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Obama Crawl / November 21, 2008

How do you cope with defeat when your whole creed is “You can’t argue with success”? In the wake of Obama’s victory, American conservatives have some of the best minds to come out of Regent University working on this problem. Little wires are sparking in those Yugo-primate crania, tiny tendrils of smoke are pouring from their hairy ears.

In our new feature, Obama Crawl, The eXiled will introduce you to some of America’s Funniest Lame Rationalizations, featuring yesterday’s apex predators squeaking like confused Scandinavian lemmings as they try to bluff, lie, flirt and betray their way to survival.

Crawler #1: South Park
We start the series with one of the weirdest and most disgusting displays of all: South Park’s woefully unfunny election episode, “About Last Night” was one of the most painful attempts to crawl to Obama–one of the worst because frankly we expected better. Sure, the South Park guys are jerks, they’re talented jerks (at least Trey Parker is; it’s never been clear what Matt Stone brings to the mix). That sets them apart forever from scum like Seth McFarlane, the Chrysler Corp. of American animation.

But when it was clear Obama had won, the original South Park Republicans puked up a “conciliatory” episode designed to tread water until they could see whether it would be safe to start sneering again.

This sort of cowardice by people who already have more money than they’ll ever need, and could shake their fists at the world with impunity, is one of the most shameful and consistent spectacles of American life. No matter how big the stars get, they still grovel to any new victor like chorus girls eagerly falling onto the casting couch.

This wasn’t just a cowardly episode, it was godawful, probably the worst in South Park’s twelve very uneven years. The central conceit is dull and obvious: South Park is split into two feuding factions, infatuated Obama fans and paranoid McCain supporters. The Obama fans get high on victory and make asses of themselves; the McCain fans flee to a cave. You can see that we’re heading for the oldest and sleaziest of sentimental clichés: reconciliation, with the town’s innocent children as the agents of peace. Notably, Eric Cartman, the greatest of the show’s characters, is totally absent from this episode. You can generally judge the worth of any SP episode by its Cartman content: the more Eric, the better; the less, the worse. Instead of Eric, we get the nice kiddies, who suddenly act all innocent, puzzled by the adults’ crazy reactions—when the whole beauty of South Park is the vicious precocity of the kids’ endless, treacherous negotiations with each other and the dully earnest adult world.

There’s little egghead needing medical help and he can’t get it because the hospital’s full of Obama fans with hangovers and McCainiacs who tried to kill themselves. When a South Park episode depends on the bathos of an injured toddler to propel the plot, you know you’re dealing with creative collapse.

But it gets worse. Since this main plot is too simple, and too flat-out stupid, to sustain 22 minutes of animation, Parker and Stone come up with their worst subplot ever, a completely lame Ocean’s Thirteen parody: Obama and McCain are just cool jewel thieves after all, using the election to steal a big diamond. There’s no resonance to this plot whatsoever, by design; instead, it’s pure disconnect, like an induced coma for a patient who can’t face the pain. The plot goes absolutely nowhere, and the episode ends with the most sickening of all South Park homilies (and there have been some awful ones over the years), as the chastened Republicans emerge from their cave to find the sun still shining, and coquettishly mumble, “Maybe Obama can change some things.”

Parker and Stone usually try to one-up the standard rightwing talking points, not so much from any decency but from sheer snobbery. Not this time. Their time-wasting jewel heist exactly parallels the reaction of the upper echelons of the right: freeze, say nothing incriminating, look for angles, try to make a deal. The suckers, the deadenders in the cave, can fuck themselves; these guys are players, and they have to follow the logic of that grim, stark premise of all American thought: winners win, and losers put on their knee pads.

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31 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. Stephen Kostachuck  |  November 21st, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    But when it was clear Obama had one? c’mon!

  • 2. aleke  |  November 21st, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    I thought the very same thing when I watched this reactionary trash.

  • 3. paul  |  November 21st, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    When was it clear that Obama had one what?

  • 4. shMiller  |  November 21st, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    “But when it was clear Obama had won, the original South Park Republicans puked up a “conciliatory” episode designed to tread water until they could see whether it would be safe to start sneering again.”

    Pitch perfect assesment …

  • 5. shMiller  |  November 21st, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    *assessment* …

    It was weird watching the spectacle of South Park coolly fence sitting — almost somber like. Cowardice is right; they don’t want to start their collective sneering until there is a nice and safe, smug, space carved out for it in advance.

    Cartman is the show’s truest character. He best embodies the savage nihilism of suburban American life, which is what the show is mostly about. He’s a very “ironic” villain, because no character better embodies Matt and Tray’s sort of libertarian by default “winner” philosophy.

  • 6. Baked Dr. Luny  |  November 21st, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    I was amazed at how quickly they made it. Maybe it sucks because they had to come up with it in one day.

  • 7. erik  |  November 22nd, 2008 at 2:02 am

    i think there’s more truth in this than you think

    McCain and Obama highfiveing behind closed doors is a telling moment. If you edit out the ridiculus diamond theft part you get a good statement of the truth of american politics. Left and right highups screaming at eachother on the airwaves and laughing together at the electorate when nobodys watching.

  • 8. Yul Brynner  |  November 22nd, 2008 at 3:12 am

    The episode was crap. Starts out good with saying Obama and McCain work together and are thus the same, but it chickens out.

    That said this is a shit piece too. What the hell? Try a little harder not to come out as an Obama groupie whinning about “right-wingers” smarter than yourself.

    Have a happy Hillary.

  • 9. Tim  |  November 22nd, 2008 at 7:28 am

    they had so m uch material to draw upon in the runup – Palin, Ayers, all the typical GOP runup nastyness.

    Instead, these guys who have previously gratuiously poked fun at such topics as Stem Cell research and the right to die, went with the safe option, ironically, too scared that they might alienate a portion of their audience.

    Lame

  • 10. Jed  |  November 22nd, 2008 at 7:33 am

    South Park has annoyed me for a long time for precisely this reason. It embodies a lot of aspects of the American character which I find completely repulsive. Back in the early days it okay because the show was mostly heartless vulgarity, and the keep the soapbox speech to a minimum. It was genuinely funny then, but as time went on it got more political and the politics more repulsive…to the point where I could no longer enjoy the show.

    This piece was dead on.

  • 11. Andrew  |  November 22nd, 2008 at 10:10 am

    Relax. Just because a usually great show is average one time isn’t an all out Internet emergency.

  • 12. Kavuye Toon  |  November 22nd, 2008 at 10:31 am

    South Park has been bootsrappy bullshit by two rich guys for way too long

  • 13. Tam  |  November 22nd, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Haven’t seen the episode but it sounds reminiscent of the ‘Putin Crawl’ and ass-kissing under a veneer of irony in old exile articles like this one.

    http://www.exile.ru/articles/detail.php?ARTICLE_ID=8424&IBLOCK_ID=35

    (although admittedly not written by John Dolan himself)

  • 14. Patrick  |  November 22nd, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    I’m with Yul on this one. Well, at least in terms not liking this pro-Obama business. This is actually very well written, but unfortunately John Dolan seems to be using his abundance of talent for evil instead of good. Anyone as popular and pompous as Obama and his supporters should make great targets, but instead I keep reading about how amazing he is. Its like I’m reading a funnier version of The Nation sometimes. Which is nice I guess, but we’ve come to expect so much more!

  • 15. xjlm  |  November 22nd, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    South Park has always been bullshit. I can’t see where anyone thinks something has changed. A cartoon, for christ’s sake. Who really cares?

  • 16. dirk  |  November 22nd, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    Southpark has always shown a certain ‘pussyfootedness’ around extremely emotional world events. Their Afghanistan episode concluded in a similar AMERICA FUCK YEA vein which they normally ridicule themselves.

  • 17. Morgan  |  November 23rd, 2008 at 12:24 am

    “How do you cope with defeat when your whole creed is ‘You can’t argue with success’?” I don’t care what the rest of the article says. This is a new American aphorism worthy of Twain! OK, it could be five words shorter, but I love eXiled anyway!

  • 18. thomzas  |  November 23rd, 2008 at 9:15 am

    Randolph Severn Parker III (Trey), is he definitely a republican?

  • 19. aleke  |  November 23rd, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Haha I didn’t realize there were so many social-conservatives/fans of south park reading the Exile.

  • 20. shMiller  |  November 23rd, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Parker is a self proclaimed “libertarian”. He claims to not be a Republican.

  • 21. Lupo  |  November 23rd, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    You know, the funny thing about South Park is how much it infuriates puerile leftie ding dongs who embody Chimpy McHitler’s, “you’re either with us or against us.” I don’t think South Park is particularly liberal or conservative; if it makes fun of liberal shibboleths (such as president elect Mandingo Jesus) more often, it’s only because leftists are such humorless twits about their sacred cows. Dolan: you sound like the Church Lady. If Parker and Stone are rich, it’s because humorless dweebs like you exist to mock.

    That said, I agree with Yul; this episode lamed out after the first few minutes.

  • 22. Jed  |  November 23rd, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    Sometimes when i watch South Park I think we are getting exactly what we deserve in Iraq and Afghanistan. That maybe after enough corpses this stupid American arrogance will subside…a day when “pussies, assholes, and dicks” won’t seem like a good foreign policy maxim. That’s wishful thinking though, because all these years later and they still haven’t let up.

    More than that, there’s this duality in the South Park narrative that pisses me off because so many people miss it. They claim “not to support either side” and “make fun of everyone,” but there’s always a clear moral or point overtly stated at the end of most episodes. They pretend they aren’t pundits, but take on that role all the time.

  • 23. Tony  |  November 23rd, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    >McCain and Obama highfiveing behind closed doors is a telling moment. If you edit out the ridiculus diamond theft part you get a good statement of the truth of american politics. Left and right highups screaming at eachother on the airwaves and laughing together at the electorate when nobodys watching.

    I haven’t seen the episode so I can’t really comment on its content, but from the post I think I can still see the significance of the diamond heist subplot. It’s quite simple, really, and I’m surprised nobody has mentioned it yet: They’re the same; they’re theives; they’re in it for the riches and the notoriety, not for the people or integrity or any of that crap.

  • 24. grin  |  November 25th, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    Look, I don’t think that Barack Obama and John McCain are really that different. I mean, Obama just appointed Larry Fucking Summers (called by the NY Times “the intellectually fierce economist”) as his chair of the National Economic Council.

    Arguments between Republicans and Democrats? When you get through all the red herrings they remind me of the committee meeting scene in the Original Star Wars movie. You have Grand Moff Tarkin (Republican) and cowardly, nameless lickspittle (Democrat) discussing the Emperor’s plan to eliminate the Senate. The lickspittle figures the Galactic Senate keeps the local systems in line because it looks good even if it just a rubber stamp. Tarkin believes that with the Death Star, it is unnecessary, because fear alone will keep the local systems in line.

    Now, it was probably executed lamely, but McCain and Obama high fiving each other? Not so far fetched.

    Oh, and I hope he (Obama) proves me wrong, but… Larry Fucking Summers? I should’ve voted for Cynthia McKinney.

  • 25. John Smith  |  November 26th, 2008 at 2:11 am

    The linked article, “2006: The Year Russia Schooled The West,” is a powerful reminder of how the exile once rained condemnation on both filthy Russia and the despicable West, and was damn funny, too. I laughed out loud at the “including their own stolen bicycles” line. I’d forgotten that one.

    I do think Obama’s the best federal-level politician for the US since at least Bill Clinton and maybe much longer, and I think South Park is despicably ruled by the fatuous, nihilist, libertarian, Cartman-esque impulse not to learn, not to think, and not to revolt against those who deserve it, and always has been.

    However, this carping at South Park just isn’t that funny, and now that the election’s over, Obama needs harder criticism than the exile is delivering. Look at how last spring he gave a great, moving speech about how he could no more cut loose his anti-white pastor than his anti-black grandmother, then less than a week later as the pressure rose, denounced Wright after all. Or how last summer he voted yes on amnesty for the telecoms that eagerly helped Bush illegally wiretap us all. He’s a mercenary, ambitious lawyer and politician, not a saint. The rich and powerful, including Obama, are down here in the desperate, miserable mud with the rest of us, and pointing that out is why journalists are here on Earth.

    The “Mandingo Jesus” line, for example. That’s a funny cheap shot. You guys need more of those.

  • 26. Chunky Style  |  November 26th, 2008 at 4:39 am

    “I don’t think South Park is particularly liberal or conservative; if it makes fun of liberal shibboleths (such as president elect Mandingo Jesus) more often, it’s only because leftists are such humorless twits about their sacred cows.”

    Remember how there was once this American president who wouldn’t even bother to read hand-delivered memos about terrorist strikes, and then later went on to attack the wrong country at a cost of more American lives than the original terrorist strikes? And yet Parker and Stone reserve their harshest criticism for … Al Gore.

    You would have to be some sort of god damn idiot to think they are even-handed about their targets. Mind you, they’re well within their rights to say whatever they want; but if it is their decision to be partisan hacks, then it’s only fair to call them on it.

    Granted, Parker claims to be a “libertarian”, but like most “libertarians”, he is basically a rank-and-file Republican who is vaguely aware that it takes a monumental amount of stupidity to be a rank-and-file Republican. So he figures that, if he calls himself a “libertarian” instead, that places him a step above the idiot crowd he is marching in lockstep with.

  • 27. Linoleum Blownapart  |  November 26th, 2008 at 7:34 am

    Dolan is a leftist?

    Hahahahahahahahahahaha.

    The problem with Parker and Stone is that they’re responding to the idiocy they see on a daily basis: Hollywood liberalism. If you consider them from that narrow viewpoint, they appear to be outsiders; much in the way that McCain is a maverick by Washington media standards. But if you don’t have your head up your ass, you can see that they’re basically run-of-the-mill, politically speaking, and often aim at the wrong targets.

  • 28. Tony  |  November 26th, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    >Remember how there was once this American president who wouldn’t even bother to read hand-delivered memos about terrorist strikes, and then later went on to attack the wrong country at a cost of more American lives than the original terrorist strikes? And yet Parker and Stone reserve their harshest criticism for … Al Gore.

    You remember that they released a movie called Team America: World Police, right?

  • 29. Raad  |  November 27th, 2008 at 5:33 am

    @28
    The conclusion of the movie, and in the resulting short-interview with the BBC, one of those dudes is qouted as saying “It’s like cops are jerks and at the end of the day, you need cops” to justify the US policing the world.
    I’ll find a linky if you want one.

  • 30. Tim  |  December 14th, 2008 at 8:22 am

    Why is Seth McFarlane the Chrysler Corp. of American animation? I’m not a fan. I’m not defending him. I just don’t get it.

  • 31. bud  |  April 8th, 2011 at 12:45 am

    “these guys are players, and they have to follow the logic of that grim, stark premise of all American thought: winners win, and losers put on their knee pads.”

    I think you just expressed something that I always seemed to experience when I watched South Park. I would watch it because the obnoxious humor was entertaining, but I did it at the expense of feeling like I had to sit through some kind of a preaching session. More entertaining than other things on tv at the moment, but with the cost of having to listen to some kind of propaganda.


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