Talk:South Park Republicans

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Global Warming Denial?[edit]

"mainly on the shows consistent global warming denialism" (*show's) I would like to have this clarified. I haven't been watching South Park in over a year, but the only episode I can remember that could possibly be construed as global warming denialism is the one where Al Gore goes off on a hunt for ManBearPig (and then various running jokes with that on later episodes).

I would also argue that South Park sometimes exhibits messages direct enough (mostly brought forward by one of the boy's 'wise speeches' at the end of episodes) for them to be considered stances of the show itself, but in the case of that Al Gore episode this is not the case. It was rather just a parody of Al Gore's sincere efforts to promote the fight against global warming, which is rather in the tradition of South Park's long-standing stance of "nobody is immune to mocking". This does not in itself exhibit a stance on the actual issue of global warming (which would require rather direct messaging), so I would need much more than that one episode to be convinced that South Park has "consistent global warming denialism". I repeat, ridicule of the way in which a cause is promoted does not mean being against that cause. (Sorry about the wall of text.)

P.S.: I know jack-shit about US political groups, but are libertarians really global warming denialists? Just curious. Nullahnung (talk) 10:34, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

Yes, when a show (or website or whatever) is about humour, we really need to work if they made a joke to make a point, or if they made the joke because it was funny. SophieWilderModerator 11:11, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
Actually the main reason I thought they were deniers was because of the Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow episode which attacks global warming, not Al Gore, but who knows. ClothCoat (talk) 22:25, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
Also, there was the episode with the Prius where we found out that everyone who drives a Prius is incredibly smug, which creates a massive cloud of smug that threatened to destroy America. Also, they smell their own farts. --Token Conservative (talk) 14:37, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
Ah, I remember that episode. In fact, it was one of those episodes where they have one of the boys give one of those aforementioned 'wise speeches' at the end. The 'wise speech' went something like this: "Hybrid cars are cool and they may even save our planet one day. But we just aren't ready to use them yet without turning into smug douches." And as I have written above (well, not really, but this is what I meant), those speeches happen to be the closest thing on the show to an actual stance.
So that's more of an example arguing that the show exhibits global warming affirmatism (or whatever the opposite of denialism is). (although personally I would argue that the show doesn't exhibit any stance at all on these matters, it just wants to have fun mocking people) Nullahnung (talk) 14:49, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
I think it's hard to agree with global warming while thinking that everyone trying to do something about it is being a smug douche.--Token Conservative (talk) 14:53, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
Comedians live for exaggeration, man. Obviously they don't think everybody driving a Prius is a smug douche, but they like to mock the stereotype nonetheless. It's just a bit of fun. Even if all the experience they've ever had with hybrid car drivers was smug douches and they really do think there are no exceptions to that, even then it doesn't necessarily mean that they disagree with global warming, they just disagree with the jerks driving the hybrids.
So you see, I don't think it is hard at all to agree with global warming while thinking that hybrid car drivers are smug douches. All that would be required for that is an attitude along the lines of "if they weren't so damn smug, I'd pat them on the back for being conscious about their carbon footprint". Nullahnung (talk) 15:03, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
(EC2) Perhaps this is just me, but from the tone the show typically takes, I would wager that the "smug douche" speech (and the entire concept itself) is not so much about targeting everyone who tries to do something about global warming. Rather, it seems more likely that it's mocking the class of "elitists", so to speak, who buy a hybrid car, think they're the saviours of the environment, and brag about it left and right (while still doing other things that don't necessarily meaningfully diminish their carbon footprint, of course). - GrantC (talk) 15:06, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
There's a difference between mocking a trope, and repeating it. They weren't mocking global warming denialism with Manbear-Pig, they were just coming up with new ways to repeat the old joke, and they weren't mocking the "Prius drivers are smug douches" trope either. They also didn't give any reason to think that they were commenting on anything other than "Prius drivers are douches"--Token Conservative (talk) 15:08, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
I agree with you that they were advancing the trope as opposed to mocking it. With that said, I don't think that advancing this particular trope is so easily equated to denying global warming. - GrantC (talk) 15:11, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
(EC)@GrantC: Hmm, you have a point. I hadn't thought of that, though it is a somewhat long-running trope that people will feel really good about themselves when they do a little good stuff, and then pat themselves on the back instead of doing more good stuff.
@Hamilton: They weren't mocking those tropes, they were mocking the people targetted by the tropes, which, yes, is just repeating the trope (I'm agreeing with you there, though I don't think it is necessarily bad to repeat those tropes when you can mock some people with it. It was pretty funny the way they did that, which being funny like that is the whole point of the show.). It's not THAT old of a joke, anyways. I thought it was a pretty original implementation, but I may not have the comedic experience that you do.
And you're also right that they weren't mocking global warming denialism in ManBearPig, although I have never claimed that they did. You may want to re-read my opening post if you thought that I claimed that. What I actually wrote was this: "It was rather just a parody of Al Gore's sincere efforts" meaning that they mocked Al Gore. Then I went on to write: "I repeat, ridicule of the way in which a cause is promoted does not mean being against that cause." and this still applies. Nullahnung (talk) 15:27, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
I think you put what I was getting at in pretty good words there. I think the trope being advanced here is the "do something small that's also good and then preen about it while continuing to to bad" concept, and as you say, the mockery is directed towards the people who do that kind of thing. I would wager that the Prius issue is just one of the more common or pertinent situations in which that trope applies. My thinking is that Hanlon's razor applies here, and the show's writers just didn't think about the connotations of the context they used. - GrantC (talk) 15:36, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
My opinion on whether or not its cool to repeat an offensive trope can be summed up by telling you to watching Tropes vs Women in Video Games by Anita Sarkeesian.--Token Conservative (talk) 15:38, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
Sorry if I was unclear, but I don't think it's cool to repeat an offensive trope (and I have watched that video and agree with her). However, "it's wrong" and "it's global warming denialism" are two very different statements. I believe the latter statement isn't justified, even though the former is. - GrantC (talk) 15:41, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────In any case, I don't think that the ManBearPig episode can be considered global warming denialism so I removed that parenthetical statement. Unless there is another episode on the subject, but I've watched a lot of South Park in my time and I can't recall any off the top of my head. @Nullahnung: Yes, there is a strong affinity in the US between libertarianism and climate denialism. Because one of them is a member of the LP, and because Gore is a frequent target of deniers, I wouldn't be surprised if they were deniers. But going by the show alone, I don't think there's a case for that. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 15:46, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

(EC)I HAVE watched said videos by Anita Sarkeesian and you may read my opinion on it here: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Talk:Anita_Sarkeesian#Tropes_vs._Women_in_Video_Games (In fact, I would welcome more discussion on those videos as well, since it is quite a hot topic, what with Dragon's Crown coming out and all, I would have started a discussion on Dragon's Crown too, but I suspect there aren't a whole lot of gamers on this site.
Anyways, I don't think 'Damsel in Distress' is a mocking trope and I think it objectifies women, which is a much more offensive thing to do than mocking hybrid drivers for sometimes being insufferably smug. By the way, I'm planning to complete an environmental engineering masters thesis and work on hybrid cars myself and even I think that poking fun at elitism is good in the name of comedy. I plan to be one of those people, but do more for the environment than just drive a Prius. Besides, it's good to be able to laugh at yourself and South Park will help me do that. Nullahnung (talk) 15:53, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────@Nebuchadnezzar: Ah, I see. So one of them could feasibly be a global warming denialist, if he adheres to his party's opinion (though I have a feeling that if you push him enough he will sever his political connections just to keep his work pure from agenda taint). Nullahnung (talk) 16:02, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

I'll get around to your commentary on Sarkeesian sooner or later. My point is that she talks about the difference between repeating a trope (which they did) and mocking it. They may not be denying global warming, but they seem quite happy to repeat the tropes directed at global warming believers.--Token Conservative (talk) 16:05, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
You're quite right, they are repeating the trope, not mocking it. But it's in the name of comedy, and it's not particularly offensive (I plan to be one of those people and I don't feel offended). Let me explain to you their approach to satire. Their approach, as far as I can see, is that they are allowed to mock anyone and everyone and they will go after targets that aren't adequately covered by their colleagues. (If you read one of the articles linked to on this article's page, they say that people like Jon Stewart are super awesome and they are doing a great job mocking the conservatives, thus they are trying to fill out the gaps, which is the liberals.)
Now you may be crying "balance fallacy!", but the difference here is that it's not serious discussion on points of both sides, which would be the balance fallacy, but it's comedic lambasting of both sides, which is just having fun.
If I was easily offended, I would have stopped watching South Park a long time ago. Sometimes they mock views that I hold, but I'm able to laugh at myself, so it's really not so bad, now is it? Nullahnung (talk) 16:17, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
I suggest you watch Sarkeesian's latest video.--Token Conservative (talk) 16:22, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
I still do agree that repeating offensive tropes is not good, but South Park has been known to repeat offensive tropes regarding many different situations. That's why I suggested that the link between that and global warming denialism seems a bit weak. They're still wrong, but not for that specific reason, I would say. - GrantC (talk) 16:24, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
I did watch the third part of her series, if that's what you mean, but I haven't commented on it yet in Sarkeesian's RW article's talk page (her actual latest video is 1 minute long, so I don't think that's what you meant. Still, it shows in the credits that Jennifer Hale collaborated with her, which is really awesome because Jennifer Hale is an awesome voice actor and it's cool that she would collaborate with such a project). I'm going to rewatch the video now.
(20 mins later:)Ok, so I get where you're coming from.
Let me sum up Sarkeesian's important point that you were referring to earlier: In a lot of video games it is attempted to do a witty take on the damsel trope. You would think that that would often entail mocking the trope to help gaming move on from the trope and evolve as a medium. But that is not the case. A lot of the time all the witty take is doing is reinforce a version of the trope like having the man be damselled and the woman be strong (repeating the trope, except with a different target, but still bad for repeating the trope) or having an ironic take on the trope, which is still re-stating the trope. Sarkeesian also shows examples of how even in comedy, where the damselling is the punchline/joke, that is still ultimately re-stating the offensive trope of objectifying women and thus preventing us from moving forward from the trope. Only some games like Braid actually challenge the damsel trope without reinforcing a different version of the trope, which is good. The real way forward would actually be to do away with the damsel trope altogether and have more strong women, especially as protagonists.
Now, what does that say? Repeating an offensive trope is bad, no matter what way you do it, even in comedy like South Park. This SHOULD mean Hamilton is right and I am wrong.
HOWEVER, I still hold that the smug hybrid driver trope is not very offensive unlike the damsel trope that has been objectifying women since who knows how long. And remember that being an offensive trope is a requirement for the criteria I outlined above. Nullahnung (talk) 16:52, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
I meant to use her video as an example about tropes generally, rather than specifically offensive ones. The "smug hybrid drivers" isn't offensive, it's just not a productive part in the discussion about (in this case) environmental issues. Same with Manbear-Pig. And if you're curious, talking about global warming in a general political forum will very quickly get a comparison to Manbear-Pig. --Token Conservative (talk) 16:56, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
Point taken. I haven't been on any such forums, but I imagine you're right. I doubt Parker and Stone will ever come to the conclusion that their brand of comedy helps perpetuate bullshit regardless of how they actually feel about the bullshit. They often argue that "if I'm not allowed to make fun of everyhing, I shouldn't be allowed to make fun of anything", but actually I think there are some things that you shouldn't really be doing in comedy if you want to be a responsible citizen. Nullahnung (talk) 17:03, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
I'd advise you not to join general forums. Especially ones that have a large number of self described communists and fascists.--Token Conservative (talk) 17:34, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
There's nothing like forums full of people who self-describe as sitting on the political and social extremes to run your day. - GrantC (talk) 17:39, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
It actually wasn't bad when it was just heavily self-described communists. They mostly stuck to themselves and only talked with others when they had something interesting to say. But when there started to be a lot of fascists cropping up, the two of them drew battle lines, it quickly became that you only went to like a quarter of the site because the rest of was dominated by one group of morons or another.--Token Conservative (talk) 17:59, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Very true. Sometimes it's mildly entertaining to observe how far some of them are from what their labels actually espouse, but I would not want to stay on one of these forums for any length of time, especially when, as you say, the (admittedly sometimes humourously arbitrary) battle lines are drawn. - GrantC (talk) 18:18, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

Actually, some of them provided some pretty interesting and even damning criticism of political, social and economic systems. They just always proposed incredibly naive or stupid solutions.--Token Conservative (talk) 18:24, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
I suppose I'm a bit more used to the garden valley "communists" and "fascists" that read a couple articles on Che Guevara or Mussolini in high school or university and decided that's what they wanted to be. Unfortunately, I haven't really had productive discourse with any of these self-identified ideologues. It seems I found the wrong forums. - GrantC (talk) 15:40, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
The majority were idiots, but there were some who had actually read enough that they were able to come up with some interesting arguments.--Token Conservative (talk) 16:22, 20 August 2013 (UTC)