Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer, Reforms Cartman’s Behavior in “Tsst,” South Park Episode 1007

Cartman, as we all know, treats his mom, well, like a dog, and it’s time for that trend to be reversed. Cesar Millan, the acclaimed Dog Whisperer, comes to South Park to discipline Cartman for Lianne Cartman and make him submit to her parental will.

Cesar ignores Cartman and touches him on the neck, saying, “Tsst” to hush him and remind him that he is just a child. Cartman can’t take this horrible treatment and all that goes along with it, like healthy food, a lack of new toys and the loss of his mother to Cesar Millan. Thus, he plans to kill his mother. When he attempts to enlist the help of his friends (and fails) he reads them his plan but leaves off the last detail which is, Frame Token.

Eventually, however, Cartman does submit to his mother’s will, through the help of Cesar Millan, and becomes a behaved and reformed child. Unfortunately for Lianne, Cesar leaves when his work is done and with no one to hang out with (for she had become dependent on Cesar’s friendship), Lianna reverts to giving Cartman what he wants so that he’ll hang out with her as a friend and not as a child.

And thus, Cartman is back.

What did you think about this episode?

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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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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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