Cartman and Kyle Argue Over Jew-Gold in South Park Episode 908, “Two Days Before The Day After Tomorrow”

The Day After Tomorrow – blech what a craptastic movie. “Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow” – what an awesome episode.

When Stan and Cartman wreck a dam with a stolen speedboat, thereby flooding a town in a valley below the dam, the entire country freaks out that global warming has caused this flooding and everyone starts panicking. I’ve already explored some of South Park‘s thoughts and skepticism about global warming in my post on episode 1006, “Manbearbig” and in episode 505, “Terrance and Phillip Behind the Blow,” so I will refrain from elaborating in great detail here except for to say that, to whatever degree Trey Parker and Matt Stone appreciate the importance of not obliterating the environment, they don’t wholly subscribe to the terror of global warming.

In any case, despite mocking global warming fanatics, this episode is particularly memorable for a hilarious exchange between Kyle and Cartman when they are trapped in a collapsing and burning building in the flooded town. Cartman refuses to allow Kyle to pass him and move to safety on the roof of the building where a helicopter awaits unless Kyle cedes his Jew-gold. What is Jew-gold, you ask? It is the bag of gold that all Jews carry in a small sack around their necks.

Obviously, Kyle contests the notion that he has such a thing or that it even exists, and what is even more hilarious than the banter between the two is when Kyle finally reveals the Jew-gold and gives it to Cartman. The ridiculousness of this scenario exposes the absurdity of many anti-Semitic beliefs, like that Jews used to use Christian blood to make their matzas, a Middle Ages belief called blood libels.

Mmmmm, matza.

What did you think about this episode? What was your favorite part?

Get a FREE Bonus Chapter from The Zen of South Park.

Read about other South Park episodes.

Advertisements

The Late Michael Crichton’s Next, Though Politically Charged, Is Not His Best

I think that Michael Crichton is a spectacular writer. Not only are his stories compelling, his plots engaging and his writing enjoyable, but his ability to incite something entirely different in his reader is remarkable. Why? Because he often writes about topics that are (or should be) important issues of public discourse.

Crichton does not merely pick some outrageous sci-fi notion and run with it to the ends of the earth. He writes science fiction that is well-researched and of practical public interest. He then crafts a story that pushes the boundaries of “what if” while demonstrating the numerous issues that surround the topic at hand, whether nanotechnology, biological experimentation or global warming – one of the largest thorns in his side.

He was an outspoken public critic of complacency and constantly sought to shake up the status-quo. When unethical or damaging tactics were allowed to plague an institute of government, a scientific research facility, or the media, he seized upon them and exposed them in the best way he knew how – creative science fiction grounded in reality.

Next was Crichton’s jab at genetic technology and gene experimentation. This well-researched book ended with a series of recommendations for how American politics, government and people should proceed in regards to these issues. The book itself was fascinating for the issues it exposed but for some reason this time I just couldn’t grab hold of the slightly over the top sci-fi elements.

I certainly feel more educated about genetic research and the state of affairs of politics and science than I did before – thanks to his grounding these books in facts – but the sci-fi elements themselves were just not for me this time. I won’t stop reading Crichton’s books, though, but sadly we won’t be seeing any more of them (that aren’t published posthumously).

Here’s to you, Mr. Crichton. Thanks!

Get your copy of Next today.

An Open Letter to Sarah Palin about Her Fundamentalist Christian Beliefs

Before you is a letter from someone I know and respect whose work is all about helping fundamentalist Christians who have chosen to leave their abusive and delusional religions do so in a safe and psychologically sound way. As the author of this letter has written, “Marlene Winell is a Bay Area psychologist who specializes in recovery from fundamentalist religion. She is author of Leaving the Fold:  A guide for former fundamentalists and others leaving their religion. She is the daughter of Assemblies of God missionaries. A longer article about Sarah Palin’s religion is on Dr. Winell’s website:  http://www.marlenewinell.net.”

Please feel free to leave any comments at the bottom of this letter and reproduce the letter in its entirety elsewhere on the internet (so long as you provide Dr. Winell as the author). If you would like to read an interview that I once conducted with Dr. Winell, please click HERE.

An open letter to Sarah Palin, from Marlene Winell, Ph.D.

Dear Sarah,

As a former fundamentalist, I’d like to call you on what you are doing.

This is not about disrespecting your private beliefs.  But you have a huge conflict of interest here by running for office and you can’t have it both ways (see Jesus’ words in John 2:15).

You have not been honest about the most important thing about you:  the fact that you are a born-again, literal Bible-believing, fundamentalist Christian.   Voters need to know you are not merely a “Christian” – a follower of Christ’s teachings.

Most people who have never been entrenched in the subculture of fundamentalist Christianity may not understand what this really means, but I do. Like you, I was raised in the Assemblies of God and I was a zealous part of the Jesus Movement.  Like you, my life was consumed with seeking God’s will for my life and awaiting the imminent return of Jesus.  It’s clear to me that you want to do the Lord’s will; you’ve said and done things like a true believer would. You are on a mission from God. If that is not true, then I challenge you to deny it.

Former fundamentalists like me know that your worldview is so encompassing, authoritarian, and powerful that it defines who you think you are, the way you view the world, history, other people, the future, and your place in the world.  It defines you far more than hockey mom, wife, woman, hunter, governor, or VP candidate.

You believe that every bit of the Bible is God’s perfect word.  You have a supernatural view of reality where Satan is a real entity and where good and evil beings are engaged in “spiritual warfare” (Ephesians 6:12).   Like Queen Esther, you believe that God has “called” and “anointed” you to lead America.  This is why you have accepted blessing for office through the “laying on of hands” and prayer to protect you from witchcraft.

So what does this mean for governing?  What could Americans expect with you at the helm?

You cannot affirm basic human decency or capability, because according to your dogma, we are sinful, weak, and dependant on God. And so, your decisions would not be based on expert advice or even your own reasoning, but on your gut-level, intuitive interpretation of God’s will.

This would allow you to do anything and claim you were led by God.

Your thinking necessarily is black or white.  People and policies are either good or bad.  After all, Jesus said, “He who is not with me is against me” (Matt. 12:30).  Under your leadership, diplomacy and cultural nuance would be less important than not blinking.  In a spiritual war, you don’t negotiate with the devil.

Regarding social policy, as a believer in individual salvation, you would emphasize individual morality and responsibility, not a community approach with structural solutions.  You would be judgmental and controlling of personal choices regarding sex, reproduction, and library books instead of addressing global warming, torture, poverty, and war.  Your belief in eternal hell-fire, your deference to a literal Bible despite its cruelties and vengeful god, and your indoctrination to disbelieve your own compassionate instincts, are likely to leave you numb at your moral core.  You might recall the verse, “If a man will not work he shall not eat” (2 Thess. 3:10).  However, faith-based initiatives would be okay because they would use caring to evangelize.

How about science?  As it has in your governorship, your interpretation of the Bible would trump scientific scholarship and findings.  You would deny the human role in global warming because God is in control.  More importantly, you would not make the environment a priority because you do not expect the earth to last.

International affairs?  Since your subculture has identified the establishment of Israel in 1948 as the beginning of the end, you would see war, epidemics, climate change, and natural disasters, all as hopeful signs of Jesus’ return.  You would be a staunch supporter of Israel and deeply suspicious of countries like Russia identified with the antichrist in the end times literature.  (You have publicly said that you expect Jesus to return in your lifetime and that it guides you every day.)

The Christian fundamentalism that has shaped your thinking teaches that working for peace is unbiblical and wrong because peace is not humanly possible without the return of Jesus (1 Thess. 5:2,3).  Conflict, even outright war is inevitable, for Jesus came not to bring peace but a sword (Matt: 10:34-37).  Like millions of fundamentalist Christians, you may actually find joy in global crises because these things portend His return (Luke 21:28).

But all of this certainty and fantasy in today’s complex world is dangerous, Sarah.  There was a time when all of humanity thought the world was flat.  Today, the stakes for such massive error are much higher.

So we want to know, Sarah, Warrior Princess for God —  How dare you presume to take responsibility for our country and our planet when you, in your own mind, do not consider this home?   I mean home for the long haul, not just until your rescue arrives from space.  How dare you look forward to Christ’s return, leaving your public office empty like a scene from the movie, Left Behind?

What if you are completely wrong and you wreak havoc instead with your policies?  If you deny global warming, brand people and countries “evil,” support war, and neglect global issues, you can create the apocalypse you are expecting.  And as it gets worse and worse, and you look up for redemption, you just may not see it.  What then?  In that moment, you and all who have shared your delusion may have the most horrifying realization imaginable.   And it will be too late.  Too late to avoid destruction and too late to apologize to all the people who tried to turn the tide and needed you on board.

And you, John McCain, how dare you endanger all of us for the sake of your politics?  How dare you choose a partner who is all symbol and no substance, preying on the fears of millions of Americans?   Shame on both of you.

Leave this beautiful, fragile earth to us, the unbelievers in your fantasy.  It’s the only heaven we have and you have no right to make it a hell.

Sincerely,
Marlene

Marlene Winell, Ph.D.
October 21, 2008

Press Release – October 21, 2008
Contact:  mwinell@gmail.com

If you would like to read an interview that I once conducted with Dr. Winell, please click HERE.

Get a FREE Bonus Chapter from The Zen of South Park.

Enjoy some Fun with the Bible posts.

Al Gore and Global Warming Lambasted in “Manbearpig,” South Park episode 1006

“Look, we didn’t plan on a freak river flood. God must really want those kids dead,” a rescue worker says when the boys get trapped in a cave that’s flooding because Al Gore is nuts. I love people’s attribution of bad things to God – especially when it comes to dead children.

This episode, released shortly after An Inconvenient Truth, makes fun of Al Gore for his desperation to have the spotlight turned on him and to discuss global warming until he’s blue in the face. The creation of Manbearpig, Al Gore’s made-up global terror that must be stopped, is obviously equivalent to global warming (in case you missed that) and the lines he utters at the end really drive the point home.

My feelings on global warming aside, I would like to say that Al Gore has a pretty good sense of humor about some things. First, his episode of Saturday Night Live after he lost the 2000 election was great, especially considering that it guest-starred Phish, and when he did an episode of 30 Rock, it was pretty funny how he left under the guise of hearing a whale somewhere calling for help. Good-natured fellow, it seems.

However, this episode makes him look like a loony and it’s pretty funny to boot. Read about another South Park episode that really tears into global warming.

Get a FREE Bonus Chapter from The Zen of South Park.

Read about other South Park episodes.

South Park and Global Warming: tonight’s episode, “Terrance and Phillip Behind the Blow” (505)

Tonight’s episode (9:30 on Comedy Central before a Chris Rock special) is one of my favorite non-religious episodes (aside from the exclamation of “Jesus tap-dancing Christ!”). This episode, though it focuses heavily on Terrance and Phillip and their tragic and complicated relationship, is also about a phenomenon quite close to my own heart: global warming….and what a bunch of nonsense it is.

That’s right. I said it. There is no global warming. Sure, excessive carbon is not good for our environment, ozone layer or collective health – I certainly won’t deny that – but the notion that the world’s temperature is increasing in an unnatural way is absurd. In fact, not only have global temperatures been decreasing for a few years now, not only should the earth have warmed up substantially after the mini-ice-age of the 14th-20th centuries, and not only am I always a little cold and appreciative of an extra degree or so, but some NASA scientists have attributed the global rises that were being detected to the sun’s own increase in temperatures (did humans cause that?). Basically, there is no concrete evidence that it is actually humans and their activities that are contributing to the temperature of the earth.

All that said, I am not anti-environment. I recycle. I don’t litter. I drive 55 mph because it’s the optimum speed to conserve gas. I just think that before we go believing every little word that scare-mongers scream at us we should probably ask to see some actual scientific evidence and not just believe it because they say it’s scientific. Let’s question these things a little more thoroughly.

And that brings us to South Park. South Park questions the nonsense spewed at us left and right about global warming and saving the environment. God bless it.

In “Terrance and Phillip Behind the Blow” it’s Earth Day and the crazy Earth Day leaders are psychopaths, blaming everything on the Republicans and murdering people for the sake of their cause. As Stan says, “Environmental activists don’t use logic or reason.” This episode, along with “Manbearpig” in which Al Gore is a raving lunatic trying to prove the existence and danger of a make-believe creature that’s half man, half bear, and half pig (and which we see in Imaginationland), as well as others that refuse to tolerate the nonsense of bullshit environmentalist’ claims, is awesome for its willingness to stand up to the monolith that is the environmental movement. Few people will publicly stand up to the ridicule that is associated with not believing in what everyone tells them is true (like standing up to bunk religious claims when everyone around you is a believer), but Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Michael Crichton are among them.

So when you watch South Park tonight, remember that it’s about more than Terrance and Phillip’s problems with blow.

Do you believe in global warming? What’s your reason why? Do you think I’m a raving lunatic? What do you think about this episode of South Park? Where else does South Park knock global warming?

Get a FREE Bonus Chapter from The Zen of South Park.

Read about other South Park episodes.