With its usual satire and sarcasm, the South Park comedy cartoon recently took on the issue of censorship. The episode, titled The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs and originally aired on March 24th, is crudely hysterical, and definitely not for the sensitive viewer.
The episode starts with a perspective on censorship in real world. A school teacher assigns the usual gang of South Park characters to read J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye, explaining that it is banned in many schools because of its vulgar and dangerous content. This encourages the students, usually reluctant readers, who look forward to something stimulating. They rush home to read the banned book, but become sorely disappointed when they are unable to find anything in it that shocks them in the least.
Feeling cheated, Cartman declares, “it’s not obscene, dude; I’ll show them f***ing obscene!” The boys then set out to write the most vulgar and offensive book of all time. They entertain themselves by coming up with a story that is beyond disgusting and is utterly devoid of any serious content. When one student’s mother accidentally discovers the book, she vomits on reading the first paragraph. In fact no adult can get through the first page without puking, and the book is declared a literary hit.
I won’t spoil the twists or ending of the plot. Suffice it to say that the episode challenges readers to take personal responsibility for the meanings and importance they give to literature.
The episode can be viewed online at: http://www.southparkstudios.com/episodes/267108.