I’ve watched South Park for years, and have watched other Comedy Central programming more occasionally, believing until recently that it provided a cutting-edge environment for satire. Unfortunately, the network has now caved twice to radical Islamist terrorism, once in 2006 and again last month, in two episodes of South Park that skewered major religious figures while censoring the satire of Trey Parker and Matt Stone on Mohammed. Instead of staying out of religious satire altogether, the brave souls at Viacom have apparently green-lit a new series that will poke fun at Jesus … again:
Comedy Central might censor every image of the Prophet Muhammad on “South Park,” yet the network is developing a whole animated series around Jesus Christ.
As part of the network’s upfront presentation to advertisers (full slate here), the network is set to announce “JC,” a half-hour show about Christ wanting to escape the shadow of his “powerful but apathetic father” and live a regular life in New York City.
In the show, God is preoccupied with playing video games while Christ, “the ultimate fish out of water,” tries to adjust to life in the big city.
“In general, comedy in purist form always makes some people uncomfortable,” said Comedy Central’s head of original programming Kent Alterman.
Yes, Kent Alterman, you’re quite the brave individual for making “some” people uncomfortable. Those would be the “some” people who won’t issue threats of violence for your satires. Comedy Central and Viacom have no appetite for making some other people uncomfortable — the very people who would not waste a moment in shutting down Comedy Central if given the opportunity.
South Park takes an honest approach to satire by skewering everyone equally. They lost a major cast member when they satirized Scientology, and no doubt have had complaints from many groups about their portrayal of Jesus, Buddha, Joseph Smith, Lao Tze, and other religious figures. But one never got the sense that Parker and Stone had it out for any one group because their satires ran the entire gamut, at least until Comedy Central began censoring them.
And even that would have been understandable — had CC made the decision to avoid religious satire altogether. Instead, they’re launching a new effort to parody Christianity while imposing the rule of radical Islamists on satires of Islam. There’s a word for the kind of people who only pick fights with no risk whatsoever: pussies.
Update: I agree with The Anchoress on this one:
As a Christian, I am unoffended by this move. The Triune God has awfully big shoulders; he can take it.
It is Comedy Central that betrays the tiny fragility that lies behind its strut.
I am embarrassed for them.
Offended? Not really. It’s more like utter contempt for their blustery cowardice.
Update II: The Verum Serum headline sums it up: “Comedy Central: Unlike Mohammed, Jesus a Constant Source of Amusement.”