More on South Park
I just watched Jon Stewart’s take on the South Park controversy, which features a montage of Daily Show clips satirizing Judaism, Christianity, and a number of other religions. I don’t think Stewart adequately acknowledges just how offensive depicting Mohammed is to Muslims. Were South Park to satirize Islam to the extent that the Daily Show has satirized other faiths, I would stand behind Matt and Trey. But it didn’t. It went much further — giving no less offense to Muslims than mocking a Holocaust survivor would give Jews, or desecrating a Eucharistic wafer would give Catholics.
(Obviously, there are extremist groups who would consider any and all criticism of Islam highly offensive. To be perfectly clear: I don’t think for a moment we need to worry about the religious sensitivities of Jihadists and other fanatics.)
Following the montage, Stewart brings the lone Muslim Daily Show staffer on, who admits that, even as a liberal member of his faith, a depiction of Mohammed would make him “uncomfortable.” He immediately changes the subject, however, to condemning revolutionary Islam — a segue to the final segment in which Stewart sings “go fuck yourself” to his fundamentalist adversaries (hilarious, actually).
Is intolerance morally abhorrent? Yes, quite obviously. But intolerance is essentially beside the point — which is whether or not a legitimate case can be made for Comedy Central’s decision to pull episode 201 off the air. Given the level of offense, I still say it can.