Stan Takes over “Whale Wars” and Battles the Japanese in South Park Episode 1311

The Japanese Are Killing Whales!

Where the idea to deal with the issue of whaling came from I’m not sure at all. But hey, it’s South Park. I guess it was the opportunity to paint Captain Paul Watson as a total worthless piece of shit. By the looks of things, he is, but hey, 19 times out of 20 I believe South Park so maybe I’m not the best judge (though I’ve got a feeling…).

So the episode begins with the Japanese massacring whales and dolphins at aquariums all over America, including, I have to mention, the incredible aquarium in my home town, the Georgia Aquarium. And the Japanese killed the Baluga Whales. NOOO! The Japanese hate dolphins so much that they even kill the Miami Dolphins!

Somebody tweeted, “no wildcat offense – damn you Japanese!” That was pretty funny.

What Stan Wants to Do About It

Incensed at the violence against whales, Stan tries to encourage his friends to do something. They’re all playing Rock Band (or Guitar Hero – I can’t tell the difference), and Cartman is singing Poker Face by Lady Gaga. Cartman’s response to Stan’s request is, “I’m not too busy. I just don’t give a shit – AT ALL.”

In order to save the whales from the Japanese, Stan joins the show Whale Wars, a show led by Captain Paul Watson, who South Park makes clear is an enormous and worthless, lying piece of shit. I love it when Matt and Trey go off on somebody through the show and just rip them a new asshole. This episode did an amazing job of that, even showing a real picture of Captain Paul Watson in the process (and a second one with “turd” spraypainted across his face).

Totally annoyed that Paul Watson is a liar with horrible ideas about how to prevent whaling, Stan takes matters into his own hands and blows up the Japanese whaling ship. After the very bloody death of Paul Watson (this episode has an unusually high amount of gratuitous violence, even for South Park), Stan takes over as Captain of Whale Wars, and as his efforts prove increasingly successful and his fame grows, magazines announce many hilarious things, including telling us that Stan “turns vegan pussies into actual pirates.”

On Larry King, Stan realizes that everybody is conflating his success with Whale Wars as being about the show’s rating and not saving the whales. As people say that it’s wrong to skirt the usual process of making a show (i.e. you can’t be a renegade and do things your own way but have to go through producers and scripting and directing, etc.), Stan just goes away to save the whales. I think that was South Park‘s dig at the protective nature of the television industry.

What the Whaling is Really About

After Cartman and Kenny join Stan’s Whale Wars in order to be on his now successful television show, the Japanese start Kamikaze bombing the whales and Stan’s boat. With the Japanese victorious, the boys end up in Japanese prison. Cartman starts playing a harmonica in the fashion of black slave songs and singing about his Japanese-imprisoned balls.

The Japanese president visits the three boys and takes them to Hiroshima and to the museum there. He explains that the Japanese have never recovered from the bombing of Hiroshima. The president then goes on to explain that it was a dolphin and a whale who bombed the Japanese in World War II, something they know because the Americans graciously gave them a picture of the plane that dropped the bomb – it was flown by a whale and a dolphin.

In order to deflect responsibility from the whale and dolphin, Stan provides the Japanese with a new picture that shows a cow and a chicken bombing Japan. As a result, the Japanese then begin viciously murdering cows and chickens.
Stan’s dad says, Good. Now they’re just like us.

Awesome.

Why This is Awesome

The Japanese don’t go whaling to be evil and murder dolphins and whales. They do it because they like to eat them – and they always have. We prefer cows and chickens and treat these animals horribly in order to eat what we like to eat. Though we’re not murdering them in the wild, we’re providing them with excruciating living conditions and a miserable existence.

Why? Because we like to eat them.

The Japanese kills whales in order to eat them, yet we consider whales a special and more sentient creature and get offended at the very idea. It’s our misplaced sense of cultural superiority that tells us that killing the animals we’ve decided to kill and eat is more acceptable than those that another culture prefers.

Some people are so caught up with the idea that we should “save the whales” and that whaling is evil (encapsulated by the show Whale Wars and its captain, Paul Watson), that we rarely stop to be introspective about our own animal-related decisions (and for the record I’m not a vegetarian nor a member of PETA or some other related fanatic). I just think that our sense of priorities can be misplaced. This doesn’t mean I think we should go whaling. I think that we should seek to treat all animals that we choose to eat in an ethical way and make sure that whatever we do to them is sustainable.

Best Episode of the Season

So far, I think this was the best episode of the season (by that I mean this half of the 13th season). It was outrageous, nailed a number of issues, some of which I’d never thoroughly considered (i.e. it made me think), and it brought things to my attention (like Whale Wars) that are totally stupid. At that, it was really funny and quite consistently so, unlike some other episodes whose jokes are farther between due to the need to move the plot and deal with a serious issue.

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Barack Obama Motivational Poster about his Nobel Peace Prize

All politics aside, I thought this was a pretty well done motivational poster.

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The Boys Get Their Wrestling Shot at the WWE on South Park Episode 1310, “WTF”

After an amazing evening watching live WWE “wrestling” the boys decide that they want to take up wrestling themselves. Upon joining the wrestling team at school and deciding that the “wrastling” teacher just wants them to be gay together (not that there’s anything wrong with that), they form the WTF, their own wrestling organization.

It’s just for fun, and they have a great time staging their ridiculous wrestling plots, including sleeping with each others’ girlfriends and being half-siblings with one another, but then people start watching, and the WTF grows and grows. Every redneck in town thinks that the plots are real – that Cartman dressed up as Stan’s girlfriend really did have 7 abortions as a 9 year old.

The “wrastling” teacher grows increasingly frustrated at the misconceptions about what wrestling really is, especially after being fired for not being useful to the school anymore and having gay porn (wrestling videos) on his phone.

As the WTF grows in acclaim, it comes to the attention of WWE and Vince McMahon, who comes to South Park to watch a match and potentially recruit someone into the WWE. Striving for their best and most dramatic performance to date – since they’ve realized that wrestling is just acting – the boys put on a killer show in which Cartman, addicted to abortions, has one right their on stage. Moreover, one of his aborted babies survived and comes back to confront him.

“Get back to the dumpster where you belong!”

And the people all believe it! Incredulity was not the name of the game.

3 Things I Loved About This Episode

1. They killed Kenny for the first time in a while – in Spanish! Like most, I got tired of Kenny’s perpetual deaths (though I have a theory about his resurrection…), but once in a while it’s amusing to kill him. Why this time? Because his wrestling character was El Pollo Loco (The Crazy Chicken), and it was all the Mexicans who loved him.

The episode ends with the “wrastling” teacher attempting to kill Vince McMahon with a rocket launcher. However, when the rocket sputters out on the stage where the kids are wrestling, Kenny grabs the rocket and is shot into the sky and explodes.

Will he return in the next episode!?

2. The reference to the episode, “Goodbacks,” in which the entire town hates the people from the future because they “Took our jobs!” which degrades into “Dey duk er jers!” and worse.

In this episode this only got more ridiculous as the “wrastling” teacher told his tale of woe, and everybody echoed the sentiments he was expressing:

“They took his job!”

“De duk ur doob!”

“They broke his jaw!”

“They took his dog!”

3. The fact that all of the rednecks were drinking wine while watching wrestling. Why? I think because they were trying to be sophisticated along the lines of wrestling being good acting and the wrestling experience being akin to a theater experience (like when Vince McMahon has a Playbill).

Did you like this episode? What was your favorite part?

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Butters is the Greatest Pimp in the Game on South Park Episode 1309, “Butters’ Bottom Bitch”

When the boys harass Butters for not ever having kissed a girl, Butters ponies up the $5 to kiss Sally, a girl who kisses boys behind the trailers. This rise to manhood makes Butters realize that he needs to start making a living. Upon bringing boys to Sally for $5 kisses and getting a cut, Butters’ enterprise only snowballs from there.

Butters becomes South Park’s newest pimp – and he’s damn good at it. He gets more girls to make more money and eventually he’s rakin’ it in. After attending a pimp convention, Butters learns the lingo, getting straight who his hos and bitches are, and always saying, “Do you know what I am saying?”

“Yes, I know what you are saying. You don’t have to keep asking me.”

As his kissing company grows, Butters starts to get adult prostitutes who want a pimp that respects them and doesn’t beat them – and that’s Butters. With so much money coming in he goes to ACORN and even gets low income housing and medicare for his bitches.

At the end of the episode, Butters is inspired by the true love of a pimp and an undercover cop dressed as a prostitute, which makes him get out of the pimpin’ game, realizing that the money women make – whether for kissing or listening to a man’s mother fu#@in problems – is their money.

This episode was hysterical. The plot was hilarious and ridiculous and there were tons of good ol’ South Park lines that just made you laugh. It was great when Stan threatened Butters for harassing Wendy and when Butters offered Clyde $100 to protect him if Stan came over.

Just a great frickin’ episode. What’d you think? What was your favorite line?

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Quran Read-A-Long: Al’-Imran 149-155 Criticizes the Archers at the Battle of Uhud

149-150 These verses continue the notion that I began with last week and that Kay reinforced: that these supreme themes run through the Quran and add strength and consistency to each of the  particular topics at hand.

No God But God – Seriously, People

Equating anything with God or claiming that anything, whether object, person, or whatever else is comparable to God is an enormous no-no. As we’ve discussed, this was both an internal Arab problem partially resulting in Mohammed’s flight to Mecca and a problem Islam took up with religions.

Internally speaking, the Arab tribes, particularly the Quryash, worshipped in a few other locations outside of Mecca and considered those places the locations of other divinities. Externally speaking, Christianity was a huge problem for the Muslims because of the divine nature in which Jesus was rendered. As verse 151 says, God never gave any reason ever for people to believe that anything/one but Him was God or divine. It seems more likely, though, that amongst these verses the references are to the Quryash since the Battle of Uhud is about to be mentioned. The reference in verse 154 to “pagan ignorance” also makes it seem as though the ascription here concerns the Quryash. However, at the same time, this entire surah is about the house of Mary’s father, so . . .

Tisk, Tisk, Archers

The first half of 152, as Asad points out, is a reference to the archers abandonment of their post, despite Mohammed’s explicit instruction that they not leave their strategic vantage point until he commanded so. Believing the Battle of Uhud won, they left their post and the Muslim army was no longer safely covered from above. Before this disobedience, God was allowing the Muslims to win. The Quran makes clear that this experience for the archers was a test in their conviction and obedience and that those who remained and died surely went to Heaven.

The dialogue provided in verse 155 is one of the longer ones that we’ve seen and, to me, seems to indicate the controversy and inner conflict resulting from the Battle of Uhud and the archers’ behavior. If there was a lot of back and forth that ended up in the Quran then it seems to me that these kinds of conversations were happening amongst the Muslims: lots of accusations, lots of problems, lots of need for resolution and the assignment of blame. This was a difficult experience and very trying for the fledgling Muslim community, and this verse indicates the degree to which people were struggling with the fallout. As the Quran often does, it assigns the result of people’s actions to God, but it is made clear that those who were tested and failed would be punished.

The following are Asad’s words, which I think are perfect and which I could never have communicated myself from the starred part in verses 155:

*“This is an illustration of a significant Qur’anic doctrine, which can be thus summarized: “Satan’s influence” on man is not the primary cause of sin but its first consequence: that is to say, a consequence of a person’s own attitude of mind which in moments of moral crisis induces him to choose the easier, and seemingly more pleasant, of the alternatives open to him, and thus to become guilty of a sin, whether by commission or omission. Thus, God’s “causing” a person to commit a sin is conditional upon the existence, in the individual concerned, of an attitude of mind which makes him prone to commit such a sin: which, in its turn, presupposes man’s free will – that is, the ability to make, within certain limitations, a conscious choice between two or more possible courses of action.”

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Al’-Imran 149-155

149. O YOU who have attained to faith! If you pay heed to those who are bent on denying the truth, they will cause you to turn back on your heels, and you will be the losers. 150. Nay, but God alone is your Lord Supreme, and His is the best succor. 151. Into the hearts of those who are bent on denying the truth We shall cast dread in return for their ascribing divinity, side by side with God, to other beings – [something] for which He has never bestowed any warrant from on high; and their goal is the fire – and how evil that abode of evildoers! 152. AND, INDEED, God made good His promise unto you when, by His leave, you were about to destroy your foes – until the moment when you lost heart and acted contrary to the [Prophet’s] command, and disobeyed after He had brought you within view of that [victory] for which you were longing. There were among you such as cared for this world [alone], just as there were among you such as cared for the life to come: whereupon, in order that He might put you to a test, He prevented you from defeating your foes. But now He has effaced your sin: for God is limitless in His bounty unto the believers. 153. [Remember the time] when you fled, paying no heed to anyone, while at your rear the Apostle was calling out to you – wherefore He requited you with woe in return for [the Apostle’s] woe, so that you should not grieve [merely] over what had escaped you, nor over what had befallen you: for God is aware of all that you do. 154. Then, after this woe, He sent down upon you a sense of security, an inner calm which enfolded some of you, whereas the others, who cared mainly for themselves, entertained wrong thoughts about God – thoughts of pagan ignorance – saying, “Did we, then, have any power of decision [in this matter]?” Say: “Verily, all power of decision does rest with God” – [but as for them,] they are trying to conceal within themselves that [weakness of faith] which they would not reveal unto thee, [O Prophet, by] saying, “If we had any power of decision, we would not have left so many dead behind.” Say [unto them]: “Even if you had remained in your homes, those [of you] whose death had been ordained would indeed have gone forth to the places where they were destined to lie down.” And [all this befell you] so that God might put to a test all that you harbor in your bosoms, and render your innermost hearts pure of all dross: for God is aware of what is in the hearts [of men]. 155. Behold, as for those of you who turned away [from their duty] on the day when the two hosts met in battle – Satan caused them to stumble only by means of something that they [themselves] had done.* But now God has effaced this sin of theirs: verily, God is much-forgiving, forbearing.

Quran Read-A-Long: Al’-Imran 144-148 Provides a Reflection on Quranic Themes

Asad does a great job explaining verse 144, both its more immediate relevance and its longstanding value. Though I understood the implication of the latter, the former is what occurred to me. That is to say that I understood this as being a reference to the near death experience of Mohammed at the Battle of Uhud. People thought Mohammed had died and this caused a great stir amongst the Muslims.

What I didn’t think about fully is that Abu Bakr had to deal with something quite similar – but real – when Mohammed actually did die. Abu Bakr’s comments that those who worshiped Mohammed know that he has died, but those who worship God know that He is ever-living is perfect to keep people believing Muslims even without their prophet. Very profound.

The emphasis on the troubles and hardships of the prophets and their followers also seems contextually grounded in the life of Mohammed and the umma at the time surrounding the Battle of Uhud. If these verses do indeed carry that theme, they resonate with an importance that speaks generally about the situation.

I’m always unsure of what to do when the same familiar ideas return as they do in lines 147 and 148, and I think part of the reason why is because of the chopped-up nature in which we’re reading the Quran here. By only taking a few lines at a time these themes and motifs appear as a piece of the present chunk of verses under investigation. On the contrary, I’d imagine that if we were reading the Quran straight through or at least in larger sections, then amidst the individual issues under discussion these themes would constantly recur, bracketing in specific parts and serving as a constant reinforcement of all else that is written in the Quran. I feel as though that would be a more powerful method of reading the Quran for the sake of these larger and very important messages.

That’s not to say that I’m going to change the way we’re doing things here, but just by way of noting the way I perceive the place of these kinds of lines in the Quran – the major thematic verses. Please share your thoughts about these verses in the comments below.

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Al’-Imran 144-148

144. AND MUHAMMAD is only an apostle; all the [other] apostles have passed away before him: if, then, he dies or is slain, will you turn about on your heels?* But he that turns about on his heels can in no wise harm God – whereas God will requite all who are grateful [to Him]. 145. And no human being can die save by God’s leave, at a term pre-ordained. And if one desires the rewards of this world, We shall grant him thereof; and if one desires the rewards of the life to come, We shall grant him thereof; and We shall requite those who are grateful [to Us]. 146. And how many a prophet has had to fight [in God’s cause], followed by many God-devoted men: and they did not become faint of heart for all that they had to suffer in God’s cause, and neither did they weaken, nor did they abase themselves [before the enemy], since God loves those who are patient in adversity; 147. and all that they said was this: “O our Sustainer! Forgive us our sins and the lack of moderation in our doings! And make firm our steps, and succour us against people who deny the truth!” – 148. whereupon God granted them the rewards of this world, as well as the goodliest rewards of the life to come: for God loves the doers of good.

Motivational Posters for Your Long Weekend

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