 30, 2005 10:48 AM
    Comment #109191

    What I don’t understand is why Comedy Central thinks they have to “push the envelope”. Why certain right wing groups think they have to protest and get programs pulled from TV in the name of Christianity. Why certain left wing groups have to protest and get programs pulled from TV in the name of political correctness.

    The very best form of protest…the very best form of censorship…the very best method of pulling programs from TV is already on the TV itself.

    It’s called an “on-off-volume” knob.

    TURN OFF THE TV IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT!!!

    Remember:

    zero viewers = zero ratings = zero revenues = program pulled.

    Posted by: Jim T at December 30, 2005 11:31 AM
    Comment #109197
    But why, Rhinehold, do you get offended by the Catholic Leaque’s outrage? Shouldn’t they be allowed to protest anything they want to? Same for the rest of your points about Dobson, etc. Does free speach and expression not apply to Christians just because they are in the majority?

    I’m not saying that they shouldn’t be ‘allowed’ to express their outrage and try to push their agenda, I’m saying that they shouldn’t.

    Especially after just going ballistic for their perception of being on the other side just a few days earlier re: the war on christmas.

    I do, however, have a problem with things like ‘no alcohol purchase on Sundays, no signing of contracts on Sundays, no gay marriage, etc. Legislating their specific christian morality on others is un-American and should be illegal. Forcing your beliefs on others through coersion and pressure groups is wrong, IMO, but not ‘illegal’.

    Do you see the difference?

    Posted by: Rhinehold at December 30, 2005 12:11 PM
    Comment #109204

    What disturbs me is that the Catholic League was able to coerce them into changing their programming. I don’t recall any examples of programs being pulled because of protests and pressure from liberal groups (I’m sure someone here will provide examples), while there are plenty of examples of conservative groups successfully getting shows or particular episodes pulled because they offend their morales.

    I agree with the “don’t like it, turn it off” crowd. No one is forcing you to watch. Let me determine for myself whether something is worth watching, listening, or reading.

    Posted by: Michael at December 30, 2005 12:44 PM
    Comment #109207

    Jim,

    What TV show has the left-wing tried to pull from the air for being politically incorrect? Please distinguish between “PiC” and “BS as news”.

    Posted by: Dave at December 30, 2005 1:07 PM
    Comment #109208

    Jim,

    Just recently a reality show was going to air on ABC called “Welcome to the Neighborhood”. It was pulled because of its extreme political incorrectness and complaints from groups like GLAAD.

    Posted by: Rhinehold at December 30, 2005 1:14 PM
    Comment #109213

    First, most Catholics are not Republicans. Infact historically the majority vote Democrat.

    Secondly, if you wonder why this episode was pulled?

    Here

    Lastly, I don’t watch South Park. I don’t enjoy that sort of “humor” but Catholic League does have the right to protest. Doesn’t mean Viacom will listen but obviously the choice was made to pull the program. Just as American Family Association attempts to boycott/pressure as well as groups in the reverse.

    Unfortunately the problem I see with this is what it has done is give South Park even more attention and make people want to see that episode even more. For me though? I can safely say I don’t think I missed anything.

    :-)

    Posted by: Lisa Renee at December 30, 2005 1:37 PM
    Comment #109214

    Ah yes, the grim, humorless, and sexually frustrated Religious Right strikes again! Raise the ghost of Oscar Wilde and Lenny Bruce! Drive all subversive thoughts underground! Let’s let them dictate what is good and proper and socially sanctioned — until everyone in America walks around acting as though they’ve got a lemon firmly lodged in their colons!

    Stephen:
    “I find people often use the words “force their beliefs on other folks” to mean that they aggressively push their ideas. Until people actually start to force their ideas through policy and outright intimidation, I just take it as it comes.

    Well, what exactly do you call what the Religious Right has been doing? Personally I call it what they’ve got a policy of intimidation when they organize gigantic letter-writing campaigns to censor a comedy show. Or when they organize mass boycotts of retailers because they aren’t displaying enough religious intolerance to suit them. Or when they have a whole cable television network whipping up an entirely fake war of religious persecution.

    “The truth is, I find, is that nobody can make me believe anything I don’t want to, and if all they are doing is simply shouting at me, I’m free to simply shout back.”

    No, instead of making you believe what you don’t want to believe, they can simply make sure you don’t get to see something at all, therefore you’ll never have the chance to form any kind of an opinion about it.
    Remember when the Reagan mini-series was pulled from CBS before anyone had even seen it? Those on the Right just pre-emptorily decided it wasn’t going to be properly sycophantic and worshipful enough to suit them — so they made sure no one would ever see it on regular network television.
    Or, they can simply orchestrate lies to tell you — Jessica Lynch Story, anyone?

    “When they try to legislate a point of view out of commission, or use brute-force intimidation, then I consider it forcing an opinion on somebody. Just because an opinion’s unwanted doesn’t mean it’s a threat.”

    Censorship from any direction IS a huge threat to freedom, and it always has been. And we must ask ourselves what’s next? Everyone lodging complaints until nothing but total innocuousness informs American culture?

    In my view, it has never been the responsibility of culture to always be fair and moderate, or to always tell people things they want to hear, or to always reinforce popularly accepted notions. Sometimes art is needed because it has the power to challenge us, or because it re-contextualizes certain things, simply to make us THINK!
    Don’t you agree that a steady cultural diet of Innocuousness is not just a crashing bore, but can actually atrophy our brains?

    JimT
    “Why certain left wing groups have to protest and get programs pulled from TV in the name of political correctness.”

    Yeah right, wasn’t it horrible how the Atheist-Left conducted that enormous letter-writing campaign until “Touched By An Angel” was cruelly and unceremoniously yanked off the air?
    LOL!
    Unfortunately, if the FREC’s keep this up, things like this are bound to begin actually happening. Tit-For-Tat Factor — and no doubt it’ll be as grim and humorless as what they’ve been doing.

    Posted by: Adrienne at December 30, 2005 1:47 PM
    Comment #109220
    I don’t enjoy that sort of “humor” but Catholic League does have the right to protest

    Lisa, no one is saying they don’t have a ‘right’ to protest. I’m just suggesting that they use common sense and respect for others and not, especially considering how they feel when the same thing is done to them.

    Finally, I am sorry you don’t ‘get’ South Park, it’s libertarian views on society are usually very humorous (for example, the episodes Rainforest Shmainforest and Two Days Before The Day After Tomorrow are some of the best social commentaries I’ve seen) and ranks up there with The Daily Show and the HILARIOUS Colbert Report. I’m confused as to why Viacom decided to pull this episode when the same group also complained about the episode in which the Catholic church was portrayed as being run by aliens who made it cannon law to molest children. This doesn’t seem to be as offensive as that would have been to any Catholic, but that’s just my opinion I guess.

    The real problem is that there are more people in this society than Christians who would like to live their lives without being told by ‘The Catholic Church’ (I’m really trying not to ‘go there’) what to watch and not watch. We would like enjoy the things we enjoy and South Park is right up there among them.

    And again, while it is their RIGHT to protest and attempt to convice something not to air, that doesn’t mean that they SHOULD.

    Posted by: Rhinehold at December 30, 2005 2:38 PM
    Comment #109224

    Adrienne,

    “Sometimes art is needed because it has the power to challenge us, or because it re-contextualizes certain things, simply to make us THINK!”

    Unfortunately, the thinking part in TV seems to be at a premium. The differentiation between the statement and the art is lost in the mad rush for the cash.
    Like in government, we the people get the entertainment that we deserve. We allways vote with our wallets. People continually bitch about the state of entertainment but don’t support the Arts. They whine about the music but CDs by guys with pierced eyeballs and hateful messages outsell everything else.
    Entertainment in America is far from cerebral because it makes the American public uncomfortable to have to think.
    Why do you think that so many Americans take everything on faith?
    To question requires thinking, and thinking is a sin.

    I may not know what is art, but I do know what crap is, and my belief in the intellectual capacity of the average American is challenged daily.
    Unreal reality sells.

    Posted by: Rocky at December 30, 2005 2:44 PM
    Comment #109226

    Btw, I read the release that Lisa pointed to in her comments. Below is the last line of the ‘statement’.

    Remember, they chose to insult Our Blessed Mother on the eve of the Immaculate Conception, and the holy day itself.

    Now… Why does that sound to me like something bin Laden would have written?

    Hmmmmmmmmmmm

    Posted by: Rhinehold at December 30, 2005 2:50 PM
    Comment #109234

    Rhinehold, I understand that supposedly South Park promotes “Libertarian” beliefs. I just don’t personally enjoy that type of humor. I watched it a few times and it’s not for me. I didn’t particularly enjoy Team America either. However those of you that enjoy that particular brand of humor are more than welcome to it. I haven’t personally ever tried to get South Park off of the air, but I can tell you I don’t let my children watch it. My husband watches it at times and if that’s what he enjoys? Fine with me, I don’t force him to watch Dr. Zhivago or on the opposite end Iron Chef with me.

    I realize the whole lure of South Park is it’s controversy. Hence I think the Catholic League while well within their rights to protest what they felt was a blasphemy only helped to promote South Park. While your idea of common sense would be for them to just ignore it and I’d tend to agree with you that would have been my tactic as well as a Catholic I can understand why some felt this went too far. Knowing the history of South Park though and the whole baby Jesus vs Santa that got them started it doesn’t suprise me that this episode was created.

    This really boils down to the question do we have the right to not be offended…which realistically we don’t. However if we are offended and we can influence a company to stop then it is the Company who catered to that group that made the decision. Now you guys can counter protest viacom for their decision to fold and that might work as well.

    Or we can all realize that the draw of South Park is to offend and they purposely created the episode as well as the timing to create what they do best, controversy! I’m sure the creators of South Park had some input into this as well and with the syndication of some cleaned up versions of South Park heading to a tv near you? They probably ended up getting more from pulling the episode than they would have from a second running of it had the Catholic League not said anything.

    Posted by: Lisa Renee at December 30, 2005 4:00 PM
    Comment #109235

    I’d also add this one since it is a follow up to the earlier link:

    Viacom board member Joseph Califano Jr., a Catholic, also condemned the episode Dec. 9, after viewing it.

    “I found it an appalling and disgusting portrayal of the virgin Mary. It is particularly troubling to me as a Roman Catholic that the segment has run on the eve and day of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day for Roman Catholics,” Califano said in a statement Friday. He called for a review of the show by Viacom president and chief executive Tom Freston.

    That’s probably the main reason this happened.

    http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=17976


    Posted by: Lisa Renee at December 30, 2005 4:04 PM
    Comment #109242

    Rhinehold
    I’m not saying that they shouldn’t be ‘allowed’ to express their outrage and try to push their agenda, I’m saying that they shouldn’t.

    They shouldn’t but you should? Typical Liberial thought. No one but them should express their opinions or push their agenda.
    Before you claim your not, what do you think your whole post was? You were expressing your oppinion that religous pwople should just keep their mouths shut and let the nonreligious people have it ALL their way.
    Like I said typical Liberial attitude.

    Posted by: Ron Brown at December 30, 2005 5:02 PM
    Comment #109243

    I haven’t seen that many episodes of South Park. The few I saw though convinced me that it should be pulled. And it aint because of the topics. I could care less about that. I personally think the show is one of stupidest things I’ve seen.
    But I’m not going to write letter or led boycotts. I’m voting to have it cut by not watching it. That’s the quickest way to get any show canceled.

    Posted by: Ron Brown at December 30, 2005 5:07 PM
    Comment #109244

    Christians like any group of people have the right to tell a company that they will lose their business if they do something - that’s how the free market system works.

    If people are really upset about a group influencing a supplier to provide (or not provide in this case) something that they want - then they need to get organized and counteract the demand - they need to say “show this” or we stop watching your station. If that group is larger than the other group, the station will cater to the largest audience.

    For people to think a station should supply content that only a minority of people will watch and will piss off a majority of people is just bad business and not consistent with the free market system that we live in.

    People have a right to freedom of speech, but not a loudspeaker paid for by someone else.

    If more people gave a crap about what the media puts in front of them as news and threatened not to watch it - the news might actually return to being informative instead of the latest gossip report. Same thing with Washington, if “normal” people got organized the way corporations and special interest groups do, our country would be different than it is today.

    Posted by: lego at December 30, 2005 5:10 PM
    Comment #109246

    Rocky:
    “Unfortunately, the thinking part in TV seems to be at a premium. The differentiation between the statement and the art is lost in the mad rush for the cash.”

    So true. And that is probably why it is so upsetting to me that people on the Right are going after PBS and a cable station such as Comedy Central. The last places where thinking and TV can be said in the same sentence with a straight face.

    “Like in government, we the people get the entertainment that we deserve. We allways vote with our wallets.”

    Again, I agree. I don’t know about you, but I take very seriously who, where, and what I’m voting for with my cash.

    “People continually bitch about the state of entertainment but don’t support the Arts.”

    I do. All the time.
    I’ve always been a bit of a culture-hound, though I try not to be snobby about it. That means I try to take in both the high and the low forms of culture, and a lot of things in between: Museums to Art Galleries to Underground Comix. The Opera to Local Clubs, to Dives that give chances to bands who don’t yet have a following. Lectures, to Bookstore Readings, to Poetry Slams. I think it makes life a lot more interesting to mix it all up. How about you? Do you support the Arts?

    “They whine about the music but CDs by guys with pierced eyeballs and hateful messages outsell everything else.”

    That’s true, but then for every Rocker or Rapper channelling teenage angst and alienation, there is the mindless yet high-grossing pablum of your Celine Dion or Whitney Houston types — or the majority of Country Music performers, you know? Personally, I’m grateful that many people are putting out their own music when none of the major labels will give them a shot. (Like my favorite band of late: Slacktone, check them out - I think they’re amazing.) And there are still a few indy-labels like SubPop or Alternative Tentacles that are also producing plenty of great music.

    “Entertainment in America is far from cerebral because it makes the American public uncomfortable to have to think.”

    But pop culture has always been that way to a large extent — there is still plenty of the underground kind to enjoy.

    “Why do you think that so many Americans take everything on faith?
    To question requires thinking, and thinking is a sin.”

    Since I’d rather be dead than to ever quit questioning and thinking, just call me a sinner! :^)

    “I may not know what is art,”

    Sure you do! Everybody does! It’s supposed to be personal and individual. That’s the whole point.

    “but I do know what crap is,”

    :^) That too is personal, and individual. Some people really do LOVE Celine Dion, and Whitney Houston, and Michael Bolton and Barry Manilow!

    “and my belief in the intellectual capacity of the average American is challenged daily.”

    Yeah, I know. Me too sometimes. But I try to keep my outlook positive, for fear I’ll turn into a Crabapple Annie.

    “Unreal reality sells.”

    Yeah, but only because the idiots in charge think that’s all the American people can handle — which isn’t true at all.
    I’m of the opinion that if you give people more choices and plenty of variety, their minds can and will grow enormously.
    People trying to censor culture just because they don’t like what might be spoken, seen, or heard are people I must also classify in the idiot category.

    Posted by: Adrienne at December 30, 2005 5:22 PM
    Comment #109247

    Ron,

    1) I’m not a liberal. If you would read the full content of the article/comments you would see I’m a libertarian. Ie, people should be free to do as they want unless it directly harms another. (and an insult or offensive material harms no one)

    2) If you can’t tell the difference between expressing an opinion in an attempt to change the hearts and minds of someone you disagree with and pressured censorship by a majority over a minorty, then I suppose you are good conservative and there’s little we can discuss about the subject.

    Posted by: Rhinehold at December 30, 2005 5:22 PM
    Comment #109257

    Rhinehold
    So trying to change the hearts and minds of kids by not letting them carry Bibles to school aint censorship. But trying to remove a worthless TV program is.
    OK!

    Posted by: Ron Brown at December 30, 2005 6:12 PM
    Comment #109260

    Ron,

    Have you seen me suggest that kids shouldn’t be allowed to carry bibles to school?

    Please point out where I’ve suggested that…

    Posted by: Rhinehold at December 30, 2005 6:19 PM
    Comment #109261

    As far as South Park being a ‘worthless’ TV program, you’re nuts. It’s one of the best shows I’ve seen on television, we need programs that try to point out the flaws in our society and make us better people.

    If you don’t get it, fine, don’t watch. However, if you think it should be ‘taken off the air’, let’s get on it. And we’ll get O’Reiley, any church mass, the 700 club, etc. Those should be removed in kind.

    HTH

    Posted by: Rhinehold at December 30, 2005 6:22 PM
    Comment #109262

    Adrienne-
    I find the economic intimidation to be outside the bounds. Let the viewers of the program decide. If a guy like Bill Maher makes a controversial comment, and people stop watching, take the show off then. Otherwise, see if you can’t find another sponsor.

    I do think the pulling of the Reagan show was a chickenshit move, and I likely said so at the time on this site. Political intimidation is the last thing we need in the media.

    The Media can be manipulated, and can manipulate. The key is to get legislation and regulation through that break up the media conglomerates and ensure a wider range of voices in the national media.

    Now people are free to say they don’t like something and that they want it censored. It’s an unfortunate side effect of free speech is that people can freely speak words contradictory to it. It’s actions I care about.

    Ultimately, the biggest problem is thin-skinned dispositions, and too many people with them. I get along fine in this environment of conflicting opinions because I never feel intimidated into silence by another’s strong views. Although I would want better standards in programming, that’s not really my decision- yet.

    I plan to be a decision maker one of these days, and I hope I’ll be able to wrestle some good material onto the airwaves. Until then, I will reward those who provide good material by watching it and buying it.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 30, 2005 6:32 PM
    Comment #109265

    Rhinehold
    I don’t like O’Reiley or the 700 Club either. Neither are true Conservitive or Christians.
    As far as churches go, the Left is trying to get them off TV as it is.
    BTW, What does the Devil having homosexuall relationships with Saddam, and Micheal Jackson have to do with the flaws of our society? Maybe to prove homosexuallity is wrong? Or right?
    Like I said, I’ve seen the show.

    I haven’t seen or heard anything from you against kids having Bibles. But the Left wants to ban them. That’s censorship.

    Posted by: Ron Brown at December 30, 2005 7:00 PM
    Comment #109266

    The FREC’s (Fundamentalist Right Evangelical Christians) are afraid, they are very, very afraid. What are they afraid of? They are afraid of the future and their lack of control over it. Not dissimilar from many folks fear of death. The odd thing is, even if they were in control as authoritarian despots which is their secret dream, they would not be any less afraid. Just more vindictive and torturous of those who would challenge their control and fears. See the Middle Ages Europe for a host of examples.

    They are predominantly white and will before too long be a minority. This is fearful. They are literalists when it comes to the Bible, refusing to acknowledge and see the merits of the Spencer Tracey’s arguments in Inherit The Wind. Embarassing questions like where did Cain’s wife come from in Genesis?

    They are a minority of all Christians, this is scary. They are a minority in a democracy. This is frightening. They lost the Civil Rights battle, this is depressing. They are going to lose their beloved President Bush in 2008, this is intolerably frightening. A great many are anti-abortion but pro-death penalty and pro-war. This schism of principle is uneasing, and made all the more so by heathen devil’s pointing such hypocrisy up in public venues.

    The world is a mess and going to hell in a handbasket all because of that sea of humanity who refuse to join their ranks. This is the most frightening preception of reality of all. For in a Democracy, unless they can get control of the school curriculums in this country, the future will continue to belong to the majority of heathen devil’s who banner tolerance, and rational thinking and diversity as positive concepts along with healthy skepticism as a modus operandi.

    No, the FREC’s simply must get control of the schools if they are to have any future of control and dominance over others in America.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at December 30, 2005 7:16 PM
    Comment #109267
    I haven’t seen or heard anything from you against kids having Bibles. But the Left wants to ban them. That’s censorship.

    Is anyone being harmed by a student having a bible? If not, it doesn’t go against my Libertarian beliefs. You insinuated, I felt, in your post that you were suggesting I was a) a liberal and b) in approval of such measures.

    However, I am curious as to any example of any liberal trying to prevent students from carrying bibles to school. Do you have a link?

    Depends on the situation and context. In the storyline you are discussing with the Devil and Hussain, it was a pretty good story about relationships and how unless you are confident and secure in yourself you can’t be a good partner to anyone else. The fact that it was a ‘homosexual’ relationship is just another side story about how homosexual relationships are no different than heterosexual ones (save the sexual acts, many of them being the same depending upon the relationship in question).

    Of course, if you just see a bunch of stupid scenes cut together on the screen with a bunch of curse words and miss the underlying stories and the comedic timing, focusing rather on the non-standard style of comedy, then you’ll probably just think it’s stupid.

    Btw, it’s similar to when Monty Python first aired. Few people undestood it, felt it was ‘stupid’ and made no sense. It went on to revolutionize the way people see comedy and did point out flaws in society very well I feel. I think that if you ask the people from Monty Python how they feel about Trey and Matt that they will agree with my assertion that they are doing a fine job of following in their footsteps (The fact that they have appeared with each other a few times in skits helps bolster that opinion).

    Now, if you also feel that Monty Python is ‘just stupid’ then we’ll just have to agree that your sense of humor is not one that gets that type of comedy. And that ok.

    Just don’t use methods to prevent those of us who enjoy and benefit from the airing of this show from seeing it because you don’t like it, that’s simply the height of conceit and selfishness.

    Posted by: Rhinehold at December 30, 2005 7:23 PM
    Comment #109270

    The FREC’s (Fundamentalist Right Evangelical Christians) are afraid, they are very, very afraid. What are they afraid of? They are afraid of the future and their lack of control over it.
    Posted by David R. Remer at December 30, 2005 07:16 PM
    ================================================

    I disagree. This action is nothing new. Remember the “Heaven” by Lennon battles or that 80’s movie about Mary?

    They’ve been insinuating theselves into the political arena for decades and they finaly have a politician dependent upon their support for his power (i.e. Bush43).

    They’re not afraid of losing, they think this is their time and TV is just one small front.

    Posted by: Dave at December 30, 2005 7:53 PM
    Comment #109276

    Rhinehold
    Are there shows that you don’t like? Or even hate?
    Do you watch those shows? By not watching them your voting to get them cut from TV. Is that any different than my voting to get South Park cut by not watching it?
    I’m not writting letters to sponsers or the net work. I’m not circulating petitions.
    As long as it’s on TV you can watch it until you go blind if you want to. I’m not telling you not to watch it.
    I guess you think that I wanted to censor Sienfeild too. I didn’t like it either, so I didn’t watch it.
    I don’t think I’ve ever seen Monty Python. So I cann’t comment on it. Reckon you might think I censored it too.

    Posted by: Ron Brown at December 30, 2005 8:48 PM
    Comment #109304

    Ron,

    This is what you said:

    I haven’t seen that many episodes of South Park. The few I saw though convinced me that it should be pulled.

    Now, that tells me that you would like to see it taken off of television.

    I don’t like ‘Trading Spouses’, I think it’s about as stupid as can be. But I am not suggesting it should be taken off of the air, because someone else might like it and want to see it.

    If by my not watching it doesn’t get enough support, then fine. But I am in no way saying it should be pulled or making a point to never watch it so it doesn’t get votes, etc…

    If I misunderstood your statement to mean something you didn’t, I apologize. But what you said to me makes it appear that you don’t want anything on the air that you don’t like, but are meeting your goal by choosing not to watch it, not by use advertising pressure…

    I guess it’s just a viewpoint thing.

    Posted by: Rhinehold at December 31, 2005 12:35 AM
    Comment #109311

    Rhinehold,

    “I don’t like ‘Trading Spouses’, I think it’s about as stupid as can be. But I am not suggesting it should be taken off of the air, because someone else might like it and want to see it.”

    My problem isn’t the subject matter. It’s the pervasive mentality that caused it to be.

    Americans are becoming idiots, and those that can understand the difference are just standing back, and allowing it to happen.
    With the rise of the reality fighting matches, how long will it be before we see an actual human sacrifice for ratings.
    South Park is cerebral by comparison. Monty Python was light years ahead of their time and people still don’t get the jokes.
    I don’t distain the 700 Club, or Professional wrestling (though the two aren’t that far apart).

    I distain the mentality that makes them nescessary.

    Posted by: Rocky at December 31, 2005 12:58 AM
    Comment #109397

    FRECs are not a minority in this country. The latest numbers say there are 50 million people who identify with that religios denomination. Therefore they have enormous clout and economic power. the “wall” of separation is definitely crumbling. I am in the group of the disabled poor, and I have occasion to need govenment largesse. Many programs are being turned over to faith-based groups and I am being put in the position of having to go to religious institutions to receive help. I am an atheist and I find this highly offensive. I usually am not concerned to express my opinion on matters of a religious nature, but I am sure that if they knew how i think, there would be real trouble. I find it offensive that there is any kind of religious litmus test at all, that in dealing with the government I have to be subjected to any proselytizing, (which happens regularly), or that any co-pays I may have to pay goes in some small part to fund any religious institutions. Remember GHWB said that atheists were incapable of real AMERICAN patriotism and implied that we were suspect as citizens.

    Posted by: synecdoche at December 31, 2005 6:06 AM
    Comment #109431

    Sorry I asked a question then split for a day…

    I’ve read your responses though, and I still don’t buy your argument. To me it sounds more like envy of the large groups, like the Catholic League, to actually make enough noise to effect change.

    Matt and Trey took a shot at the Catholics with this episode, just as they have taken a shot at just about everyone else. I’m sure they expected to get a reaction, and it appears that the Catholic League made a successful bid to have the episode removed. I don’t hear Matt and Trey complaining (and yes it probably helps them). This exchange in no way demonstrates that the Catholics are trying to impose their beliefs on you, me, or even the people at South Park. They merely took advantage of their right of free speech.

    As to the blue laws well that’s just another example of the religion in government that supposedly does not exist in this secular country. I don’t see anything wrong with it at the local and state level; a representative government certainly reflects the values of the people, and that was the point many of the federalistic arguments. It does suck when you need some more beer on gameday though.

    Posted by: George in SC at December 31, 2005 8:48 AM
    Comment #109450

    Stephen, I’ve got no argument with any of the points you raised in your last post.
    “I plan to be a decision maker one of these days, and I hope I’ll be able to wrestle some good material onto the airwaves.”

    Decision maker within the television industry or elsewhere in entertainment? All I can say is that American entertainment in general can use more people who are as intelligent and articulate as you are, so I wish you the best of luck!

    “Until then, I will reward those who provide good material by watching it and buying it.”

    Absolutely. Though I do think Rocky is making a good point about how there is a pervasive mentality that seems to be reveling in the trashiest of garbage, and that the entertainment industry in general has really been catering to that lowest common denominator for quite a few years now. Not sure what can be done if more and more people begin to actually enjoy such stuff due to an overwhelming tide of stupidity that leaves intelligent people in a minority in America.

    Posted by: Adrienne at December 31, 2005 12:18 PM
    Comment #109458

    Adrienne,

    IMHO, we are besieged with moronic, lowest common denominator, entertainment because we educate in the same way. We don’t challenge students because we are afraid of crushing their self esteem. Likewise imaginative entertainment is seen by some as elitist.
    Otherwise why would Professional wrestling command such an audience?

    When I was in grade school, one of the teachers, a Franciscan nun railed against John Lennon’s comments about the Beatles being more popular than Jesus.
    Well the truth is, at the time they were, yet there was a great hue and cry in some areas of this country to destroy Beatles records and other paraphernalia.
    Why? Because by that statement Lennon challenged the intelligence of the American public. To my knowledge there were no such demonstrations held anywhere else in the world.

    Leave it to the Americans.

    Posted by: Rocky at December 31, 2005 12:47 PM
    Comment #109514

    Synecdoche, your figure sounds inflated, but, out of 296 million people, 50 still constitutes a minority. Little math lesson for you, 51% constitutes a majority, 49% and less equals a minority.

    But you are absolutely right. They are a very powerful minority, and if the majority remains silent, this minority will dictate policy and law to the rest of us. The time is now to contact your representatives to put a halt to this domination of American politics and lawmaking by this minority.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at December 31, 2005 5:09 PM
    Comment #109689

    This fictional ‘war on Christmas,’ is nothing more than an attempt to create a pretense for those who claim to be persecuted to persecute a small number of people who have the decency to respect our cultural diversity by not mentioning any one religion’s holiday in particular. This is tantamount to a Carl Rove spin manuever. What is most disturbing, as the author describes, is the American populace’s stupidity when it comes to this matter. Nobody is telling them that they cannot say, “Merry Christmas,” we are simply saying that it is inappropriate for the government and its agents to show preference to any single religion. I want to live this country as quickly as possible, because the population is growing stupier at an alarming rate, and nobody can even estimate the consequences of having an adult population with the intellectual sophistication of an 8 year old.
    Russell Cole

    Posted by: Russell cole at January 1, 2006 7:12 PM
    Comment #110055

    OOOOhhhhh!!!! Russel Cole, that was so politically incorrect of you, someone is going to report what you said to the PC police. You didn’t say this, but, your comments imply that the Founding Fathers may have been justified in restricting the vote to those most likely to be educated in letters and math and rational thinking. Good thing you only implied it, though. If you had said this straight out about our Founding Fathers you might have to leave town in the middle of the night if the PC police found out where you live.

    Since everyone knows I am crazy and a liberal pinko commie anyway, I will come out and say it is time America considered the minimum requirement of an Associate’s Degree in order to qualify to vote in a national election. I can’t think of one single action other than this one to raise the standards of politics in America as well as motivate young people toward both education and the vote. Freedom is like air, when you have it all around, you never think about it. Find it in short supply, the entire life force musters to increase its supply.

    Restrict the right to vote to educational accomplishment, and the voting will be valued far, far more in America. So will education. OK, now I did it, its the middle of the night and I have to move on to the next town.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at January 4, 2006 3:48 AM
    Comment #110091

    Russell cole
    If you cann’t afford a plane ticket use your thumb. Mexico aint that far away.

    David
    Now your going to have th PC police down on your ass insted of Russells.

    Posted by: Ron Brown at January 4, 2006 9:03 AM
    Comment #110514

    (I probably won’t be coming back here, so tear me apart as you wish. I haven’t even seen the original text—I found these comments while Googling up for a list of what gets cut from South Park when it strayed from cable.)

    Anyway, I doubt that requirement to vote is going to motivate many of the young people in this country. Young people, simply put, can care less about voting, and they can care less about education. Neither is instant gratification, and therefore, participation in either is geeky. Being “cool” is like a full-time job, the cool kids constantly preoccupied by “cool stuff” to do or even think about anything else. Anybody who participates in any activity that isn’t cool is uncool. It’s anti-intellectualism. How likely would these kids, who consider dropping out as a badge of honor, use their brainpower to vote? The only young people who’ll vote are the intellectuals anyway.

    Or maybe I just have a distorted view of the world, as I hail from southern California. The LAUSD is filled with kids climbing over the school fences like it was some kind of prison and thinking Condoleezza Rice is something you serve with kung pao chicken, then ordering some at a Panda Express.

    As for the episode itself, I’m kicking myself for missing it the first time around, but I’m sure that it’ll come back with time. Remember a documentary called “Harvest of Shame”? It was about migrant farmers, whose lives were bordering on slavery, working in the fields to bring us fresh corn and beets and all that. Its controversy came from its airdate: Thanksgiving Day (U.S., at least), when everyone would have these vegetables right on their tables. It was pulled from TV after an avalanche of complaints of ruined Thanksgivings. Now it’s taught in every documentary class.

    I see this as history repeating itself. Eventually, Viacom will be led by someone not as furiously religious, the Catholics will forget about this, and fifty years from now, holo-discs of South Park Retro Collection will have this episode completely intact.

    I now leave you with a quote that reflects my experiences at school: “I like it because it’s good, you know?”

    Posted by: Ophelia at January 5, 2006 9:12 PM
    Comment #110841

    I saw the banned episode of South Park. While it was fairly offensive, it did not stack up to the Schivo take-off when Kenny was went on and off life support. Nor did it have the visceral punch of the Christmas episode in which “They shocked Santa’s balls”. Any one who missed it can rest assured that they have seen better episodes.

    What was this thread about? Oh, yeah, the Christmas/Holiday conflict.

    I favor celebrating more holidays, not less. Have we become so intolerant that we will turn our backs on presents, feasts and days off? I’m not jewish, but I wish my jewish friends the appropriate greetings for their holy days. Ditto for Christian holidays (also not my faith). I’m congratulatory and glad when our local football team wins (even though sports bore me to tears). I like these things because these events make people happy and happy people are usually more pleasant to deal with.

    Let’s celebrate more, not less. Life’s too short.

    Posted by: good king ned at January 7, 2006 12:46 AM
    Comment #110853

    Adrienna:

    I checked out Slacktone. Tidal Wave - way cool.

    Thanks

    Posted by: good king ned at January 7, 2006 1:35 AM
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