South Park on Freedom – Wisecrack Quick Take (Season 23)


What’s up Wisecrack? Jared here. Today I come to you as a red-blooded ‘Merican
to talk to you about America’s 2nd biggest export behind diabetes: freedom “America f**k
yeah” The current season of South Park has so-far
covered immigrant detention camps, big weed, Chinese censorship, and now anti-vaxxers. “We can’t even risk a .1% chance of vaccinations
making our children artistic” It seems Matt Stone and Trey Parker are reflecting on the
complexities of life, liberty, and the pursuit of ‘tegridy. So welcome to this Wisecrack quicktake on
Freedom n’ Tegridy in South Park Season 23. And spoilers ahead for the first three episodes Alright guys, let’s do a
recap of the season thus far. Last season, Randy, incensed by a picture
of a dog’s butthole, fled South Park with his family to escape all the commotion and
stress of city life and become a simple weed farmer full of ‘tegridy. In the first episode of this season, Tegridy
Farmsis losing customers after people start growing their own weed. So Randy does what any reasonable person would
do and tries to bully the government into banning the practice. That doesn’t work, so he decides to become
a terrorist and off the competition while Kyle and Cartman rot in a detention camp. In the 2nd episode, Randy tries to expand
his business to China along with Disney and the NBA. Selling weed gets him in trouble, until he
manages to woo the Chinese government by assassinating Winnie the Pooh. Having given up even more of his ‘tegridy,
he makes a killing selling to the new Chinese market. Finally, in the latest episode, Randy gloats
about his China-fueled riches, while his family bemoans the farm life and Randy’s increasingly
broken moral compass. Meanwhile, Cartman refuses to get vaccinated
by running around like a singular feral hog. The two big questions that South Park is struggling
with seem to be: 1) How do we navigate one person’s freedom interfering with another’s? And 2) What does it mean to be free in an
increasingly globalized, commodified world? Let’s start with the first one. Randy’s continued residence at tegridy farms
speaks to the question of freedom: embedded into most peoples fantasy of moving away from
civilization to do some honest work is the idea that in our current lives we are not
free. We are burdened by PTA meetings, home owners
associations, and soul-crushing work. The show has centered itself on ‘tegridy
farms so thoroughly that it’s even replaced the traditional South Park intro. But as it turns out, moving to a farm isn’t
quite a magic bullet for living freely. Behind many of the issues of the latest season
is a basic political problem. As political theorists, economists, and anyone
who has been around someone eating Durian can attest to: sometimes, someone else’s
freedom infringes on your freedom. If, for instance, one has a right to do with
their private property as they choose, then my desire to build a 100-foot statue of Keanue
Reeves that blocks your garden from the sun might inhibit your right to enjoy home-grown
peppers or whatever. Governments everywhere grapple with this basic
dilemma as they pass zoning laws, regulate businesses and make sure their citizens don’t
kill each other. This question gets especially interesting
with a free market, something this season is keenly interested in. The idea of a free market, as the name suggests,
is its free. Everyone is trying to get rich while everyone
else competes with them. What could go wrong? Well, this: “This is inumane, Diego is my
gardener.” In the first episode, Randy takes up some
good ol’ fashioned monopolistic behavior and tries to ban people from growing their
own weed. This is a common tactic in the world: established
companies and industries try to reduce new competition by making the barrier to entry
higher. Less competition means you have a little more
leeway in charging what you want. So, for instance, if you’re a dentist, you
don’t just want any asshole scraping people’s teeth, because they could undercut your prices. So you make a dental association and lobby
the government to make teeth-scraping a hard business to get into, with educational requirements
and expensive licenses. Now, these barriers can be a double-edged
sword. Technically it limits competition, but then
again, do you really want some unlicensed rando named Dr. Krentist drilling holes in
your mouth? The point is: markets uniquely encourage people
to do things that limit other people’s freedoms because, money. This is all reflected in Stan’s bizarre
speech against home-grown weed, as he tries to win support through public safety concerns,
“Unscrupulous growers could use cheap irrigation and drown babies, oh come on.” Of course, this petty debate about weed- growing
freedom is juxtaposed with the much bigger problem of freedom for kids in detention centers. This idea of conflicting freedoms comes back
in the 2nd episode, “Band in China – where free acts by private corporations intersect
with a not-so free government. The episode criticizes the likes of Disney
and the NBA for willing to bend backwards to appease the Chinese government. As Randy thinks he’s the first to realize
China is an untapped market, he boards a flight full of Disney characters and NBA players. For context, Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey
tweeted in support of the Hong Kong protests, which is a problem for the NBA because they’ve
been investing millions of dollars into growing their Chinese fanbase. Rockets games were swiftly removed from Chinese
media and feeling the money slowly drain from the bank account, the NBA officially apologized
to China. And Disney, along with other filmmakers, are
under constant pressure to make their films palatable to a massive chinese audience and
not run afoul of the Chinese government. Sometimes this means a rewrite or even editing
a whole new version. Notably, in the Chinese version of Iron Man
3, Tony Stark seeks medical care in China in a scene that doesn’t exist in the US
version. Also in the episode, Stan struggles to maintain
his integrity as a producer, and even a Chinese general, pressure him into making a biopic
that will appeal to Chinese audiences. It’s likely a reference to the chinese version
of Bohemian Rhapsody which cut out any reference to homosexuality, which is kind of important.. So sure, you have a government clearly infringing
the rights and freedoms of its citizens. But what about the US? This question is interesting because, technically,
nobody is forcing Disney or the NBA to do anything. They, as a free actor on the global market,
choose to work with China. But in this basic act, is Chinese censorship
trickling down to American citizens? What if a private citizen tweets support for
the Hong Kong protests and is then reprimanded by his corporate overlords? Blizzard, a US company, banned a non-American
player from a tournament for voicing his support of the Hong Kong protests. We could say these US companies areacting
in their own free self interests, but they are also heavily incentivized to quash any
kind of behavior not in line with the Chinese government. So what do we make of freedom then? It’s a problem South Park might also uniquely
understand considering its own history. While not governments, plenty of American
interest groups, usually representing family values or something, have boycotted the show. The logic is the same: if you’d like to
make money off of our community, you have to appease our community. Not that South Park ever tried to go straight
Blizzard and get an Evangelical audience. In fact, their solution seems to be what they’ve
always done, to take responsibility – but we’ll get to that later. Last Wednesday’s episode also tackles a
central issue surrounding conflicting freedoms: the right of anti-vaxxers to be dumb, and
the right of anyone else to not get polio. Cartman, afraid of shots, conjures up a series
of dumb talking points to not get vaccinated. “I told this school, I said look you guys,
I happen to have religious, moral or philisophical convictions.” Meanwhile, everyone else in the town is worried
about the danger he and other unvaccinated kids pose to the community. Making choices about our health is a cornerstone
of American rhetoric about freedom. If I want to eat cheeseburgers everyday and
get the ‘beetus when I’m 35, well god dammit, that’s my right as anAmerican. It’s similar rhetorically to the feminist
slogan “my body, my choice,” which not-so-subtly adorns Cartman’ shirt. Of course, the argument goes, my future case
of the beetus isn’t hurting anyone but myself, and maybe my friends and family. But vaccines are different, because vaccines
stop the spread of communicable diseases. You might say, “well just get the vaccine
and don’t worry about me,” but vaccines aren’t 100% effective, they work through
herd immunity “everyone has to follow protocolo r it puts everyone at risk.” and then there’s
people who are too young, sick, or allergic to be vaccinated who are put at risk when
too many people opt out of vaccinations. So if, for me, freedom is walking around free
from fear of dying from a preventable disease, those opposed to getting vaccinated are going
to really fuck up my day. So what are we supposed to do when we want
to live free with integrity, but have to deal with conflicting pressures? Whether about making money or yielding to
government control? Based on the resolution of the most recent
episode, it seems Matt and Trey want us to do something that South Park constantly preaches:
take personal responsibility. Cartman’s mom first tries to defer to others
to get her son vaccinated, eventually leading to a all-community vaccine roundup where Cartman
will be lasso-ed, hogtied, and vaccinated. She opts, instead, to take the needle for
her son and get him vaccinated on her own terms, to take responsibility as a mother. Similarly, Randy’s schmoozing with China
allegedly ends after he makes amends with Towlie and emphatically says “fuck the chinese
goverment.” This is in line with traditional South Park
thinking. In the movie, Bigger Longer and Uncut, the
parents initially blame everyone from the media to the Canadian government for the bad
behavior their children exhibit after watching the Terrence and Philip movie. But it’s ultimately the responsibility of
the parents to make sure their kids don’t suck, not TV. It could be implied then that South Park doesn’t
want government intervention for China or vaccines, but would prefer companies and people
to simply do “the right thing” of their own accord. This is the show telling people like Blizzard,
or the NBA, etc to step up and take responsibility. A point made exceedingly clear in their psuedo-apology
to china where they sarcastically opened their hearts to Chinese censors because “we too
love money more than freedom and democracy.” There’s still so much of the season left,
and so much potential for these ideas to develop. There’s even a whole meta-textual thing
going on with Randy constantly conflating ‘tegridy farms with the show itself that doesn’t
quite make sense yet. But you can be sure we’ll be watching the
rest of the reason with a close eye. Thanks everyone for watching and listening
to our South Park podcast. Don’t forget to subscribe and be sure to
visit Upstart.com/wisecrack. Thanks for watching guys, peace. [a]https://www.indiewire.com/2019/03/china-bohemian-rhapsody-cuts-gay-scenes-1202053796/




Comments
  1. "I'm gonna take personal responsibility to improve myself"

    America: Woooo!

    "I'm gonna take personal responsibility to improve society"

    America: REEEEEEEEEEE

  2. Aight, I guess I need to explain the government of China.

    So, the People's Republic of China does have a President (the former translation was Chairman) but for the most part that guy has no real power. Or at least, he used to not, more on that later. Instead the 'Premier' (also known as Prime Minister) is usually considered the actual 'top dog'. However unlike the US, the premier has no military power. Instead they run the civil bureaucracy. Because the Chinese love bureaucracy more than the US loves being the hero of stories they were barely a part of, this is considered a very, very prestigious position.

    But the real guys in charge are the National People's Congress. An assembly of almost three thousand individuals, the NPC is the largest parliamentary body in the world, and yes, every single on of those 'congressmen' were elected for their five-year turns. It just so happens that they were elected by another branch of government, instead of the people (so no China is not a democracy, though there is cause to call it a really uptight republic). And how are they the one's in charge? Simple, they elect everybody else. (see the problem?)

    Anyway, there are eight 'branches' of government, each one holding sway over a specific 'thing' but the NPC, the president, and the premier (head of the State Council) are the important bits, since ultimate power lies with them.

    Now for the story behind why the President was a ceremonial position for about forty years before suddenly coming back with a vengeance.

    Many many years ago, there was a man. His name was Mao Zedong, and while he created modern China out of a war-torn hellscape with nothing but communist steel and force of personality, he also did some very, very, very bad things that no one, not even the PRC liked. And so, to prevent another one of those from happening, the 'president' slot was stripped of it's powers, which were then distributed among the other branches. (note that there are several other reasons for this, I'm just listing one of them)

    And then Xi Jinping came along.

    See it turns out, that in the PRC you can hold multiple offices at once. It was therefore, standard practice for some member of some other branch (most often the General Secretary) to just kinda 'have' the title of President. But then Xi Jinping comes along and starts taking over lots of other positions, forming groups with him at the head, etc and just generally consolidating his power. This is considered a 'Very Bad Thing' by most people that aren't mainland Chinese citizens, because no one wants a return to the Dong days, and the dude has a hard on for censorship.

    You see, Xi Jinping is China's version of a 'good old boy'. He is exceedingly 'moral' in the sense that he refuses to compromise his values. This is a very seductive trait in politicians to 'the people' because it paints a very stark contrast with the 'corrupt establishment' that almost every people ever has seen their government to be. And yet, Xi Jinping firmly believes that the people have no right to question the authority or methods of the people. He's got the spirit, but woe be unto anyone that isn't a member of the CPC or doesn't agree with the CPC's ideals.

    And finally we come to my actual point.

    Wind the clock back like thirty years to the days of Tiananmen Square, and we can see just how much China has changed, and for the better too. Back then, the PRC was already loosening it's iron-grip on the people, the tragedy was that because of the chaos in the government at the time (oddly enough, caused by the deprecation of the Presidency along with a few other things) the people protested…

    And then absolutely nothing happened.

    But today, the PRC is trying something new. Namely, they are not running over people in the streets with tanks, and are actually acknowledging the existence of the protests. Lots of people I've talked to have told me something along the lines of 'they can't deny it this time because it's on tv' but Tianament Square was on tv too (for a while anyway) and let's not forget those pictures, so yeah the PRC could very well just kill everyone and deny it ever happened no problem.

    Some have also told me that they can't interefere in Hong Kong's internal politics, but let me ask you this. Why the hell would the 'freedom-hatin communists' give a shit about that? I mean, do you honestly think the United States would stop them? They didn't the first time, they wouldn't this time either. IN fact, the PRC has invaded things it cared about less over less, so let's not pretend here.

    No two ways about it, the PRC is currently on the upswing, except for Xi Jinping. The problem is that the more hostile the world is towards China, the more power Xi Jinping can coax from the system. You see, cults-of-personality run off the idea that the whole world is out to get the people, except for the guy in charge. The more true you make that, the more it looks like Jinping is the only choice.

    Oh and plus, the Chinese have this whole 'thing' about respect that they created over the last several thousand years. Called 'face'. It's a pretty unhealthy system, but it's the one in place.

    So, if you really want to stop Chinese Censorship? Stop making fun of China.

    Don't think I'm on 'their' side though. I'm simply explaining a few things. I just want to be able to say 'I told you so' when they end up killing their own citizens. Again

  3. This was a great explanation, much appreciated on the effort and clarity. Just a couple things I wanted to clarify as well. Anti-vaccination isn't "people being dumb" (not everyone's reasons are the same), when private vaccine courts have given out over 4 billion dollars in vaccine damages – this is only the amount known to the public – this is a private court made to prevent class-action lawsuits against corporations; at a minimum, this should be brought into question on a mainstream scale, yet no one seems to care except for those who are injured. Also, the CDC was caught falsifying their study data and related algorithms to produce MUCH lower injury percentages. Though anecdotal, 2 of my family members had their 2/3year olds vaccinated, different sides of the family and both of them lost normal functionality in 24 hours, they are now about 20 years old and never returned to normal brain function.

    Now, eating tons of meat and dying early or getting "diabetes" isn't simply "my right to hurt myself" anymore. In 2019 we collectively understand that it's destroying the planet, more than cars/planes/factories combined; as irrefutably or inconclusively stated by the world's best scientists and repeated by activists alike. In other words, this has become and always has been an infringement on people's freedoms. Even the government-subsidized meat/dairy etc. to make it appear cheaper when it's costing us billions. —

    It goes without saying that destroying the planet is NOT your right to do so, much like dumping toxic chemicals into a river or forcing chemicals into another person's body when there are legitimate concerns.

  4. Fucking Americans and their obsession with he illusion of freedom! The second societies formed we traded in parts of our freedom for the many benefits that living in a community offers. We have to dress, we have to lower our voices, we have to pay taxes, etc… IF you truly want to be free, move to a island that you own and isolate yourself, but if you are to live as part of a group, collective, community, society, civilization, extra, then you have to abide by its rules. This simple idea seems to only be lost on Americans, nowhere else in the world (as far as I know) is this so hard to grasp, that's why you get gun nuts, anti vaxers, flat earthers, etc… mostly in America! You're not free, you were never free, and it's ok, get over it!

  5. 0:16 ironic how you talk about America's freedom and at the same time censor a swear. Not sure if intended or not but its funny.

  6. If you cause someone to get sick or die bc of anti-vax, then just call it murder or attempted murder and call it a day~

  7. So China is just like the US where if you have a different opinion about LGBTQ you will get fired from most corporations. What's the difference?

  8. I was already annoyed with Blizzard and Activision for all the greedy bull shit they pull with loot boxes and other predatory microtransactions. Blitzchung was the last straw and I proudly deleted my Blizzard account. They want to choose Chinese money over their supposed values and human rights then they can burn.

  9. Anyone who panders to another group, in order to make more money or put themselves into a powerful political positions, is a shitbag who should not be trusted.

  10. I haven't been vaccinated in 20 years I didn't get sick I'm not dead what happens if I don't get vaccinated you put everybody else at risk that don't make sense if they got vaccinated what's the risk.

  11. 9:01-as an adult 18+ you can do anything you want! But if you want to live in a society with other people you must abide by some stupid rules, like shots, going to skool, working, juvenile detention, driving laws, drinking laws and so on….
    If not, go live in a jungle in the middle of nowhere

  12. 9:06-your body your choice, but thats 50% of my kid in you and if you get an abortion i will have you arrested for murder of my unborn child!!!
    You dont have the sole right to kill my baby!

  13. Matter of fact, large population having diabetes inflict huge social cost in health care and workforce loss and more. That’s why Singapore gov is fighting diabetes as a major threat to its nation.

  14. If you're vaccinated why the hell are you worried about unvaccinated people?
    You're vaccinated yourselves idiots.
    Also we learn in school about Herd Immunity.
    Not everybody needs to be vaccinated, only about 70% needs to be.
    This season is about Freedom.
    At the end Cartman isn't vaccinated.
    Also the Israelies have sterilized Ethiopian immigrants using vaccines.
    There is a middle ground and if you sit on either side without seeing the bigger picture your a f*cling idiot.

  15. Hey Wisecrack what about re-watching the SP episode "Margaritaville" before advertising subprime loans? Thought you were smart.

  16. Who knew that teeth scraping took 7+ years of university education, multiple certification exams, and certification?

  17. I don't get how "taking personal responsibility" works for vaccines. Antivax moms are all about their responsibility to their kids, but they are idiots and stating that they take responsibility doesn't stop disease transmission.

  18. I was kinda hoping you'd dig in deep on the philosophies intersecting morals and commerce. Blizzard penalized the player for using their event as a political soapbox (which is against the game rules.)

    I'd agree with sports like the NBA and Blizzard's Hearthstone keeping their nose out of politics and keeping the game the game. When participants use the game as their own personal soapbox; everyone loses.

    I might disagree with the Chinese President. That doesn't mean I'm against the Chinese people, Hearthstone, or basketball, but it's stunts like these and public moralizing that ruins these opportunities to find common ground.

  19. Um it super simple in checked corporations want all the money. Every single conceivable cent. There not fine with some of the money. Or even a shit load of money. Must have ALL THE MONEY with out any regard to consequences or tomorrow. Until pop. It hurts then the economy is fucked. Because there is an upper limit. And investor cant have non growth.

  20. I watched the episodes and I think I laughed once. Has South Park lost it?
    And … a 2 minute ad to start your video? Come on, you suck.

  21. Like allwais sothpark is so fucking interlligent and funny, while beeing not just sarkastik, i feel really dumb. I am from Germany and dont like Trump at all, but I think it is good that he started questioning our relationship with China. Volkswaagen sells every third car to China an my university has a cooperation with a Chinese university. While the Chinese ban Films, Artist etc. to support there current system, we are afraid to even stand up to our ideels ourselfs. The Chinese hacked kapitalism, and now beeting us with our own wappon. All bing companys have special websites etc. just for china. The cinese google maps has different borders and so on. The chinese understood that companys allwais have to maximise their reveniew. They hackted the system, because their communist regime and state owend companys, can make deels, that are not making profit but trying to maximise the soft power of china.

  22. Informed consent is rhetoric???
    Herd immunity via vaccines is pseudo-science.Measles and polio were on the decline BEFORE vaccines were administered. 100% fact from the CDC.

  23. I think Chinese sensor's took over Fornite for 2 days, creating the black hole. Thank goodness its back online in the USA

  24. As if we don't have sensorship in America.

    Try being a public figure such as a news reporter, entertainer or a public employee and say the words on social media. I support Palestinian rights. I support the DBS movement.

    You will see what will happen to you.

    In 26 states you could be fired for just that or even fined as a public employee. They will make you sign in your work contract.

    No boycotts of Israel.

  25. Upstart did not consider anything else besides credit. I have education and good job, but my credit is moderate (not even low). I got flat out denied for a loan (tried to refi my car loan, <5000$).

  26. credit scores are a thing because they work. People who don't care about them, and just give you money, dont expect you to pay them back. They expect to sue you and get access to your account trough legal action.

  27. My body is my property. Forced vaccinations are a claim on my body. Which is by definition slavery and morally wrong. Period. Your weak immune system is a result of your fucked up lifestyle.

  28. +5:30 "Markets uniquely encourage people to limit other people's freedoms b/c … money."

    There's a massive hole in your logic, Alec & Jared. A government that creates special exemptions and permit systems allows this avenue of limiting others freedoms. When no one makes a sufficient stink about government picking winners and losers, this seed of protectionism and moral hazard encourages more lobbying, more corporate consolidation and more collusion between business and government. Notice who's left out of this equation? Customer feedback.

  29. I'm glad someone is willing to take the time to explain (most) of the humor and satire in these most recent SP episodes. Someone's gotta stand up for liberty, and if it's some satire cartoonists, than so be it.

  30. Just goes to show that indie films, music, games, etc. are the best because the creators aren’t necessarily doing it for the money, they do it because it’s their passion. And it reflects why so many large entertainment companies are losing their western audiences because they’re mainly making soulless crap. Almost all the good stuff comes from either independent studios or studios that give the middle finger to their publishers

  31. Isn’t Blizzard partially owned by Chinese company Netease? Also Tencent has been investing in a bunch of companies. This isn’t going away anytime soon.

  32. he voice on blizzard platform witch they don't like it would besame if a football player in a after game interview starts talking about politics. blizzard as a neutral company don't want that in there tournament'. blizzard don't care what he say's on his own platform

  33. https://news.yahoo.com/murder-suspect-case-behind-hong-035107964.html soo protecting a pregant girlfriend murderer and protests to help him if ok whit you its all abaut not face crimes comited by honkongers in oder parts of china // BY the way also protecs human traficers and all oders criminals

  34. I might be alone here, but I would LOVE to see Wisecrack do a philosophy episode about Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. There is a lot of great material to unpack there, with songs like "Nothing Is Ever Anyone's Fault" and "I'm The Villain In My Own Story" and "I'm a Good Person" etc. Love your videos!

  35. The irony being that quarantine is best to stop communicable diseases…like say tuberculosis…which many illegal immigrants have. So…vaccinate?

  36. Fuck the Chinese Government! Fuck Huawei that's run by the CCP! Don't let them into your country or you will be controlled and censored! As for the Chinese people we love you!

  37. Back when Ace Ventura 2 was still in theaters I happened to see it in the US and in Taiwan. The whole scene where the monks were partying because Ace was leaving the monastery? That was all cut out, because Buddhism account for about 70-80% of religious practices in Taiwan. I would still much rather live in Taiwan than China though.

  38. China has the economic potential of 4 USAs. In future they might simply 'buy out' western culture and replace it with a pidgin version of their own, (which mightn't be so bad considering).

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