April 22, 2010

Thirty-five Seconds


I usually watch South Park on line late Wednesday night, but obviously that was a flawed strategy this time around. I'm really bummed I missed it. And it is also infuriating that even in the program that did air there were bits that were censored, including, apparently, every single mention of the name Mohammed (making the episode "practically incomprehensible" according to this); as well as an entire thirty-five second conversation between Stan, Jesus and Santa Claus.

It isn't hard to understand the Comedy Central people not wanting to stick their necks out, considering that Theo van Gogh's picture was included with the death threat (or friendly death warning or helpful death citation of a previous similar death situation or whatever it was meant to be.) Probably it was just idle, random internetty blather blown out of all proportion (and possibly even welcomed as a publicity opportunity -- that has been known to happen.) But difficult as it is to imagine that kind of thing (e.g. a Theo van Gogh-style assassination of Stone and Parker or some Comedy Central figure) happening in the USA, it's not impossible, and it's easy to complain about free speech cowardice when you, like me, are not actually risking anything.

Still, I want those thirty-five seconds, even though I don't want anyone to get stabbed over them. And may God bless and help Matt and Trey.

UPDATE: and another episode disappears...

Posted by Dr. Frank at April 22, 2010 07:17 PM | TrackBack

I just watched it. The bleeping of "Mohammed" was annoying, but I assumed the ending - with all the censorship was a joke.

Posted by: Saul at April 22, 2010 11:16 PM

What absolutely infuriates me is the apparent letting go of a serious threat made on the lives of Matt and Trey and the staff of Comedy Central in general. If one is sent a picture of a corpse and told not to do such and such, that is a clear threat. One cannot then say "oh, I simply meant please don't do such and such". No matter how thinly veiled (and not cleverly at that) it is still a crime and should be punished as such. Absolutely no one's religious sensitivities are above the law. aaarrrgghhh. end rant. feeling a little better.

Posted by: Mike NYC at April 23, 2010 03:42 PM

Why can't you imagine them getting killed. I was genuinely worried about what would happen to Matt and Trey while watching this episode.

Posted by: josh at April 26, 2010 04:37 PM

You're right, Josh, it isn't that difficult to imagine something happening, especially now. The original threat didn't strike me as too credible -- just some fruitcake with a blog and delusions of grandeur, from what I can tell. By censoring it so ostentatiously and making it into such a prominent story, Comedy Central has actually made things quite a bit more dangerous, I'd say.

Posted by: Dr. Frank at April 27, 2010 07:07 AM

If you REALLY want the uncensored version, I can get it for you or if you or Beth are savvy to such things, you can find it on UseNet. Let me know if I can be of any help.

Posted by: Ghost of Zaphod at April 27, 2010 06:31 PM

I guess it all shows how much the world has changed since 9/11. They've only just taken down the Super Best Friends episode which featured Mohammed in a leading role without complaint. It's bang out of order that terrorists and those willing to use the fear created by terrorists is preventing free speech. I can only see this making things harder for the millions of Muslims who would never consider commiting acts of violence.

Posted by: Ben Hazuki at April 30, 2010 08:44 PM