Thursday, March 25, 2010

South Park takes on book banning

Tonight's episode of South Park trod on literary territory! I think the only other time they've done that was when they skewered the A Million Little Pieces Oprah fiasco (which was great--Towelie and A Million Little Fibers!). So in this episode, after speed reading Catcher in the Rye because of its mystique as a banned book, the boys are disappointed and immediately pen their own story which they make as offensive as they can dream up. Cartman's reaction to Catcher in the Rye: "It's not obscene, dude. I'll show them [expletive] obscene!"

The boys' "book" ends up getting discovered and although people are utterly repulsed by it, they praise it as a great contribution to literature (i.e., worthy of the Pulitzer Prize) and read all sorts of interpretations into it that, of course, the boys had no intention of conveying. South Park's creators love making fun of pretension throughout our culture!

Of course, many of us are bewildered with the continued banning of books from school and public libraries. This South Park episode helps highlight the absurdity of book banning--how dated and hopelessly subjective it is. The boys inevitably get fed up. Books, they conclude, invite their own meaning: "That's why we should forget books and stick to television!"


  1. Shout out from The New Yorker's book blog, Book Bench!

  2. The 11 most surprising banned books:

  3. LOL, the Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? book... that's so weird they banned it because of the author's name! It's an innocent children's book.