Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Is laughter really the best medicine?


By now I'm sure the entire world has heard of the death of Robin Williams.  I've seen many people on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. give their condolences to his family, lament the tragic loss, and run through a roster of their favourite TV and movie moments.  I myself, like so many, have enjoyed pretty much every performance Mr. Williams has ever done.  Mork & Mindy is easily a childhood favourite of mine for example.
And yet, among all the heartfelt mourning, the great big scalely fire-breathing elephant/dragon hybrid in the room that alot of people are talking about is clinical depression, specifically the type that may have inspired Robin Williams to take his own life. It's got many people asking "why?"  He had Hollywood sized fame, legions of fans, many hit movies, a frequent favourite guest on talk shows (whether he had a project to push or not), an Oscar win, a loving family, and of course enough money to keep said family comfortable for a few lifetimes. What exactly could he be depressed about?

Well, first of all, I'll say that the "sad clown" is not exactly a new concept. It goes back as far as the Italian opera Pagliacci in the late 19th century.  Many many famous comedians have dealt with a deep depression of their own.  For instance, Jerry Lewis once attempted a grizzly suicide.  He even had a gun in his mouth and was ready to pull the trigger.  What saved his life, he claims, is that in the distance he heard some children laughing.  That was enough to inspire him to put the gun away and keep on living.  Another famous comedian with this affliction that I'll mention is Groucho Marx.  He never attempted suicide but he did accurately define a psychological complex that only he could fully understand.  Also, it did rather traumatize his children in any one of his four marriages.
One more comedian I'd like to mention is one that, like Robin Williams, gave into the demons inside his head and took his own life: Richard Jeni

Though not nearly as accomplished as Mr. Williams, he did have a nice career going.  He was always touring with his stand up routine.  He got the part of Jim Carrey's best friend in The Mask.  He also was the star of a sorely under-rated sitcom in the '90's called Platypus Man.  He even had a very supportive wife.  Here's a bit of this man in action:



Sadly, for some reason or another, this funny man woke up one morning, put a gun under his chin and pulled the trigger.  He was pronounced DOA at the hospital.

What on Earth could have possessed either of these men to commit suicide, especially in such a violent manner?  Richard and Robin were guys who clearly hated themselves.  How can anyone hate someone so funny and so willing to share his whimsy with everyone?
One clue I think can be found in something Mr. Jeni said at one point.  He said, "it's very hard to get over the rejection you experience when starting out as a comic".  It is true that you do retain negative stimuli more easily than positive stimuli.  Perhaps that's it (or at least a part of it).  No matter how much laughter and applause these artists received at the height of their careers, they couldn't feel fulfilled knowing that a few audiences didn't like them.  The memory of that one scowling face in Hoboken 30 years ago could not even be erased by a sold out crowd at Madison Square Garden rolling in the aisles with rib-bruising laughter.
But I'm sure even that is very small part of the larger picture.  The human brain is an intricate maze of mystery and we're not even close to finding everything it's capable of doing.  This type of psychology has many unanswered questions that we won't solve anytime soon.

Earlier I said that people all over the internet and TV were talking about their favourite Robin Williams moments.  Well, right now I'd like to bring up one of his LEAST liked moments.  I'm talking about that infamous Mork & Mindy episode that I do believe is ranked as one of the worst episodes of anything in TV history.  It's the one where Mork shrinks down into a parallel universe and gets mixed up in a battle between the Sillies and the Glums.  The basic story line is that the Glums (depressed people) have taken over the land and forced everyone to be miserable.  But, the ragtag revolutionaries known as the Sillies (happy people) are waging a war against the Glums to make their land happy again.
Besides being awkwardly written, directed, acted, etc. the entire concept is all wrong and easily demonstrates just how unfit the writers on that show were for TV or any medium.  In reality, within a comedian's brain, the "glums" and the "sillies" work together to create the comedy.  They've all learned to play with their pain.  Charlie Chaplain could do it.  Tina Fey always does it.  George Carlin and Richard Pryor were masters of turning their pent up frustrations into great comedic bits.  By separating the two elements in that episode they render both of them utterly useless for any entertainment value.  The Glums are just boring while the Sillies are just empty impressions of famous people.

Watch that episode embedded below and see what I mean:




While still on the subject of depression, I'd like to give a little tiny lecture to someone at Fox News, namely Shepard Smith, for referring to Robin Williams as a coward for his suicide.




Sir, that is rather unfair and uncalled for.  You don't know what he was going through.  You don't fully know or understand his struggle.  Be grateful that he remained strong for 63 years and gave us such wonderful entertainment in the process before he gave in to his demos.  Mr. Smith, your comment is like seeing a man carry his entire house on his back from Los Angeles to New York and then coming down on him for not taking it all the way to Bangor, Maine or maybe even Greenland.  Very shabby, sir.
*huff* *puff* I only did something extraordinary instead of something super colossally amazing.  Shepard Smith is right.  I am a failure.

This brings me to what the title of this blog post means.  We've all heard the saying that "laughter is the best medicine".  The theory is that a good laugh no and again will help shake any depression away.  If you're worried about any medical, financial, or relationship situation then laughter can help take the edge off and thus let you cope with said situation with a clearer mind.  Heck, that was the basic philosophy behind a Robin Williams movie Patch Adams.  So, in light of this recent suicide, the question needs to be asked: "If the king of merriment can't be saved from the torment in his soul, then what chance do we mere mortals have?"  I'd like to attempt to give an answer for that query in the hopes that it can help someone in some small way.
Since we are equating laughter to medicine, then it is important that we talk about it like a drug.  The  dosage of this drug depends on the size of the malady.  Remember that one's feeling of sadness is subjective and based on perception.  So, if you're feeling a bit irked because of a trivial "first world" problem, then a bit of humour is in order; a good knock-knock joke, a nasty Yo Mama joke, etc.  If the sadness is in more of the crippling category, then a good sitcom, possibly a marathon viewing of that sitcom would be a good idea.  Or, instead of merely watching something funny you can go ahead and write something funny.  Remember, that's how all of these comedians got started.  They kept using humour as a coping mechanism for their dark feelings and the next thing they knew they had their own HBO special.
It's also important to remember to keep up the doses regularly.  Keep those spirits up.  Maybe that's why Robin died on that fateful day, he had forgotten to take some of his laughter medicine.

Well, I guess that just about wraps up this blog post for me.  I know for me writing it feels very cleansing.  I hope all that read this feel the same way.

Although before I go, I will say that we can all do our part in preventing the next suicide.  Please keep in mind that artists of any medium such as stand up comedy, screenplay writing, comic book illustration,  song writing, song performing, etc. always put quite a bit of their own personalities into everything they do.  When they hear someone say "I don't like this bit of entertainment" to them it sounds dangerously close to "I don't like you".  That can weigh heavy on the soul.  I know it's important for artists to develop a thick skin and learn to tolerate negativity, but as we've seen, it can only get so thick.  If you feel the need to criticize any work of art you see just remember to keep it constructive and less like a knee-jerk just to be negative.

I will end this post with a video of Robin Williams doing what he did best, manic rapid-fire improvisation.  Enjoy!



And thank you for everything, Mr. Robin Williams.  Your divine impact on this world will not be forgotten.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Free Pussy Riot Right Now!!!


Ok, I'm going to weigh in on this Pussy Riot saga, because I know the whole world is waiting on pins and needles for me to do that.  So, here I go.  I hope I type something worth reading.

For the benefit of the two people who may have just recently had WiFi installed in their caves (finally) and have not heard of this entire scandal, here's a link to an article about it.  Now for my 2¢ about it.

My assessment of all of this is that the band Pussy Riot is being unbelievably harshly punished for disobeying a law that shouldn't even exist.  Come on!  Hooliganism???  Is that the charge the Russian police are going with here?  Smashing a window display or vandalizing some kind of landmark with aluminum bats, crow bars, or fire (or all 3), THAT'S hooliganism.  It's especially bad when it results in physical injury or even death.  If these ladies had done anything even close to that, then they'd be rightly imprisoned.  Simply saying the unsolicited thoughts that enter your mind about the country's leader in a public place is NOT HOOLGANISM!  It is simply free speech!  In a healthy democracy, people are applauded for that, not punished.
It seems to me that Mr. Vladimer Putin is too much of a big cry-baby that can't handle criticism.  If that's true, then he is not fit to hold office.

And it really feels odd to me that part of the reason for their arrest is for blasphemy.  Here in Canada, we can't go 5 minutes with being blasphemous in one way or another.  In the animation school from which I graduated, there was a student there who drew up a storyboard in-which, in the background, Jesus Christ could be seen selling crack cocaine to little kids.  As I recall, jaws were on the floor but no police were called.
And here's sketch from a great Canadian comedy troupe, the Kids in the Hall, where they combine the Bible with Dr. Suess:



I know.  Pretty sacrilegious, right?  How could they desecrate Dr. Suess like that?  (Oh yeah, and for any Religious Right members watching this, the guy playing Jesus in that sketch is very much a homosexual and proud of it.  Is he going to Hell?  If they have $5 margaritas, he hopes so).  As of right now, all 5 kids in the hall still walk the streets with no fear of indictment.

And, of course, there's me.  I made a comic book called Jesus Needs Help which angered this preacher enough to speak out against it not just once but twice (and about 8 other times in private emails).  I'm sure if he had his way, I'd have been arrested by now.  But, I still definitely walk the streets and I still have the freedom to blog about anything I choose.

The only criticism I could give to the girls at all is that the statement that got them in trouble doesn't really make sense.  Urging "the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of Putin"???  What kind of a weak sauce threat to a world power is that?  She's just a 2027 year old virgin.  What is she going to do to Putin, have sex with him that is so tense and awkward that he kills himself?  There are other biblical figures who would be much more of a threat I'm sure.  David could easily throw a rock at his head.  Hey, maybe even Goliath could wear a rock-proof head band and stomp Putin's dumb ass into the ground.  I'm sure if Delilah let Sampson grow his hair down to his ankles, he'd be more than strong enough to bring the entire Russian government to its knees.  Daniel could unleash his lions.  Jonah could lure him into a whale's belly.  Any one of the four horsemen could make short work of him easily.  Or, the best idea would be to take an actual Bible, one that's really thick and heavy, and just simply club Putin on the head with it.  I know, ironically there's a passage or two in that Bible that preaches against that, but double ironically there are other passages in that same Bible that contradict them so it all evens out.  But, out of all the possible threats they could have made, they went with the Virgin Mary.  Okay!

Like I mentioned before in this blog post, there is no such thing as being arrested for blasphemy in Canada.  Therefore, I hereby urge the members of Pussy Riot and all of their management staff to relocate this band to Canada.  They will definitely have an audience here.  Although, according to some recent findings, one of the girls DOES have citizenship in Canada.

So, it looks like them moving here to work and perform in complete artistic freedom might just be possible.  For their sake, and the world's sake, I hope so.

In conclusion, I would just like to add my voice to the Free Pussy Riot brigade.  I'll end this post simply with one of their songs.  Ladies, this is the best publicity you could ever get.  I wish you all the success in the world.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Star Spangled Banner by Jimi Hendrix

It's my birthday again.  On this day, I've enjoyed going onto the blogosphere to talk about some woefully misunderstood things.  In the past, they've all been cartoon characters, namely Daffy Duck, Pepe Le Pew, and Tweety.  This year, I'd like to try something in a different vein.  So, as a birthday present to myself, I will talk about a woefully misunderstood non-cartoon related thing, Jimi Hendrix's version of the Star Spangled Banner.  Of course, before you read even one thing I have to say about it, listen to it in the embedded video below:



Most people don't quite understand what Jimi was trying to say with this song.  They're not at all sure if this is for or against America.  I have known some people who think it is just a blind jingoistic tribute to  "Yankee Doodle Land" and it makes them sick.  (Always sticking feathers in their hats and calling them macaroni.  Sheesh!)  And there's others who feel that Jimi took a cheap stab at America by simply converting the Star Spangled Banner into the raukus "noise" of his guitar.  This attitude was portrayed brilliantly in Pixar's first Cars movie, by the way.  (Yes, the clip below is in Spanish)



However, most people simply just don't understand the song and dismiss it as Jimi just making noise for random reasons.  I remember one stand up comedian talking about it.  His comment on the part where Jimi breaks into Taps was "do you get the feeling he forgot what song he was playing part way through?"  Well, if I could find that comedian, I would tell him that Jimi was very much aware of every single sound he was playing during the entire song.  It all added up to one, not cheap knee jerk, but rather a very brilliantly, scathing satirical assault on America.  "How?" you ask.  Well, I think I've got it figured out.  If you want to know as well, read on.  (Although, if any of you reading this had it figured out already, that is awesome for you.  You're invited to read on and possibly add a few points I may have missed.)

The clue for the song's message is in the "noise" Jimi interjects at different parts of the song.  Go back to that youtube clip and listen to it again.  Those aren't just random sounds.  They are the sounds of war, specifically the Viet Nam War.  They are sounds of:


Bombs dropping!

Tanks muscling their way around!

People screaming in terror!
And the basic anguish most of the people felt for being in that impossible situation.


Notice he starts playing all of that right after the part where the song usually says "and the rocket's red glare".  This of course is how he shows that war has always been a part of America's anthem.  (By the way, for those who aren't aware, the rocket's red glare in the original anthem is a refernce to another war that America lost, namely the War of 1812.  Here's a fun song about that:


Tee hee)

So, the playing of Taps is to commemorate all of the people who were needlessly killed in that muddled conflict.




Sadly, very very sadly, Jimi's message in that song is just as relevant for America today as it was in his time.  The evidence for that is painfully clear.







I guess it'll take more than song and a few thousand deaths before America will finally learns its lesson. Oh well, maybe after America invades Iran or Syria and some other musician writes a song against that will America finally squint their eyes passed that "rocket's red glare" and see the light.

Come on, Ms. Gaga.  You can do it.

I'll end this post with a similar misunderstood song about the whole Viet Nam situation.  Most people stupidly assumed it was a partiotic song about the good ol' U.S.A. when it's actually putting down the way the U.S. government treated the veterans of the Viet Nam War.  President Reagen even used that song for his re-inaugeration when he was re-elected president in 1985 (and some people look back with fondness at him???????)  Anyway, enjoy the song:



And always:

(aaaaaaaaaaand.............. Happy birthday to me!)

Friday, July 8, 2011

My response

Here is a recent review of my book, Jesus Needs Help:

ForeWord Clarion Review

HUMOR

Jesus Needs Help

David Germain

CreateSpace

978-1-4538-8271-9

One Star (out of Five)

The divide between free speech and hate speech is as uncomfortable to define as it is to discuss. When broached in casual conversation, passionate reactions often supplant a civil discourse about the context of the speech in question. David Germain’s graphic novel, Jesus Needs Help, falls prey to these rhetorical traps at the cost of detracting from his fable’s anti-censorship message. The story is straight forward. Jesus, attempting to deliver his Sermon on the Mount, is harassed by a band of censoring monkeys, each representing a different stereotype intent on suppressing freedom of speech. These include: the goose-stepping Nazi Monkey, the sword-wielding Not Muhammed [sic] Monkey, the Afro-sporting and gun-toting Black Panther Monkey, and the Feminist Monkey with deeply sagging breasts.

Shocked by the abuse, God declares “I do intend to put my son through a brutal crucifixion soon, but this is too much.” The Almighty cages the monkeys and forces them to watch winged beings enjoying forms of art and expression that challenge the very ideas they wish to suppress. Heaven, as experienced by the simian antagonists, is a hell of their own making.

An independent animator living in Nova Scotia, Germain produces comic strips for his own blog and, occasionally, for the Dalhousie Gazette. He has a great love for classic animation. And, as exemplified in both his blog and Jesus Needs Help, he ardently fights all forms of censorship and perceived threats to free speech through humor and illustration. His work challenges the idea of political correctness and demands the reader’s attention with a blend of shock and Juvenalian satire.

But when it comes to race, racism, free speech, and censorship, context is everything. In the context of Germain’s avocation, his Horrible Mother Monkey, for example, could be read as more than a Jim Crow-era mammy complete with hair rollers and a muumuu. Rightly or wrongly, she’s a homage to Hanna-Barbera cartoons of the 1940s and 1950s, now censored due to culturally insensitive blackface gags, cannibals, and the perpetually rodent-plagued Mammy Two Shoes. Sitting on a shelf at the comic book store, however, the context of Jesus Needs Help is reduced to an Anglo Christ whose sermon to an Anglo crowd is interrupted by a parade of brown apes.

Germain’s portrayal of Heaven faces a similar challenge. Intended as a celebration of free speech, punk rockers entertain crowds in one area of Heaven, while violent movies and banned cartoons are screened in another. And it works until the reader sees a drawing of a slant-eyed Asian in a sedge hat removing a victim’s brain presented in the context of protected speech as being equal to a staging of Oh Calcutta [sic] or a gangsta rapper dropping a culturally divisive and defining N-bomb on stage with no consideration for the difference between hate speech and free speech.

Germain attempts to use shock value as a way to raise awareness about the dangers of censorship in a society claiming to value freedom of speech. But his use of outdated and painful stereotypes obscures the noble cause for which he stands.


Joseph Thompson

Most people, upon reading such a review, would be screaming bloody murder right now (or "bloody redrum" if they were in a hotel in Colorado). "AW! He don't like my book. He must be one of them-thar jerks or something. Where's that vice of mine I use as a replacement for my mother's nipple? WAAAH!!"
But, I'd like to think I'm better than that. And besides, there's no two ways around it, that is a well written review. Joseph Thompson has obviously done himself some book learnin'. There is absolutely no need to assassinate his character. However, that doesn't at all mean that his review was perfect. There are more than a few things that he got wrong. That is what I am responding to with this blog post.

I'll start with the one really big thing that bothered me about his review. He made the egregious assumption that all of the monkeys looked like black people (no I'm not going to call them "African Americans" here because they live in other countries besides America don't you know). Ok, so then I guess he thinks that Tom Cruise is a black man.


If he is, then he's doing the greatest, most consistent white-faced minstrel show
I've ever seen (which, as a white man, deeply offends me >;P ). Or perhaps he thinks all the nazis were black. That must have been why they were all so pleased with Jesse Owens' athletic performance at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Or, perhaps looking at the American Monkey makes him think that all Americans are black even though they are considered a 'minority'. Ok, I think I've made my point with all that sarcasm. The truth is, all of my monkeys are exactly that: monkeys. Just monkeys wearing costumes, that's all. The Horrible Mother Monkey is NOT even close to an homage to Mammy Two Shoes. Case in point, here is the previous comic I did with these monkeys in-which they go after Tom & Jerry themselves. You can see Mammy and the Horrible Mother within the same comic to make your comparison. Or, better yet, here's a good shot of Mammy from the cartoon Saturday Evening Puss, the only time her face is revealed.



You're welcome. (Confidentially, my mom actually thinks that the monkey is based on her, even though I've never seen her wear a muumuu).

There was also something else about his objection to the monkeys that not so much angered me but more-so just struck me as odd. He seemed to find offence only with the more left leaning monkeys. Notice that in that review he singled out the feminist and black panther, not to mention the Not Muhammed Monkey whom most of your modern-day political correctness police would object to for making any kind of a statement about the actions of some people in another culture no matter how crazy or destructive they are. He didn't seem to mind my depictions of the more conservative right wings monkeys like the victorian, the american, or the preacher.
Maybe he thought those depictions were "spot on". Clearly, Mr. Joseph Thompson made the mistake of approaching this book with his own political bias. That is a big mistake to make with this book. The monkeys are designed to make fun of the extreme Ann Coulters and the James Carvilles of the world. If you are one of those two people, or a fan of one of those two people (or anyone like them), you will not enjoy this book of mine. You will consider me a "Kool-aid drinking
stooge for the other side" and then get angry. Chris Rock said it best during a stand up routine of his, "anyone who uses only one political ideology for every issue is a fool." There's no doubt that both Coulter, Carville, and most other out-spoken pundits like them fall under the category of those types of fools. However, it is my sincere hope that Joseph Thompson is not one of them. Hopefully he can rise above that type of petty bickering in his own life. I just wish he would have revealed that more in his review.

Oh, one more petty little thing he got wrong. That wasn't punk rock being played in Heaven, that was heavy metal. Though I wouldn't object to a punk rock concert upon entering the pearly gates, it was indeed heavy metal I was going for, more specifically the type of metal that had parents like Tipper Gore all concerned back in the 1980's. Like this.

But, in all fairness, like I said, Joseph did basically write a solid review of my book overall. Even though he disagreed with some of the philosophy within the content, not once did he assassinate my character. Heck, he even built me up higher than I think I am even. That is a glimmer of evidence that he is capable of rising above the petty partisan bickering I mentioned before.
I'm not at all bothered by Joseph Thompson's 1 star review. You can't please everybody. I'm secure in the knowledge that most of the people who have read my book have liked it. The people I really object to are the ones who quickly glance at the cover, assume it's some kind of a Jehovah's Witness pamphlet and then walk away. They are people with closed minds who are truly missing out. I certainly can't force anyone to buy or read my book. All I can do is urge everyone to look passed the cover. Read at least 5 pages in before you decide what type of book it is.
Or, for contrast, here's a more positive review of my book written by one of Todd Rutherford's staff. Don't just go by Thompson's opinion. Read both reviews, then read the book and make up your own mind. That's all I can ask of anyone with regards to my book. If you can't find my book in any stores, then you can definitely order a copy from Amazon.

Or maybe I'm being a bit too hasty. Maybe I can persuade Mr. Thompson into liking the book after all. Come, Joseph. Come over to my side. Come join the small intimate party of those who enjoy my book. It's okay. You'll enjoy yourself. Come. Come.

"Come play with us, Joseph. Forever..."

DUN DUNNNN!!!

"...and ever..."


DUN DUNNN!!!


"...and ever."




DUN DUNNNNNNN!!!

"Tony, my big wheel bike is soaked with urine right now."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

hey


5.0 out of 5 stars If you censor one, you must censor all.
In Jesus Needs Help, cartoonist and animator David Germain pursues the theme of censorship versus God's gift of free will. The comic is an entertaining fusion of humor and the deeper meaning
that lies just beneath the surface. Centering around a group of censorship monkeys, the cosmic ramifications of Jesus Needs Help are clear: there will be many "monkeys" who take offence at something until the concept of free will gradually erodes. In other words, God's free will is like beautiful artwork and what makes us different; therefore, "Let God's Free Will Sound From Every Mountain, Every Valley, Every Sea, and Every Field."

Jesus Needs Help is about freedom of expression. As Jesus Christ is ready to recite the Beatitudes, or the Sermon on the Mount--from the Gospel of Matthew--he is bombarded by a group of monkeys whose combined goal seems to be the destruction of self-expression. The Victorian Era Monkey is the first to confront Jesus, demanding to see the Beatitudes stating, "We don't want to needlessly upset anyone by violating traditional values." The monkeys range from Psychologist Monkey, who thinks Jesus is advocating mass clinical depression, to the Horrible Mother Monkey, who concerns herself with matters not pertaining to her--and manages to always lose her children--the Preacher Monkey, American Monkey, Black Panther Monkey, the Feminist Monkey, the Scientologist Monkey, Not Muhammad Monkey and the Nazi Monkey.

In a nutshell, we live in a world of extensive free will and freedom of expression. Each of these monkeys seeks to create a more uniform and conformed world. The monkeys attempt to implement adherence to everything, from scientology to the Nazi Monkey, who uses force and "Nazi-like Tactics To Enforce Their Wishes Onto Any and All Speech or Art."

Jesus Needs Help features Jesus surrounded by these eccentric monkeys, until God realizes that even his Son does not deserve this. Ultimately, Jesus is able to recite the Beatitudes as part of His Sermon on the Mount, while the monkeys' punishment is to be jailed in heaven. This is bad news for them because "there is no censorship in heaven."

David Germain's Jesus Needs Help is engaging, meaningful, and a page-turner that readers can devour within a half hour. It's a must read, highly recommended.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut



June 30, 2009 marks the 10th anniversary of this movie. Of course, fans of South Park (of which I am one) find it hilarious. Some enjoy the movie simply because they enjoy the show, therefore this movie was an easy sell to them. Others enjoyed the story and many of the jokes on their own merits which is great. Sadly though, many of these people were too engrossed in the jokes to really pay attention to what the movie was trying to say. Even sadder still, many non-fans didn't see it even though most of them really should have seen it for their own good. The movie's message was clearly aimed at them. This movie deserves much more attention than it's gotten over the past decade.


The film's story starts when the 4 main characters, Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflofski (with his little brother Ike tagging along), Eric Cartman, and Kenny McKorrmick manage to get in to see an R-rated film called Asses of Fire starring their favourite cartoon characters Terrance and Phillip. The relentless foul language in that movie inspires the young kids to swear just like them. Although little Ike mispronounces "donkey-raping shit eater" as "dopey baby shee deeder". The kids then do all this swearing at school which gets the teachers and the parents
involved immediately. Kyle's mother Sheila is so upset by this that she is ready to form a committee to get rid of foul language forever. She doesn't just merely want to ban Terrance and Phillip, she decides to get to the "source" and ban everything from their home and native land: Canada. This eventually leads to WWIII and in-turn causes a pussy-whipped Satan and his abuser Sadam Hussein to rise up from Hell and conquer the Earth. Of course, the ironic twist at the end is that Cartman's excessive swearing combined with the electrically charged V-chip inside his brain end up saving the day which then leads to Satan reversing the damage that was caused by Sheila Broflofski's committee.


I personally enjoy this movie mostly because it hits the nail on the head as far as modern-day censorship goes. Kudos aplenty are due to Matt Stone, Trey Parker, and especially to the subversively creative mind of Pam Brady. (I'm certain South Park would be nowhere without her). All types of Soccer Moms, Thought Police, and any other Paranoid Prudes have come up with all sorts of bullshit excuses for censorship. They make all sorts of ridiculous claims that all this racy content inspires real world destruction. While poking around the internet one day, I found this little crackpot blurb as to why Apu from The Simpsons is such a "dangerous character":

If a gunman holds up a 7-
Eleven store and sees a South Asian man behind the counter,
and thinks of him as “just an Apu” instead of an actual human being
with friends and family and hopes and dreams and feelings, it makes it that much easier to pull the trigger, doesn’t it?

Um............... yeah. Well, you see, GUN MEN WILL SHOOT ANYBODY BEHIND THE COUNTER OF A CONVENIENCE STORE BECAUSE THEY'RE HOMICIDAL MANIACS!!! Has there ever been a report of a robbery where the gun man said "hey, there's Apu behind the counter, let's kill him". The Sheila Broflofski's of the world only offer paranoid hypotheses backed up with 0 proof knowing damn well that other paranoid soccer moms will fall for it. That's why this movie and the real-life Sheila's inspired me to create something I hope further puts these people in their places: Censor Monkeys!! (That's a link to the Facebook group).

The movie even demonstrates that even though the racy movie did introduce swear words to the boys, it was indeed NOT the movie alone. One of the lyrics in the opening song says "...off to the movies we shall go where we learn everything that we know, because the movies tell us what our parents don't have time to say." Neglectful parents lead more directly to bad behaviour than even 1000 Porky's sequels combined. That point is hammered home much more succinctly when Kyle's mom Sheila starts her committee and sends her and all the parents to Washington in order to persuade them to take action against Canada, leaving all the kids at home unsupervised. Later, in the middle of WWIII, Kyle makes a heart-felt plea to "deal with me" when it comes to profanity. In other words, don't force the media to do your parenting job.

Sadly (or should I say "depressingly"), not enough people got that message. Roger Ebert and some of the other movie critics of the time who did like seemed to have gotten the message. One even brilliantly stated, "this movie will offend people that need to be offended once in a while". I love how he indicates that offensiveness is a societal need rather than just a guilty-pleasure type of want. And really, he's right. A good offensive show (be it a movie, tv show, song, etc.) keeps one on their toes and helps them to not be too comfortable in their one little sanitized world. That's what good artwork is for. It stirs emotions and makes you think. However, it seems that less people understand that these days. Around the time this South Park movie came out, the FCC received about 111 calls from people complaining about content. That's the "extreme" number the movie was trying to make look ridiculous. After good ol' Mr. "Dubya" is elected president, by 2004, the FCC was bombarded by over 1,000,000 calls. I'm sure most of those had to do with Janet Jackson's Superbowl performance. But even since then
there's been crazy people in the Middle East going crazy over Muhammad cartoons, crazy militant black people and equally crazed and militant white-guilt whitey going crazy over two print cartoons within a span of a few months, the New Yorker cover last August and the New York Post last February. The most recent as of this posting is from the ultimate Soccer Mom Sarah Palin coming down on David Letterman. Yeesh!! I think this movie needs to be revisited again. How did so many people miss such an obvious point?

Actually, I think I might know that answer. The racy content of South Park itself is both its strength and its weakness. The content pretty much guarantees the show an R-rating or sometimes even an NC-17 rating, therefore the writing staff have really achieved carte-blanche it terms of what they can do. There's no such thing as "too far" for South Park. They can do anything they want without too much of a struggle. That's the kind of environment most artists and/or writers hope to achieve. (Of course, Woody Allen managed to accomplish this WITHOUT much profanity but that's another post). However, it's that very same as-racy-as-possible content that causes people to not pay as close attention to it. Like I said, no matter how far they go, fans just shrug it off and say "that's South Park for you". Non-fans (most of them real-life Sheila Broflofskis) just can't get passed the swearing and any other blood violent
or explicitly sexual content. Therefore, any message contained within any text or subtext of any episode falls mostly on deaf ears. I personally can indeed withstand any and all swearing that South Park can dish out. Hell, as a good Canadian boy, I watched as much Kids in the Hall as I could long before South Park raised its poorly animated head. I suggest that more people should do the same.

So, to commemorate this movie's "Aluminum Anniversary", I suggest gathering as many of your friends as you can to watch it (rent it if you have to). But don't just invite the people who enjoyed it. Make sure people who missed the point about censorship see it and give them the education they never had. Hey, maybe even schedule one of those outdoor theatre screenings of the movie. That way, every passerby will be exposed to it. Just make sure that the movie's message reaches the public at large. And, if any Broflofskis or any other Censor Monkey types do come around screaming bloody murder about the movie's content (or the content of pretty much anything), just sing the following lyrics in their collective faces as loud as you can:

Shut your fucking face, uncle fucka.
You're a cock-sucking, ass-licking, uncle fucka.
You're an uncle fucka. Yess it's true.
Nobody fucks uncles quite like you.

Shut YOUR fucking face, uncle fucka.
You're the one that fucked your uncle, uncle fucka.
You don't eat or sleep or mow the lawn
you just fuck your uncle all day long.

(Fart solo)

Shut your fucking face, uncle fucka.
You're a boner biting bastard, uncle fucka.
You're an uncle fucka I must say.
You fucked your uncle yesterday.
Uncle Fucka, that's U-N-C-L-E FUCK YOU!!
UNCLE FUCKAAAAAAAAAA!!!

suck my balls

If you need help with the music, here's the full song:


Happy 10th birthday, South Park movie. I hope you do eventually change the world for the better, because goddammit we need it now more than ever.