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Hot off the heels of
the holiday season Christmas, religious groups have set their sights on a new demon to be exorcised from the airwaves: religious satire. Comedy Central recently yanked the season finale episode of South Park — “Bloody Mary” — because it offended some conservative Catholic groups. The plot summary from Boing Boing:
In this season finale episode, which first aired on December 7, a local statue of the Virgin Mary bleeds from its ass. Townsfolk think it’s a miracle.
Emperor PalpatinePope Benedict XVI visits to inspect the statue in person, determines that it is instead bleeding from its vagina, and declares: “A chick bleeding out her vagina is no miracle. Chicks bleed out their vaginas all the time.”
Libertarian WatchBlog writer Rhinehold caught the irony of the reverse persecution and wrote a scathing critique of the hypocrisy now on display by the religious activists:
Here we have a group of people that spent a few weeks being hysterical that someone might not want to say the phrases Happy Christmas or Christmas Tree and instead use the words Happy Holidays and Holiday Tree, who now go out of their way to force a television show that uses over the top satirical portrayals of current culture to make us laugh and possibly shine a light onto some of our societal ills off of the air. Not only do they want the episode to never be shown on television any more, they are calling for the episode to be left off of any future DVD sales.
Should we begin the countdown for Bill O’Reilly to come to the defense of South Park because (pardon the modified quote) “it’s all part of the [conservative] agenda … to get [free speech and dissenting views] out of the public square?” I wouldn’t hold my breath.
If your sensibilities aren’t easily bruised, you can download the South Park episode.
Update: Boing2 has another update letting us know the head of the Catholic League is gloating (and Xeni liked the headline so much, she used it herself… thanks!):
The episode in question featured a statue of the Virgin Mary spraying blood from her vagina. It was one of the most vile TV shows ever to appear, and that is why I asked Joseph Califano, a practicing Catholic and member of Viacom’s board of directors (Viacom is the parent company of Comedy Central) to issue a public condemnation of the “Bloody Mary” episode; I also asked that he do whatever he could to pull any scheduled reruns of the episode.
“On December 9, the day Califano received our request, he released a statement condemning the episode. He also said that any further decisions would have to be made by Tom Freston, president and chief executive of the New Viacom. For the past few weeks, we have been in touch with Freston’s office awaiting his decision. Yesterday, we received a phone call from Tony Fox, executive vice president for corporate communications at Comedy Central, informing us that there were no plans to rerun ‘Bloody Mary.'”
“Already, we are being deluged with hate mail that is as obscene as it is viciously anti-Catholic. All because we exercised our First Amendment right to request that Comedy Central not offend Catholics again! But we’re used to such things and will not be deterred.”
I for one am overjoyed all the publicity this censored episode is getting. Start placing your bets now on how soon Matt and Trey start writing a rebuttal episode that will piss off the Catholic League a hundred times worse.
Another Update: Comedy Central does read feedback from viewers, so if you disagree with the show being pulled (or perhaps think this was a good idea and like others to act as a nanny for you) then drop them a line.
Yet Another Update: Here’s the letter I sent to Comedy Central. Be sure to be polite, since name-calling is obviously just stirring the fire for the sake of it:
I would like to register my approval of the content that Trey and Matt produce. While I may not always find their humor to be funny, I do think their message of personal responsibility rings especially true with the regard to the self-censorship displayed by CC thanks to the outrage of the easily offended Catholic League.
Should you decide to pull shows simply because it may offend one group or another who lack the discipline to change the channel when they don’t agree with something being shown, I would gladly change my viewing habits to a more free-speech friendly comedy station or let my disgust be known with your advertisers.
Thank you for your time,
Publisher, Hammer of Truth