“We have a generation of men who grew up thinking Cartman was a role model.”
Liberals gathered on Twitter this week to bemoan the disastrous effects “South Park” has supposedly had on a generation of American men.
The conversation started on Sunday when Slate contributor Daniel Summers responded to a tweet soliciting unpopular opinions. He shared: “‘South Park’ is a mean-spirited, nasty show that has made American culture not only coarser, but crueler.”
“South Park” is a fundamentally mean-spirited, nasty show that has made American culture not only coarser, but crueler. https://t.co/zUBrxhk3qU
— Daniel Summers (@WFKARS) May 6, 2019
Summers’ fellow liberals responded with an outpouring of support for his take on the long-running cartoon sitcom. His post received nearly 60,000 likes and 11,000 retweets, along with thousands of supportive comments.
Ben Faulding – a left-wing journalist who recently went viral for claiming dogs are “a tool of white supremacy” – opined that “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone “have no critical consciousness” because they are “straight white men.”
Their shtick was we hit both sides. they thought of it as left right. However, they as straight white men have no critical consciousness, so they were really punching up and down. Including at vulnerable people. As they got more successful they punched down with more frequency.
— Every Chamillionaire is a Policy win (@TheHipsterRebbe) May 6, 2019
Feminist writer Parker Malloy quipped: “Yeah, turns out the show that teaches the lesson that it’s bad to care about literally anything might not have been the best cultural touchpoint for a generation of boys to get behind.”
Yeah, turns out that the show that teaches the lesson that it's bad to care about literally anything might not have been the best cultural touchpoint for a generation of boys to get behind.
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) May 6, 2019
A woman named Becky complained that the show is “profoundly conservative and reinforces the status quo.”
YES. It’s also profoundly conservative & reinforces the status quo.
— ??☠️Becky?☠️? (@BeckyEscalator) May 6, 2019
Jessica Kate said that a “generation of men” grew up thinking Cartman was a role model.” She added that her problem with the character – an obese and diabolical fourth grader – is that young male viewers laugh with him, instead of at him.
To people replying to me, I know that you're meant to laugh AT cartman, but a lot of the teenage boys I knew were definitely laughing WITH him. They mimicked his sense of humour because they didn't see him as the bad guy – he was just funny.
— Jessica Kate (@Jessica_Kate_91) May 6, 2019
“I really do hate South Park so much,” shared Lindsay Broadwell, a Labour Party councillor in Leicester, England.
I really do hate South Park so much.
— Lindsay ?️? (@LindsayPB) May 6, 2019
Author Robert Evans said that he used to like the show when he was “a kid,” but then he grew up and got woke.
I loved this show so much as a kid and my ability to enjoy it started plummeting once I left suburbia and made friends who weren't white, cis and middle class
— Robert Evans (The Other Robert Evans) (@IwriteOK) May 6, 2019
Responding to his ideological compatriots, Summers on Monday tweeted: “I am surprised but cheered that so many of you seem to share this opinion!”
WATCH: Cartman Drinks ‘Tears of Unfathomable Sadness’
However, not everyone shared Summers’ revulsion. Some commenters offered principled defenses of “South Park.”
Conservative journalist Ben Howe, for one, argued that that the show needed to be “mean-spirited” to mirror the “protection racket that exists around America’s sacred cows.”
South Park has spent years masterfully exposing the mean-spirited, nasty underbelly of the protection racket that exists around America’s sacred cows. If it’s cruel or coarse it’s because that’s the nature of mirrors when ugly souls stare into them. https://t.co/XvUDt7bkKu
— Ben (@BenHowe) May 8, 2019
Others mocked the idea that a TV show is to blame for America’s problems.
Yes good blame the TV show, if we get rid of the TV show America will be saved.
— Sam (@mytoemytoe) May 6, 2019
Yet others simply responded with “mean-spirited” memes.
— Jim Rogers (@JR24FN) May 6, 2019
Parker and Stone have never really taken sides in the culture wars, preferring to reign ridicule down on their entire society.
In 2006, “South Park” ruthlessly belittled Al Gore’s climate change activism with the character of ManBearPig. Then, the show spent much of 2016 mocking Donald Trump, culminating in having him raped and murdered. However, after Trump became president, they decided taking shots at him was boring.
Stone once famously said, “”I hate conservatives, but I really fucking hate liberals.”
- Daniel Summers/A scene from “South Park.”: Screen grabs