Ok, I have to write about something else than Virginia Tech. I just saw this South Park spoof on 300 and in typical South Park fashion it pushes the envelope regarding the troubling politics of the movie even further. Does that automatically make it into a progressive critique? If not, why should South Park get away with its reproduction of regressive politics? Does it get a free pass because it is SO over the top, so uninterested in hiding its problematic political project, that we cannot judge it? It seems like over the years people have just come to assume that South Park is doing something progressive and that therefore we are able and allowed to laugh at their brand of social critique. Is this, however, the kind of one-dimensional work satire (if we even want to call this satire, as satire is far more complex and intelligent than a mereover the top repetition and exaggeration of problems) has been reduced to, merely reproducing stereotypes in exaggerated form and acting as though this were immediately a deep analysis and strong commentary? I personally am quite weary of the political project of South Park, especially after I saw Team America World Police, which I had hoped would be funny in precisely a progressive way, but which turned out to be troublingly regressive and conservative. The latest example of this is the episode you can see an excerpt from below, which, if we are honest, does not do anything to counter the politics of the film its references. If anything, it concretizes deep seated cultural stereotypes. The only difference is that it does so in a way that invites Persians to laugh at them as well, which seems to be the standard brand of contemporary Comedy Central humour: we are all so anti-racist that it is ok to laugh at stereotypes again. It is just important to make sure that the people who are being ridiculed can laugh along with us. This reminds me tragically of Adorno’s dictum: “there is laughter because there is nothing to laugh about.
Viacom seems to be removing this video from youtube quite quickly, so if you cannot see the embedded video, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsjfrr0sZ7Q (that should still be there)