Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Danish cartoons and South Park

Thank God for South Park and our freedom to cartoon ...

Here is the famous short animation that started it all, "The Spirit of Christmas". It proved so popular on the internet that "South Park" was born. At this time of cartoonist consternation, let us give thanks and remember that in "The Spirit of Christmas" Trey Parker and Matt Stone artfully have Cartman call Jesus a pig-fucker, and it's funny.

The cartoon lampoons religious war. At the mall, Jesus confronts Santa for his blasphemy. Santa retorts, "This time we finish it. There can be only one." Little Stan laments, "Dude, this pretty fucked up right here". As Jesus and Santa do battle, one kid (Wendy?) is tossed from Santa's lap. Worse yet, Kenny is decapitated, and six other children become collateral damage. Stan finally interjects, "Wait, wait, just a second, we've got to think here. Now let's see. What would Brian Boitano do?" Finally, after Brian's sermon on the skates, Santa and Jesus realize what they're doing. In his apology to Santa, Jesus says "I've been a right bastard." Ouch.

In America, we declare the right to free cartooning for all humanity, and Parker and Stone exercise it. Not only do we get to see Jesus and Santa wrestle it out, we also get to portray, belittle, compare, and criticize our religious icons. Who's the real idolator? Now don't shirk the question.

In the hands of artists, we might get a glimpse of the true spirit of religion. With uncritical orthodoxy, only a cartoon version of religion remains.

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