I absolutely love this episode. At first, I wasn’t entirely keen on it, but after realizing the extent to which it was illuminating western misconceptions about eastern culture and religion, I couldn’t help but love it.
Note that the stupid, hippie, holistic moron named Miss Information is actually “misinformation.” It seems obvious but it’s amazing how many times you can watch the episode before getting that….
Is this whole episode to say that there is no value in holistic medicine? No, but it is to say that many westerners don’t really get what they’re talking about when they refer to it and they conflate ideas like “spiritual” and “natural” with “eastern” and in this case, Native Americans!
We greatly oversimplify these traditions and assume that Indians (corn Indians, not rice Indians) have some magical powers that the rest of us don’t and that they’re in touch with things spiritual and natural and the earth and blah blah blah. We assume that their religions are all nature and so simplistic, but they are, like other religions with which we are familiar, quite complex. They include rituals, beliefs and traditions far more complicated than we give them credit for because we like to fetishize them and make them into something that we can idolize for what we consider ourselves and our religions not to be.
This misguided and unhealthy approach leads to misconceptions about Native American and eastern religions and slights them rather than honoring them, as we assume. Miss Information encapsulates that element of American society and reminds us that we shouldn’t be self-righteous hippie douches when it comes to other cultures that we just don’t understand. There are many ways to learn more, but hers is not one of them.
What did you think of this episode? What do you think of holistic medicine? What do you think of eastern religions and western fetishization of them?
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Filed under: Religion, South Park | Tagged: belief, corn, eastern, holistic, Indians, medicine, misinformation, Miss Information, Native Americans, Religion, rice, ritual, South Park, western | 1 Comment »