There’s an article on NBC’s ‘Chicago’ website this morning regarding how Comedy Central heavily censored last Wednesday’s episode of “South Park”…you know, the one with the Prophet Mohammed. Even Kyle’s speech, which apparently didn’t even mention the Prophet, but instead talked about, according to Trey Parker, “intimidation and fear” was redacted as well. Of course, we’ll never know what it actually said now, because while Parker and Stone have always been brave enough to say what they believe, Comedy Central doesn’t have the courage to let them.
Parker & Stone (along with the likes of Stewart and Maher, but in a different way of course) represent -and a bit incredibly I admit- the social conscience of a good portion of this nation, and have since their program’s inception. Although I usually hate what my fellow Americans have to say (the Tea Party, the Pasty Supremacists and Dick Cheney et al.), we are a country based on the Right of Free Speech. A Tea Bag can carry around a sign (in Chicago) of President Obama in a Nazi uniform and Hitler mustache, but South Park can’t condemn the religious nuts that we happen to be at war with? Worse, South Park can rag on Christians and Jews, but Muslims are taboo?
I understand the concern for their safety, if that’s indeed what Comedy Central was worried about, but if Parker and Stone have got the courage to stand up and say what they think, then Comedy Central should at least show the same guts and let them. Are they afraid their vast Muslim demographic will boycott South Park or Family Guy? Or is what they’re afraid of really that some wing nut will kill either Parker or Stone and thus hurt their bottom line?
Which brings me to the web where these assholes posted their threats and our penchant for making up stupid screen names so we can stand up for what we believe in anonymously, without fear that our true feelings and beliefs will be uncovered by anyone that knows us. If everyone who made a comment on the internet was forced to use their real names instead of these stupid screen-names, then 99% of these stupid threats, inarticulate comments and vitriol would disappear, making the web a far more civil place. Screen names aren’t Free Speech, they’re Hidden Speech, little cries in the dark, snipes and threats from the shadows made by cowards, a rock tossed from the back of the crowd, be they from Tea Partier’s, Muslim Extremists or my wife commenting on my posts (I followed your URL, honey.).
Ever since Dick Cheney came to power and I started bitching about it, I’ve always believed that my only protection against an all-expenses paid trip to Guantanamo Bay was to use my real name- that way, if the worst happened (and you may not remember anymore, but there was a time when Bush’s approval ratings were close to 90% and to criticize him was tantamount to treason and if things had gone a bit differently, Free Speech could have become a crime …I figured the best defense was to let everyone see exactly why I may have become a target).
So, if you wanna call for the impeachment of the President or worse, or death for Parker and Stone, use your own true names, show the same courage as these guys and stand up as Americans for what you believe in. If you’re afraid you may lose a job or some friends because some potential employer or neighbor might read your true thoughts, then you have two choices, keep quiet or be thankful you didn’t get stuck with bosses or friends like that.