Religion and South Park Or How I Learned To Stop Arguing and Listen to a Midget in a Bikini

  • Author(s): Nathan Fulton
  • When: 2011-02
  • Where: Source
  • Buddha snorts cocaine, Muhammad is a pyromaniac, and Joseph Smith is a kind hearted idiot. Whether or not these depictions are offensive, they are examples of South Park’s on-going treatment of religion. Since its inception, South Park has touched on issues revolving religion not as a way of explaining our existence on earth, but as a necessary “Response” to the hegemony of censorship. This literature review provides a discourse analysis on the television show South Park and attempts to analyze the relationship between religious controversies and censorship. While a comprehensive knowledge of the show is required for the comedy to have a “destabilizing” effect, an overview of the controversies surrounding the show exemplifies South Park’s impact on not only the religions it thrusts into the spotlight, but on the entire realm of American media as we know it. This literature review looks to South Park’s methods of criticism, religion as an ideological state apparatus and its effects on media, and the status of contemporary American animation in an attempt to explain South Park’s lasting effect on our media landscape.

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