Hmmm … do you think that threats leveled against the creators of South Park for last week’s episode came from Tea Partiers? Buddhists enraged over the depiction of Buddha snorting cocaine? Redheads incensed over their depiction as terrorists? Comedy Central execs embarrassed over the slam they received for their pusillanimity in handling a previous episode dealing with censorship? Barbara Streisand? Not exactly. In fact, threats against Trey Parker and Matt Stone came from one group that they specifically didn’t mention in “200”:
The radical Islamic Web site Revolutionmuslim.com is going after the creators of the TV cartoon series “South Park” after an episode last week included an image of the Prophet Mohammed in disguise.
Revolutionmuslim.com, based in New York, was the subject of a CNN investigation last year for its radical rhetoric supporting “jihad” against the West and praising al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Its organizers insist they act within the law and seek to protect Islam.
On Sunday, Revolutionmuslim.com posted an entry that included a warning to South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone that they risk violent retribution – after the 200th episode last week included a satirical discussion about whether an image of the prophet could be shown. In the end, he is portrayed disguised in a bear suit.
The posting on Revolutionmuslim.com says: “We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show. This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them.”
Of course, this is exactly the point Parker and Stone intended to make — or rather, intended to provoke people into making for them. During the episode, Randy Marsh scolds Stan by saying, “Jesus doesn’t matter where Mohammed’s involved,” as a way of explaining why people feel perfectly safe in satirizing other religious figures but won’t treat Mohammed the same. It’s simple; Islamists threaten people with terror whenever they feel insulted, which is exactly what happened here.
Kudos to CNN for reporting on this, but don’t expect it to be a trend. We’ve watched as Tea Party speeches got dissected by cable-news network hosts for any sign of latent bigotry and violence in order to paint as terrorists and threats those Americans who peacefully assemble for political change. How much time will get spent by Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, and Ed Schultz on MS-NBC in parsing “will probably wind up like [assassinated filmmaker] Theo Van Gogh for airing this episode” and determining whether radical Islamists tend to be terrorists and threats? While these hosts hyperventilate over words like “regime,” “target,” and “crossfire,” they’ll avert their eyes to a real threat.
That will prove the other main point from Parker and Stone, which is that the media hasn’t exactly manned up in facing this threat.
Here’s a clip from the show, and watch the whole episode at South Park Studios. It’s not safe for work, but it’s one of their best episodes in the last couple of years.