March 02, 2013

Stereotyping explained to South Park apologists

My 2010 "Tardicaca Indians" in South Park posting received a slew of comments from South Park devotees. Read the original posting to see what the fuss was about.

I guess these fans expected me to respond right away, because they became increasingly whiny. Too bad, crybabies...I'm approaching 12,000 blog postings and I don't have time to respond to everything.

But I finally felt like addressing these comments, so here they are with my responses:

Two minutes = one line?!

Let's start with a commenter who thought it was silly to criticize "one line" in the episode. By that he presumably meant the juvenile "Tardicaca Indians" name:Even if you ... stick to your view and insist that they are simply plain old, mean spirited racists/sexists/bigots, then how is that ONE LINE the only offensive thing worthy of comment?One line?! Did you witless apologists even watch the clip? It was 1:51 long and all about the Tardicaca Indians and reservation. The scene showed a fake reservation with tipis and "burial grounds" and labeled it dangerous. Half-naked "braves" skewered the "boss" with arrows.

Most important, there was nothing whatsoever telling the viewer that this was a false or "satirical" view of Indians. The satire is entirely in your imagination, because it isn't in the clip. If you disagree, quote me the line that demonstrates to the viewers that this is a put-on.

Most of you anonymous cowards didn't even address the clip's content. Those who did suggested it indeed may have been stereotypical, but for a "good" reason. Namely, that South Park insults and offends everyone, so it's okay to do it to Indians too.

So let's start with the basic question you were too afraid to answer. Did the clip stereotype Indians? Answer yes or no and then we'll discuss whether the "reasons" justify the stereotyping.

South Park didn't mean it?South Park, at its very best, is supposed to make you squirm and it is intended to be facetious, in-your-face, and to contain massive stereotyping.And I noted its massive stereotyping of Indians. So what's the problem?

I'm glad you wrote "intended to be facetious." If Parker and Stone intended the Native stereotypes to be facetious, they didn't put that on the screen. Trying to read their minds is ridiculous compared to the fact of what's on display.South Park is being "racist" towards Native American Indians in order to make people think that they don't like them. It's to highlight racism and equality issues that exist within our society.This episode highlighted the racism against Indians? How did it do that, exactly? Explain how a typical viewer goes from seeing the stereotypes he's seen a million times before to realizing these stereotypes are false.

Apparently you all haven't watched a thousand stereotypical movies, TV shows, and cartoons like I have. Apparently you're clueless about the difference between presenting stereotypes and challenging them. South Park hasn't challenged the stereotypes it presented about Indians. Its "satirical" presentation is indistinguishable from straightforward stereotyping.

Commenters prove their ignorance

Two of you geniuses helped prove my point when you wrote:People like me living in Australia don't know much about native Americans, and i assumed they would attack you if you trespassed, guess i was wrong.And:Many South American Indian tribes are rather savage so it is still fine to portray Injuns in that light. It's all in good humor.Wow. South American Indians are savage, so that justifies portraying Indians 10,000 miles away as savage also. Because all Indians are the same, I guess, in your little pea-brains.

And Indians would attack you if you trespassed? What, while you were driving on one of the many roads through their reservations? Perhaps to visit their casinos, resorts, or cultural centers? Do you really think reservations are tiny patches of land and Indians stand guard at their borders? With bows and arrows?

Alas, you're apparently unaware that "Injun" is considered an insult too. Thanks for demonstrating that you're ignorant if not racist, bright boy.

To everyone else, explain to your fellow morons that Indians aren't savage and violent as portrayed in South Park. Because they haven't gotten the message yet. Somehow they failed to understand that the Tardicaca bit was a "satire."

Why doesn't Rob criticize everyoneWhat about when they poke fun at Catholics, Muslims, Jews, the handicapped, redheads, Scientology, Mexicans, Canadians, etc etc etc.???What about it? You're an idiot if you think I have time to criticize all the stereotyping of all these groups. I barely have time to criticize most of the stereotyping of Native Americans. This blog has a narrow focus and there's nothing wrong with that.

When a posting touches upon other groups--e.g., women, blacks, Latinos, Muslims, or gays--I'll often support those groups and attack their critics. If you haven't seen these postings, you haven't been reading long. Since I believe most of you came from a South Park forum, spare me your ignorance of my long history of criticism."Guesses don't interest me; facts do."

Bullshit. Hardly a post goes by without guesses and assumptions on your part about the people you criticize. Now, I don't expect you to do a thorough content analysis of 201 episodes of South Park, but most of the time about 30 seconds of googling would make your articles more factual and thus, more impactful.
When I wrote, "Guesses don't interest me; facts do," that was a reference to your guesses about South Park. Specifically about whether you can prove it's a genuine equal-opportunity offender or you just "believe" it is. Guesses in general often interest me; I encourage people to speculate if they're not trying to prove a case.

"Offending everyone" still a guess

A few of you repeated the "equal-opportunity offender" defense without any attempt to justify it. So I'll simply repeat what I said before:

Don't bother telling me South Park is an equal-opportunity offender who insults every political, racial, and religious group equally. Unless you've done a study in which you tallied all the insults and compared them to US and world demographics, you're just guessing that South Park is evenhanded. Guesses [on this subject] don't interest me; facts do.

As for making my postings more factual, go ahead and give one example of an obvious and important fact I missed in any posting. I'm betting you can't, and this "criticism" of yours is nothing but childish chest-beating.If this show offends you that much don't watch it. No one is holding you down forcing you watch the hilarity of South Park.If my criticism bothers you, don't read it. Apply your own dumbass "thinking" to yourself, hypocrite.

Clueless about video-sharingOh, and if you don't support them, then why are you linking their videos off their site... You complain about it, but use their servers to stream your crap... Real nice...Like every other video-sharing site on the Web, the South Park site includes an "embed" option so you can post their videos. If they didn't want us to share it, they wouldn't let us share it. Duhhh.

In short, better luck next time, losers. When you have a question I can't answer, it'll be a red-letter day. Unfortunately for you, that hasn't happened yet.

For more on South Park, see Native Canadians in South Park and "Tardicaca Indians" in South Park

Below:  An image from South Park's previous racist "satire" about Indians.


Anonymous said...

Ugh, that show sucks so bad. I've always been in the minority when it comes to South Park -- I always thought it unfunny in its blatant attempts to stir controversy. It's not clever satire, anymore than a 13-year-old writing the word "ass" on a bathroom stall is clever satire.

Anonymous said...

After a while, South Park became "Stupid Jew! I'm so edgy that I've said this 65536 times already!"

"Cherokee Hair Tampons" was funny because of the twist ending where they weren't Indians at all. "Cartman's Mom is a Dirty Slut" was also funny because it's just Cartman getting in touch with his roots in his inimitable way...and it just happens every man in South Park's slept with Cartman's mom.

But after that, it becomes, um. wat? I mean, "Red Man's Greed" would've been funnier if they actually knew a thing about Indian law.

By the way, I consider Cannibal!: The Musical to be "They're otaku. Of course they're going to insert Japanese in everything."

dmarks said...

I've probably watched a dozen of them. The only one I thought was any good was the one that skewered George Lucas over his CGI remakes.