Ike Broflovski is Taken to Saddam Hussein’s Canada in South Park Episode 715, “Christmas in Canada”

When Ike Broflovski’s birth-parents interrupt quiet, family Hanukah prayers and insist on taking Ike back to Canada by decree of the new Canadian Prime Minister, Sheila and Gerald Broflovski are devastated. Cartman tells Kyle that this is what he gets for being Jewish at Christmas time: some Jesus revenge. In a show of unprecedented good faith, the South Park townsfolk offer to forgo Christmas gift-giving and donate all of their money to the Broflovskis for legal fees to take their case to Canada.

Rather than lose Christmas, the boys decide to help Kyle go to Canada and confront the Canadian Prime Minister about taking Ike. The whole time they want to hurry back to South Park, though, so that they are sure not to miss out on any Christmas adventures. Funny, since they are traversing Canada by foot after their plane crashed and confronting all sorts of weird and wacky characters Wizard of Oz style (with Scott, the dickhead Canadian as the Wicked Witch).

As their plane is crashing (it’s piloted by the same guy who owns City Wok and is called City [Shitty] Airlines), the pilot tells them: “As you can see it appears that we are going down. Now would be a good time to reflect on your life and pray to whatever deity you believe in.”

At the end of the episode, Kyle speaks about the importance of family and who we love and explains to the Canadian Prime Minister – who turns out to be the escaped Saddam Hussein! – that, “Family isn’t about whose blood you have in you. Family’s about the people who cared about you and took care of you. We’re not the same blood, but I love my little brother. We’ve taken care of him because he needed us to, and that makes us more family than anything.”

Very touching and a lovely Christmas episode.

What do you think? What was your favorite part?

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Love is in the Air in “Clubhouses,” South Park Episode 212, When the Boys Go For It in Truth or Dare

Though the over-arching plot of this episode is about Stan and Kyle competing against Cartman and Kenny for who can build a clubhouse faster, get girls up there and play truth or dare, there is an important sub-plot as well: Stan’s parents getting a divorce.

Stan has no idea what’s going on and why his parents are getting divorced. When he asks his dad whether or not, because he hates Shelley, he can divorce his sister, his father tells him no because they’re family.

Stan replies:

“But you and Mom are family; how come you can just split up? You know what I think? I think that when you and Mom got married, you became family. And now that you are, you shouldn’t be able to leave her anymore than I can leave my sister.”

Later he says, “Divorce is stupid!”

Poor Stan. Though of course we can understand his sentiments, there are good reasons for people to get divorced – probably more good reasons than getting married, and maybe people should have thought of that in the first place. Say no to marriage! Vote yes on prop 12!

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Fun with the Bible: Abraham’s Trip to See Sigmund Freud

The Situation

Everybody knows about Father Abraham right? That patriarch of all monotheistic people who everyone likes to trace his or her roots to? You remember: God spoke to him, gave him descendants and Canaan and all that jazz?

Do you remember the story where he goes to sacrifice his son Isaac as a test from God (Genesis 22) but before he can do it God stops him? It’s a great story. Rather popular, and boy is there a lot to say about it. But do you know the story of Abraham and his other son, Ishmael?

Well, in Genesis 21, (yes, the chapter immediately before he tries to off Isaac), Abraham sends his other son (and his mother) out into the wilderness to, presumably, die. Why? Sarah, Abraham’s wife, is getting testy about Ishmael, the son of a slave woman, playing with her son. Jealousy? Maybe. But no matter the reason, we have two back to back stories of Abraham doing things that will kill his sons.

I don’t know about you, but when I hear things like this, I start thinking of everyone’s favorite mother fucker, Sigmund Freud. Now, there’s no real indication that Isaac or Ishmael was trying to sleep with either of their mothers or subsequently tried to murder their father, Abraham. But perhaps this was a preemptive strike on Abraham’s part while his sons were still young.

The Approach

There’s little that annoys me as much in scholarship as a reductionist approach. That is, the attempt to understand and explain information all through a particular lens without taking account of the entire situation. For instance, like attempting to interpret everything through a Freudian, Oedipal Complex, eye. (By the way, interpreting the entire Old Testament like it’s forecasting Jesus is also reductionist.)

However, with two back to back stories about killing sons, I can’t help but wonder if we’re not getting glimpses of some very long standing emotions about familial relations. We know that the ancient Greeks thought about these things – why not Ancient Near Eastern people as well?

The Questions

One big question internal to the story is, how can Abraham get everything that God has promised him (descendants and land for them), if he is killing his sons (while claiming that God is telling him to kill them – sounds delusional, no?)? So, if these Freudian drives are correct, is this in part a story about Abraham overcoming his internal drives (son-murder) in order to acquire his long-term goals: Id v. Superego? Should he smoke a cigar?

If you like this family murder stuff, Genesis is filled with some great fratricide and attempted fratricide stories too (e.g. Cain and Able, Joseph and his brothers).

Have you read Genesis 21 and 22? What do you think about this Freudian interpretation on the whole thing? What are your thoughts on Abraham’s psyche? Are there other places you can think of in the Bible that lend themselves to Freudian interpretation? God does let his only son get murdered, right?

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“An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig,” South Park Episode 105, Teaches about Family Love

Aside from the great sexual lessons, this episode also teaches us a bit about family love.

Multiple times when Stan comes home, his older sister Shelley is watching Jesus and Pals on tv. She also proceeds to beat the crap out of her little brother right away. It seems to me that this is a lesson about not being hypocritical.

Many people claim to follow Jesus and listen to his words. However, they don’t behave in such a way that Jesus would appreciate. They are hypocritical. Jesus preaches love and nonviolence and though Shelley is sitting there watching his show on public access television, she nonetheless beats up her little brother repeatedly. That’s like when the Pope used to sponsor crusades.

What do you think? Is this an exaggeration, an overinterpretation or sheer nonsense?

Did you see this episode? Did you like it?

For today’s Fun with the Bible post, click HERE or to read about “Night of the Living Homeless,” tonight’s other South Park episode, click HERE. Click HERE to read about other South Park episodes.

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A Thank You for An Unnecessary Kindness

Though this blog often contains a great deal of personal information about me, my life and its goings-on, I don’t think I ever get too sappy or self-indulgent with personal anecdotes that aren’t relevant to an overall point (please feel free to disagree and cite your evidence – three examples makes a case, I’d say). However, I must share a quick story.

Tonight Eszter and I went to Sausalito to have dinner with some of my family that lives out here (my family has been very sweet in their reaching out to us since we’ve moved here). We had sensational Chinese food and a lovely time at a restaurant called Feng Nian. After dinner we had to drive (in our Zip Car) back across the Golden Gate Bridge, and upon recalling that the toll was 5 dollars and that we had no cash, pulled off the last exit to see if we could find an ATM or gas station. This sucked all the more (or mainly because) I had to pee really really bad (small bladder) and because we had to have our car back within 22 minutes.

In any case, a few minutes off the exit we saw a restaurant, and I’m not sure why I went in since nice restaurants in Sausalito don’t do cash back, but I decided to ask if they knew of an ATM or whether the toll could be paid with a card. The two bar tenders and the only couple at the bar began talking with me about my options and the bar tender remembered that the toll could be mailed to my home address if I had no cash.

Much to my surprise, however, the couple produced a five dollar bill that they insisted I take. I told them I had only come for information (though I wondered if I seemed like one of those scam artists who complains of a broken down car around the corner containing his pregnant girlfriend and a flower in rare bloom that needs to be photographed immediately in order to get the payout such a special find earns) and that I could just have the toll people mail me a bill. They insisted, though, that I take the five dollars, and as I did – so dumbstruck by their unnecessary kindness that I didn’t know what else to do – I assured them that at some point I would pass the five dollars onto someone who needed it far more than I.

I know it wasn’t such a big deal monetarily nor the best use of their five dollars (multiple children in Africa could be vaccinated against deadly diseases rampaging their villages with that money), but I was still struck by how forthcoming they were to just help a stranger out and make his life easier.

Have you had a similar experience with unnecessary kindness that you’d like to share? Please do so below.