When describing the hit cartoon 'South Park,' words like 'irreverent' and 'obscene' come to mind. But conservative? Thanks to cable news, talk radio and blogs, this cheeky type of humor now spills into cable television.
At least, that’s what Brian Anderson, editor at “Manhattan Institute City Journal,” has to say in his new book,
Many conservatives might be shocked to consider 'South Park' a conservative show. Yet, nothing on television seems to go after the left the way 'South Park' does — a rarity in mainstream media.
What is a 'South Park Conservative'?
If you’re imagining a “Cartman” look-a-like squeezed into a button-down suit, guess again. While the term has loosely floated around, South Park Conservatives author describes one as someone non-traditionalist and somewhat disillusioned with the left. To him, they look at “political correctness, the anti-Americanism, the elitism, and says that’ not me — I want nothing to do with that.”
Anderson found evidence of this cultural swing and this new kind of comedy — represented most powerfully by “South Park” itself —rampant on college campuses.
“It’s Comedy Central’s most successful program. And its demographic cuts pretty young,” says Anderson.
A study by Harvard’s Institute of Politics discovered students were actually lean to the right of the general population in most views, suggesting what goes on in the classroom, might just stay in the classroom.
Not equal opportunity offenders
In the history of humor, particularly within last 30 years, jokes primarliy aimed at conservatives.
“You think of Norman Lear and ‘All in the Family,’ ‘Maude,’ ‘Will & Grace’ and even ‘Whoopi.’ Here, topic humor always leans to the left,” says Anderson. “The 'South Park' guys saw an opportunity and cable made it possible. This is the kind of show that would have never, never been broadcast on network television.”
In all its subversive glory, they go after Barbra Streisand and many other celebrities. And in their latest movie, 'Team America,' every liberal in Hollywood gets assassinated.
But hold your fire. Liberal thinkers aren’t the only targets. On occasion, they do go after the right. Mel Gibson took a few blows.
Then again, in one South Park episode people tearing down rain forests in South America are heroes.
Make no mistake “They’re not equal-opportunity offenders, however. If you really look at episode after episode, they go after multiculturalism, radical environmentalism, hate-crime legislation, even abortion rights,” says Anderson.
“And when was the last time you saw anything in popular culture satirize something like that?”