South Park Episode 704, “Canceled,” Tackles Great Jewish Stereotypes

Though it seems as though episode 101 is repeating itself, we learn that this deja vu is nothing more than a rerun – and when reruns start coming on we know it’s time for a show to be canceled. Which show? Earth! That’s right, the Earth is actually a reality television show – one of the most popular in the universe – but since it’s becoming stale, it’s time for it to go.

This episode, excellent as it is, has two things worth focusing on for The Zen of South Park. The first is it’s self-reflective jabs regarding the length of a show’s run and that it should be canceled. Yes, South Park is talking about itself…jokingly. South Park has numerous self-reflective jabs (think of the Cartoon Wars episodes, in particular). Can you think of any others?

The second thing that’s great to focus on is the Jewish stereotypes. “What!?” you cry. “There are stereotypes involving people of Jewish descent?” Yes, I know it’s shocking, but also shockingly true, and a number of them are explored in this episode, particularly the notion that Jews control the media. Yep, they’re everywhere, especially when it comes to the media. Hitler knew it (see his Table Talks for evidence) and Trey and Matt know it. Considering the fact that Matt is Jewish, evidence of this stereotype is already emerging.

Joosians live on the planet Fognl, and are big green aliens that look suspiciously Jewish, have Brooklyn accents, control all the media in the universe and seem to be blood relatives of Kyle (discovered when they eat some gross food). If you don’t understand any of the references I’m making or if any of the jokes from the actual episode seem unclear (and are related to Jewish stereotypes), don’t hesitate to ask.

Did you like this episode? What was your favorite joke? What stereotypes did you notice that I didn’t mention here?

In The Zen of South Park I’ll explore the effects of revealing so many Jewish stereotypes as well as Cartman’s anti-Semitism, and discuss why South Park has provided us with an excellent medium of leaning about these things.

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Read about other South Park episodes.

The South Park Video Game

I know nothing about it other than the statement that Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of South Park, are very involved in the game’s development. Also, I think it’s for Xbox Live Arcade.

A South Park video game, hmm…

Does anybody have any idea what the premise will be or how it will work? Have you heard anything else? Would you get this game (pending you have the platform for it and know more about it)?

What would you like to see in a South Park Video Game?

One of My Favorite South Park Episodes: Chef Goes Nanners (408)

Tonight on Comedy Central you can watch one of my absolute favorite South Park episodes (season 4 really has a lot of winners).

When Uncle Jimbo and Chef get into a heated argument about the South Park flag and whether or not it’s racist (4 white men are depicted hanging a black man), the mayor decides to base her decision on the outcome of the children’s school debate on the issue. Though the whole episode is funny and poignantly dramatic – Chef’s wrestling with the fact that no one he knows supports his fight to have this flag changed – it is the conversation between Chef and Kyle at the actual debate that’s so moving.

Spoiler Alert

It is absolutely one of my favorite moments in South Park history when Chef realizes that the children are so not-racist, despite his previous assumptions, that they never even saw the issue surrounding the flag as one of race because they never saw the color of the people on the flag. They just saw people killing people and thought that the whole issue was about murder. Chef is amazed at this wonderful turn of events and it brings him back down to earth, exercising reason and resolving to handle the problem more thoughtfully.

In typical South Park fashion, the happy conclusion of the entire episode is derived by creating a compromise and finding the Middle Ground, a message much emphasized in The Zen of South Park.

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Read about other South Park episodes.

Topical Tuesdays: Volume and Pitch – The Noise a Writer Needs to Do the Deed

And just to clarify for those of you with less than savory minds (or particularly savory minds, as the case may be), that deed is writing.

Yes, this Topical Tuesday is all about the volume: TURN IT UP! Or maybe for me, turn it down. We’re all a little different with our noise preferences when we sit down at the computer to write (or just work), but in order to do what needs doing, we all need it to be the pitch and volume we like it.

Noise In Israel

When I was getting my Masters in Jerusalem, I happened to live on the corner of a particularly busy street (Hapalmach and Koveshei Katamon, for those of you who may be familiar), and it was a noisy street. The #13 bus ran down Hapalmach and began very early in the morning and ended very late. Cars honked incessantly (everywhere in Israel) and motorbikes roared. It was also heavily trafficked by pedestrians and people had no consideration for the volume of their voices as they reprimanded their children, called out to a friend or simply discussed the days events. Honestly, all that noise never made it too hard for me to work. I wrote and I read and I did just fine.

But then the Sabbath would come. Though Israel itself stays relatively lively on Saturday (that’s the Jewish Shabbat), Jerusalem truly becomes very quiet and Sabbath-like. All the buses stop, very few people continue driving, and though the foot-traffic increases so more people are talking on the streets, there really is something less noisy about it all. Shabbat was quiet and on Shabbat you better believe I could concentrate and got some work done (though you’re not supposed to work or use computers and electricity or write, but if that’s the only time Israelis shut-up what can God expect).

Quiet in the U.S.

Upon returning to America I lived in the suburbs in a quiet neighborhood where the only noise was the kids across the street playing for an hour outside as they got home from school. It was blissfully quiet. This is where I wrote most of my book, but this level of silence actually has its ups and downs.

It was so quiet that I’d get sleepy around 1 p.m. (after 5-6 hours of writing) and want to take a nap. With no noise or external distractions, I would succumb to this unnecessary sleeping sensation and waste the rest of my day napping, then being groggy, then saying it was too late to keep writing. So in this way, noise can be good for me and my work.

Volume Up

Now I live on a busy street in downtown San Francisco. Buses go by. People are loud checking into the hotel across the street and walking around, and the noises of the city (and my loud cat) keep me up. Though I haven’t begun writing again I think that this environment, similar to my life in Jerusalem, will keep me alert and active and able to write – and if I need to turn down the volume there are always earplugs, my recommendation to everyone who needs that whether awake or trying to sleep.

Oh, and as for music: only when I do mindless work. I can’t write to music at all because the rhythm doesn’t allow my brain to think entirely in its own way. Do you listen to music when you work?

Do you like noise or quiet when you work? Is your situation conducive to those needs? What tricks do you use to keep things at the proper volume for you?

For more on this Topical Tuesday discussion check out Chandler’s blog.