Network wrong to cater to terrorists
Following the airing of South Park’s 200th episode, which poked fun at the show’s inability to depict Prophet Muhammad, a veiled threat was made against creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker on a radical Muslim group’s website.
The group later backpedaled, saying its post that claimed Stone and Parker would end up like Theo Van Gogh, a Dutch director assassinated for a film he made that was critical of the treatment of women in Islam, was simply a prediction, not a threat.
Fearing violence, Comedy Central censored not only depictions of Muhammad in the following episode but also any mention of his name as well as an extended speech at the end of the show that Stone and Parker later said did not even mention Muhammad.
Then to top it off, Comedy Central pulled all reruns of the episode, refused to let South Park’s official website stream the episode and removed a 2001 episode that had depicted Muhammad (that somehow managed to not result in any violence) from streaming at Netflix as well as South Park’s site.
Hey Comedy Central, way to handle this in about the worst way possible. You have (rightly) allowed South Park to insult just about every group possible over the last 14 years. You have been deluged with hate mail from too many different aggrieved groups to count during the show’s run. And yet, you were never scared into submission by threats from any of them.
But the moment a college dropout who decided to rebel against his parents, grow a beard and join a cult gets upset, you cave just because his cult is fundamentalist Islam?
The vast majority of Muslims in this country aren’t fundamentalist lunatics who are going to kill people over the tiniest perceived slight against their religion.
In fact, I bet most are perfectly capable of realizing that Stone and Parker weren’t even making fun of or disrespecting Muhammad; they were making fun of the type of idiots who think the proper response to a joke is murder.
Comedy Central should have recognized that the threat came from a tiny fringe element of the Muslim community in America and that mainstream Muslims would be mature enough to not respond to the episode by killing people.
Instead, they gave the fringe group just what it wanted by identifying Muslims as some sort of “others” who must be treated with kid gloves, lumping mainstream Muslims in with radical fundamentalists and feeding radical propaganda.
By trying to placate Muslims and keep them from feeling offended, Comedy Central did the most offensive thing it could have done by treating Muslims like a bunch of children.
Comedy Central’s desire to ensure the safety of its employees is understandable, but giving in to terroristic threats is never the answer because it tells those who would make them that terrorism works.
All Americans, regardless of religious or political affiliation, should applaud Stone and Parker’s stand for free expression. For more than a decade, few people have done a better job of standing up for one of our most important and cherished rights.
As for those who threaten to kill someone for exercising that right, it takes a special brand of coward who hides behind the First Amendment to threaten someone else for exercising the same right.
David Brooks is a communication senior and may be reached at [email protected]