Season 17 Episode 1 of South Park is all the Surveillance State. The episode is titled “Let Go, Let Gov.” Satire has the potential to bring to light important issues. It also has the ability to trivialize important issues. The full episode can be found at www.SouthParkStudios.com
It should come as no shock that the creators and writers of South Park have devoted an episode to trivializing the importance of the NSA and the public surveillance that was exposed by Edward Snowden. After all, these are the same people who stated that anyone who does not believe the official narrative of 911 is a retard.
First and foremost, I want to state that I do not believe the writers are part of any conspiracy. I believe they are in the same boat as many, if not most in the West: they live comfortable lives that would be shattered by reality. They would no longer be able to continue as they had before. This is something they are simply unwilling to do, so they tell themselves whatever they need to in order to continue on as if nothing were amiss. It may not even be conscious.
It is quite the statement to place the show’s main antagonist, Eric Cartman, as the only person who actually cares about the NSA and its spying. If the goal of this episode was to bring to light the importance of the NSA and its spying program Prism, I believe the show’s main protagonists Kyle and Stan would have been a natural choice.
The episode begins with Cartman using his cell phone on speaker, allowing everybody around him to hear the conversation. Of course this is the first time Cartman mentions that the NSA is spying on basically everybody. This continues into the next scene, as Cartman compares the NSA spying to 1984 while stating he has not read it. Apparently, if you actually care about the NSA spying, you haven’t read 1984 and you openly share private conversations in public.
This concept of being against the NSA spying, while openly sharing everything about your life continues for multiple scenes. It isn’t even funny, at all. As if this concept describes those who actually care about the NSA spying. I don’t know about you, but this concept in no way, shape, or form describes me.
Cartman states: “Just so you know, the government is watching everything you do. Always watching. They say it’s to keep us safe, but what price is safety.” This leads us to the episodes sub plot. Butters takes these words to heart. Butters begins to view the government as a Christian might view God. Throughout the course of the episode, Butters creates a church inside the DMV where people confess their sins, and are forgiven by DMV employees. This sub plot is actually pretty funny at times, but is still anti Catholic propaganda.
In the main plot, Cartman decides to infiltrate the NSA. Of course, his plans are readily available to anybody in ear shot as his phone is on speaker. If you care about the NSA spying, does this describe you? As a caricature, is it even close?
The next scene shows Alec Baldwin talking about a new device “that can actually take the thoughts in your head, and send them directly to the internet.” Chip implants anyone?
In the next scene, we see that Cartman has received the implant. The only person in the episode who cares about the NSA decides to get an implant that puts all of his thoughts on the internet. Are you kidding me? Cartman then manages to infiltrate the NSA.
We see Cartman in the NSA Headquarters getting a tour from a chief at the facility. In the background, hundreds of NSA employees are siphoning through everyone’s internet and phone activity. Two employees bring up completely mundane activity to the chief’s attention before another employee brings up a tweet by a pizza delivery driver stating that he “hates America and wants to blow up the Lincoln Memorial.” As far as the show’s writers are concerned, mundane information and potential terrorist threats are all the NSA is looking at. Nothing in between. This is not even close to reality, considering the fact that the current administration has used the FDA and IRS to target businesses and individuals based on their political affiliation.
Cartman then goes with the chief to pursue the pizza guy who made the tweet. The following sequence occurs:
Hippie pizza guy: “Say, what right does the government have reading my private e-mails anyway?! Haven’t you squares heard of the Constitution?”
The chief’s response: “Yeah, we’ve heard of that. We’ve also heard of the Declaration of Independence. See, there’s a lot of people out there who think like you, people who think their government doesn’t have the right to go around poking their noses in the e-mails of its citizens. That is, until a plane flies into a couple of towers and a little girl loses her life. You wanna live in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, but the brave can’t be free if the land isn’t home, and that land won’t be home so long as folks out there wanna take that American flag and shove it so far up your anus that you crap stars and stripes for a week, and as you’re sittin’ there on the toilet with the Star-Spangled Montezuma’s Revenge there’s one thing I can guarantee you.”
Hippie: “Yeah? What’s that?”
Chief: “You won’t care who’s checkin’ your Twitter account then.”
Hippie: “… I never thought of it that way.”
Did you find the chief’s speech compelling? I’m sure it was meant to be. The reality is, terrorism is not a threat. You are 8 times more likely to be shot by law enforcement than you are to be the victim of a terrorist attack.
You are significantly more likely to die in a car accident than you are to die in a terrorist attack. Does this stop you from driving, or riding in a vehicle?
You are more likely to drown in your bathtub than you are to die in a terrorist attack. Do you fear taking a bath?
Terrorism is a joke. If it wasn’t, the US Government would be much more concerned about arming those affiliated with Al Qaeda (ie: the Al Nusra Front in Syria). It would also be much more concerned with arming countries linked to Al Qaeda, such as Saudi Arabia.
Later in the episode, there are a couple of scenes that mention Edward Snowden’s escape to Russia. Cartman cries to his mother because nobody else cares about the NSA spying. As far as the writers of South Park are concerned, if you care about the NSA spying, you are a crybaby. Again, these writers are nothing more than willful idiots believing what they want to believe.
With Edward Snowden’s revelations, South Park had the opportunity to bring to light the serious issue of governments spying on their citizens under the false guise of terrorism. Instead, they decided to minimize both the spying itself, and anyone who cares about the spying. The reality is, anybody who fears terrorism to the point they are willing to accept massive surviellance should probably never leave the house as virtually anything you do on a day to day basis is much more likely to kill you. Fear of terrorism is beyond irrational.