Pharyngula

South Park…ho hum.

I caught most of South Park tonight, and it certainly was topical: it wasn’t so much about evolution as it was RIchard Dawkins and The God Delusion. Unfortunately, as South Park seems to do whenever I see it, there wasn’t much thought behind it at all. Richard Dawkins is made to have sex with Mr Garrison, there’s something about intelligent sea otters, and a future world where everyone is an atheist and different factions are having a war. Trey Parker and Matt Stone aren’t exactly masters of subtlety, I’m afraid, and it was their usual frenetic mish-mash.

Oh, well. It’s a two-parter, so there’ll be more gay/transexual sex-as-some-kind-of-satire next week. I didn’t see much to trigger either outrage or interest this time, so I suspect I’ll miss it.

Comments

  1. #1 Clastito
    November 1, 2006

    Dawkins having sex with Mr. Garrison???!!!! hahahahahahahaha

  2. #2 Rienk
    November 1, 2006

    I thought it was actually quite funny and I am a huge fan of Dawkins. Sure, I disagree with Matt and Tray often — their libertarianism is so obvious and I believe that libertarianism will only lead to chaos due to greedy human nature — but it’s their opinion. The points they often try to make are rather shallow, not thoroughly tested (might be the Libertarianism), but funny.
    This doesn’t seem to stir great a controversy in atheist circles, unlike their religious jokes (the bleeding virgin Mary or Scientology for instance) which, according to me says enough about religion and non-religion.

    But couldn’t they at least fake Professor Dawkins’ accent a bit better?

  3. #3 EK
    November 2, 2006

    Tyler DiPietro:

    I enjoyed the global warming episode (Manbearpig) quite a bit. Although they made fun of Gore’s cries for attention, the boy’s problems mirrored global warming pretty well.

    They were trapped, rising water and all, while the greedy Cartman begged the others to help his resource-hogging heavy ass. Just as those responsible for the majority of the CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere will force others to deal with the problems it creates.

    It may just be that I read far too deeply into every episode (I seem to get different messages from Trey Parker’s work than those around me) but I think (hope) the latest installment will end with a moral lesson that either will be contrary to what the characters will accept, or Dawkins will be killed by the sea otters from the future in a cop-out.

  4. #4 Basharov
    November 2, 2006

    Trey and Parker jumped the shark with this one. A transexual school-teacher taking a dump in an elementary school classroom and throwing the shit in Richard Dawkins’ face, followed by Dawkins’ butt-fucking the school-teacher, followed by exploding atheists’ heads in the 25th Century? I’d suggest that Dawkins sue the assholes, but it would be best if this episode were never seen or talked about again, and not because it was a tasteless, pointless piece of shit (who doesn’t love pieces of shit especially if they’re tasteless?) but because they’re just phoning in the “who the can we witlessly degrade this week?” schtick. What’s next? Lyndon Johnson fucking JFK’s corpse’s neck wound on the trip back to D.C. in Air Force One while blood-soaked Jackie watches and masturbates? Oh, wait, I think that’s already been done. Never mind.

  5. #5 Akusai
    November 2, 2006

    This is really just the latest in a long series of “Atheism is a religion too, and so is science, so there” shit that Parker and Stone have been pulling for a while. They misrepresent what it means to be an atheist, treat lack of faith like faith in itself, and pretend that “Hey, everyone believes in God. Just do it. Come on.” Not only that, the scene with Dawkins and Garrison at dinner was obviously custom-tailored to make Dawkins’ arguments look stupid. Parker and Stone’s argument for theism is roughly equivalent to a Bill O’Reilly “Come on! Come on! You can’t be serious!”

    I don’t mind tastelessness and juvenile humor. I, in fact, kind of adore it. What I do hate is inaccuracies and ignorance.

  6. #6 Troy
    November 2, 2006

    My prediction is that the second part will reveal that the factions are fighting over who was the ‘creator’ of their faith-i.e. Dawkins or Mrs. Garrison. I think the point is that atheism is as much a faith as Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Budhism, etc. They are all existential choices.
    I also liked how they made Dawkins’ make Mrs. Garrison pass the “atheist” test before he sodomized her. Having her refer to him as “Dick” was classic too. Perhaps that is why it looked like the future atheist group that unfroze Cartman were “dickheads”?
    I haven’t noticed a decline in the show’s creativity just new targets.

  7. #7 Kristine
    November 2, 2006

    Well, the UD-chewers are glowing about it, and were, even before they saw it, saying that Parker and Stone have dealt Dawkins a big blow etc. I guess we can see how classy the ID folks are. I positively cringed (the FSM mention was the high point), but let’s face it, I stopped watching South Park long ago.

    It is funny to imagine, though, Dembsko’leary & Friends settling down in front of the TV with cheer, only to have their Christian morals offended and lunge toward the set to turn it off.

  8. #8 Ken Cope
    November 2, 2006

    The only episode of South Park shot with construction paper was the “Xmas Card” piece done as an intro for Matt and Trey– once it landed them their series they immediately went to the dying tech of SGI boxes running Alias, at the time a very expensive proposition per animator. I don’t really care what they’re using these days, as the premise that nobody seems to grasp is that they’re adding little or no value with their pictures to what is essentially radio, which is an art form taking only slightly more time to die than 2D hand animation.

    Speaking of radio, San Francisco’s KQED FM hosted Richard Dawkins November 1st for an hour, with some fielded emails and phone calls. If you hurry, you can download the mp3 here.

    And, since there appears to be no escape from entropy, KQED goes from the sublime to the ridiculous by hosting Deepak Chopra the very next day.

    It would appear there was no time to address the question I emailed, which I may also send tomorrow:

    I owe many thanks to Richard Dawkins, whose books since the seventies have slowly but surely dissolved my god delusion.

    In America, nonsense is the null hypothesis: ayurvedic homeopathic snakeoil peddled by gurus jiving us with their cosmic debris.

    Why is it considered so rude for somebody like Dr. Dawkins to prefer that people confine themselves to positions for which there is more evidence than their mere credulity?

  9. #9 Joe Otten
    November 2, 2006

    If South Park is the sort of show that might have Fred Phelps sucking off George Bush, why shouldn’t they have Dawkins fucking Mr Garrison.

    Crass comedy material for south park doesn’t work for being true, it works because you know a sizeable number of people think like that.

    I think having a go at South Park for what it seems to be advocating is missing the point.

    Anyway it’s more publicity for Dawkins and the God Delusion.

    I’ll watch it when I work out which channel is showing new south park these days in the UK, if I haven’t missed it already.

  10. #10 Duke
    November 2, 2006

    The part about the atheists dividing in to factions and having a war was hilarious.

    You get a taste of it when you see how much Dawkins despised Gould, despite posthumous praise to the contrary.

    Quetion:

    Dawkins says most scientists are atheists; scientists keep providing the worlds leaders with all the nuclear weapons they could want!

    Do the scientists have blood on their hands. (Oppenheimer did, but hes dead, so you can’t count him.)

  11. #11 RickD
    November 2, 2006

    Dawkins despised Gould? “Despite poshumous praise to the contrary”? Despite having maintained a civil correspondence?

    Care to support this argument, Duke?

  12. #12 MarkP
    November 2, 2006

    I saw this coming, and frankly I’m surprised so few of you did. The episode years ago that had people as atheists stuffing food up their ass and shitting out of their mouths gave it away. Parker and Stone have never been totally about rationality. Their targets have always been anyone with the audacity to say that someone else is wrong.

    And frankly, as one who has spent a lot more time watching the first four seasons on DVD than the new episodes, the general quality of the show has gone down a bit. The voices have become much more homogenized for one thing, and that intangible quality of humor known as “timing” just isn’t what it used to be. But it is still head and shoulders above most TV fare.

    I mean come on, if you didn’t laugh at Garrison’s idiotic reaction to Dawkins’ lecture (acting like a monkey, complete with the requisite shit tossing) you are too much of a prude to be watching South Park in the first place.

    The sequel will go something like this: Atheism became the mainstream ideology, with those favoring Dawkins’ variety wearing the phallic headpieces being the “Dicks”, with those favoring Garrison’s varient being the transgendered group (notice the attacking atheists are difficult to distinguish as male or female).

    Cartman will then tell them how stupid they all are, and how they are just another religion, and they will then send him back, where he will confront Dawkins, telling him he is as much of a zealot as Pat Robertson, Dawkins will come to some simplistic realization that will make all in Atheismland vomit, and they will all join hands and sing “Tra la la”.

  13. #13 rrt
    November 2, 2006

    “It’s not meant to be taken seriously.”

    Sorry, Steve, I can’t buy that. Sure, Dawkins + Garrison monkeylove isn’t meant seriously, but their attacks on various ideas and ideologies, c’mon. This isn’t “just joking,” and it’s a cheap excuse to claim so.

    I really only had time to pay attention to the latter half, so I can’t comment much on the anti-creationist portions. My gripe is that it offered a cop-out of an approach, seeking a false middle ground in order to offend everyone equally…although I’m not so sure they weren’t seeking the audience’s favor with the tired old “everyone’s a theist, atheists just don’t admit it” rag.

    I don’t mind them offending “evolutionists” and atheists, but I don’t consider the crap they presented about evolution = atheism and atheism = religion as satire or insult comedy. It’s simply false information, and I don’t think they were JUST doing it to be funny. I think they believe it. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the anti-creationist stuff I missed was equally shallow and “false.” Admittedly, it’s hard to find a silly idea creationists don’t hold, but there are plenty of positions you can get the DI and such to vehemently deny, such as if they had Dembski going back in time to help Noah stock his ark.

    All in all, it was pretty much a snarky, stumbling, occasionally funny jumble, which I’m hearing is what to expect from SP. :/

  14. #14 Joe
    November 2, 2006

    The first lecture Mrs Garrison gave on evolution was FUNNY as hell. You 5 times retarted ass sex monkey fish squirrel mutant. Then when Dawkins got there and everything think he said she would reply “oh ya, your a fagot.” That sums up ID arguments to a tee.

  15. #15 Kristine
    November 2, 2006

    I saw this coming

    Yeah, I saw the “atheists at war” thing coming, too. It’s about as original as a college freshman’s essay against deer hunting in Lit 101.

    I mean come on, if you didn’t laugh at Garrison’s idiotic reaction to Dawkins’ lecture

    I saw that coming, too (I’m not saying that our mouths didn’t turn up a little). I’m no prude, but I like to be surprised.

    The whole “faggot” thing is said (in different words) all the time at UD and I’m sick of it.

    How about South Park depicting Dembski having sex with a hot militant atheist? Hm? (No, no, please don’t…)

  16. #16 Zbu
    November 2, 2006

    Is it just me, or does anybody just not care that South Park tried to mock Richard Dawkins. They did it, but…well, I don’t find it that incisive or particularly care very much. Dawkins will have the class to let it roll off his back and…well, that really negates the effect Parker and Stone are trying to have.

    And I like Drawn Together: nasty, but effective.

  17. #17 Glen Davidson
    November 2, 2006

    Other than the juvenility and lack of funniness, it was fine for our side. I’m saying that this is the first South Park I’ve watched in years, because it didn’t make me laugh any more. But for those who do watch, Dawkins comes in with the real version of science, keeps his own atheism out of the lesson on evolution, and sets the anti-evolutionist straight (so to speak).

    I hate to differ with Stan’s pious sentiments about “why” and “how”, but I’m afraid that when we see the meaninglessness of evolutionary processes we have probably answered the “why” as much as we are able to discover, other than the valuations that we ourselves put on life and its origins. In fact the reason people have little problem with science until one gets to evolution is that it is not very difficult to believe that “gravity is the way it is” for the sake of people and maybe the animals, and all of the rest of the sciences may be interpreted as being “for” our existence. God’s interest resided in life alone at the end, then Darwin (and others) kicked out the prop that gave meaning to the rest of the universe/science.

    The IDists are right about that one thing, that the “how” of life’s origination suggests that there is no “why”, other than ordinary classical causality in a universe not very suitable for life. If you have a precious “why”, a non-empirically based god, or Raven, or some such thing, evolution does nothing to prevent such a belief. However one should note that the stories were originally made in order to explain something, not to explain nothing. Evolution shows that the myths do explain nothing, except the psyches of the minds that produced the myths.

    No real harm to Dawkins, of course, since he isn’t misrepresented professionally, and the whole screwing Ms. Garrison (and no, it is not buttfucking as some have suggested–she is fully transgendered as far as I know) thing is, well, just stupid. Wars among atheists are not surprising (communists fighting each other, for instance), but atheist sects per se fighting each other is rather absurd, kind of a stock “everything is the same” notion that fails in real life. And Stan’s “how” and not “why” is insipid pandering to the lowest common denominator.

    Trey and Matt seem to have simply woven some current events unremarkably together, recycling pretty much the same “fag” and turd jokes, while exhibiting an orthodox conception of evolution and how it is supposed to be compatible with religion (which it is, so long as religion is treated as if it tells us essentially nothing). It seems lame in just about every category, from its “humor” to failing to tell viewers anything interesting about evolution. No real harm to anyone, which is why it is inadequate as satire.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

  18. #18 Chris
    November 2, 2006

    That’s because there is no answer to why. Teleology is just wrong. Give it up.

    Re Dawkins on Gould: the one example I can quickly remember and find of Dawkins commenting on Gould is the following from _Unweaving the Rainbow_.

    My remaining examples of bad poetry in evolutionary science come largely from a single author, the American paleontologist and essayist Stephen Jay Gould. I am anxious that such critical concentration upon one individual shall not be taken as personally rancorous. On the contrary, it is Gould’s excellence as a writer that makes his errors, when they occur, so eminently worth rebutting.

    He then goes on to criticize Gould for strained analogies between schools of thought Dawkins regards as only superficially similar; calling the Cambrian special because the lineages that diverged then are *now* called different phyla, and possibly thinking that they were as different *then* as their modern descendants are now; and apparently assuming (and/or giving the misleading impression) that if the earliest known fossils of several groups are close together in time, the groups themselves must have originated and split off from one another close together in time.

    He also quotes Maynard Smith’s much less favorable opinion of Gould (“a man whose ideas are so confused as to be hardly worth bothering with”…”giving non-biologists a largely false picture of the state of evolutionary theory”.)

    Now, of course, you could argue that quoting Smith’s opinion constitutes an endorsement of it and therefore an attack on Gould by proxy, despite his earlier disclaimer of hostility; but this is, at best, weak. The tone of Dawkins’s discussion of Gould is criticism of the way he expresses his ideas, not necessarily even criticism of the ideas themselves (let alone an attack on their author).

  19. #19 Inoculated Mind
    November 2, 2006

    “Then when Dawkins got there and everything think he said she would reply “oh ya, your a fagot.” That sums up ID arguments to a tee.”

    You’re very right, the UD crowd frequently calls Dawkins female epithets or suggest that he wears female underwear. That sums it up indeed.

    In case anyone wants to download the episode to watch, you can go to http://www.southparkx.net

  20. #20 Ichthyic
    November 2, 2006

    The information can only come from without. Is there a without? I don’t really know, but neither to you. I am however, willing to admit that I don’t know.

    first, you claim relevant information can only come from without, then you claim you don’t know if “without” even exists.

    riiiigggghhhhtttt…

    sure looks like a “god of the gaps” argument to me.

  21. #21 Ichthyic
    November 2, 2006

    I hope the distinction is clear.

    clear as mud.

    good luck with your imaginary dichotomies.

  22. #22 Ichthyic
    November 2, 2006

    What is God anyway?

    you should go take a gander at the definition of god thread.

    much more ammenable to silly metaphysical posturing.

  23. #23 JackGoff
    November 2, 2006

    We do have Brane theory.

    Uh, yeah, this is mathematical (and also not exactly proven via empirical data yet). Are you saying some bullshit to the effect that “there’s God in the numbers”? Why impart a human construct lacking definition into a tightly mathematical framework lacking evidence for said construct? Because if you think M-theory and such have any evidence for God, simply because they describe more dimensions to reality than four, you aren’t using science, but, as Ichthyic says, bullshit metaphysics that are purely part of your own delusion.

  24. #24 Clastito
    November 3, 2006

    Guys, you need to be more comprehensive with Mr. Garrison. He fell madly in love with Dawkins too.

  25. #25 Clastito
    November 3, 2006

    I fail to see hy some of you guys are so angry… Dawkins was portrayed as a brave man who is not afraid of using a pump to enlarge his penis and satisfy his transgender girlfrined. If that is not progressive, I don’t know what is.

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