Tonight’s South Park Episode: Timmy 2000 (404)

A hilarious episode about ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder, is tonight’s show. I seriously agree with what South Park is saying about the damaging effects of Ritalin. Sure, some kids may need it, but probably a fraction of a percent of those to whom doctors were prescribing it between 1995 and 2005. Most of these kids just needed more love and attention from their parents. They had PADD, Parental Attention Deficit Disorder. Love your children, people, don’t medicate them.

And related to religion….at the beginning of the episode, Mr. Garrison has assigned a lot of homework to the class and is looking for someone to start answering the questions. Cartman begs Jesus to prevent Mr. Garrison from calling on him and then when Mr. Garrison calls on someone else Cartman says, “Oh thank you, Lord. Praise Jesus!” Do we really believe that Jesus cares about such things? Do we think that Cartman believes that Jesus was really listening and acting on his behalf. Like with the word God, South Park is calling our attention (since clearly we have some related disorders) to the overuse of the term, and moreso, to the absurdity that Jesus is listening to nonsense like this.

This is not to deny Jesus. If you want to believe that he is there answering your prayers, that’s totally your prerogative and who would I be to deny it. However, if you’re a giant piece of shit like Cartman and your prayers are about getting you out of trouble for doing the wrong things, are we really supposed to believe that Jesus is listening to you or wants to help you with those bad things. Even if we believe in Jesus but not that he is listening to such things, the show draws our attention to people like Cartman who, when their prayers are answered, think that Jesus is really up there helping them and on their sides. That is ridiculous and all comes back to this issue of us abusing our imagined deities and our assumptions about the ways they interact with us and the world.

Jesus, if I have offended you, then strike me down – or better yet, I’m going to a water park today, so Jesus, I think if I’ve offended you you’ll see your opportunity to rectify the situation. Good luck to us both!

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One Response

  1. I think your post already implicitly recognizes this, but I think people invoke Jesus less out of hopeless faith and more out of banal repetition of cultural idiom. Blasphemy is just as important a part of our linguistic culture as four-letter words: people say “God” or “Jesus” to express disapproval (a) to be ironic or (b) to be rebellious. Once people start using the terms in this way, it becomes infections–part of a linguistic heritage.

    Though I’ve never seen the show, so maybe I’m taking everything completely out of context.

    I agree that the American compulsion with medicating everything is disturbing. I’ll be sure to discuss the matter over a couple rounds of drinks with my friends tonight.

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