JON STEWART satirizes own network's censorship of 'South Park' Muhammad episode
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|South Park Death Threats|
If you're a topical humorist for a living, and Comedy Central cuts your checks, AND your boss censors a colleague or two for topical humor, there's one clear path on which to proceed:
You fight censorship of satire with satire.
On Thursday night's episode of "The Daily Show," fake anchor/real social critic Jon Stewart aired a 10-minute takedown-of-sorts of Comedy Central's decision to censor his network brethren (and "good friends"), Matt Stone and Trey Parker, over a speech that was edited from Wednesday night's episode of their show "South Park."
If you're just catching up: The speech, according to producers/creators Parker and Stone, concerned fear and intimidation. Comedy Central chose to bleep the speech. ("Bigger and Longer," perhaps -- but definitely not "Uncut.") The bleeps came during about 35 seconds of dialogue among three cartoon characters: Kyle, Jesus Christ and Santa Claus.
Some watchers wondered whether the bleeped speech was part of the joke. No such twist. "It wasn't some meta-joke on our part," Parker and Stone said, according to the Associated Press. Beyond confirming the censorship, Comedy Central declined to comment.
According to The Post's Lisa de Moraes, Stone and Parker said: "Comedy Central added the bleeps. In fact, Kyle's customary final speech was about intimidation and fear. It didn't mention Muhammad at all but it got bleeped too."
During the "Daily Show's" bit, Stewart does say of his Comedy Central bosses' decision to censor: "It's their right. We all serve at their pleasure" and that they probably did so to protect their employees "from possible harmful repercussions." Then the segment proceeds to offer a montage of potentially offensive "Daily Show" religion-themed clips that satirize a whole flood of faiths -- right down to the Amish (who, Stewart jokes, write their letters of protest in calligraphy).
If you're really just catching up: Back on Tuesday (or about 23 news-cycles ago), Comic Riffs reported that the New York-based Islamic Web site RevolutionMuslim.com posted an image and video of the fatally stabbed filmmaker Theo Van Gogh and asked provocatively whether Parker and Stone -- in depicting the prophet Muhammad -- remembered what had happened to another artist who criticized Islam. (More than a week ago, for its 200th episode, "South Park" depicted Muhammad -- which it first did nearly a decade ago to almost zero controversy.) That Web site has since been cached.
So we all see the crystal-clear irony in this by now, right? A Web site characterized as "pro-jihad" preys on fear and intimidation in regards to "South Park." So when "South Park" attempts a speech about fear and intimidation, Comedy Central -- apparently chilled by the Web site (based in the same city as Stewart, btw) -- bleeps the speech. Voila -- the Web site's goal seems achieved: Parker and Stone have been at least partially "silenced."
In other words, to invoke the revivified phrase: The terrorists win.
The truest part of the "Daily Show" segment might just be toward the end, when "fake correspondent" Aasif Mandvi says that as a Muslim himself, a cartoon about Muhammad might trouble him. But more upsetting, he says, is "someone, in the name of a faith that I believe in, threatening another person for doing it."
"Someone, in the name of a faith that I believe in, threatening another person for doing it."
| April 23, 2010; 8:56 AM ET
Categories: The Animation | Tags: Censorship, Comedy Central, Daily Show, Jon Stewart, Matt Stone, Muhammad, Trey Parker
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