Friday, December 3, 2010

Portrayal of Current Events on South Park

When I was younger, I was never interested in watching South Park, but as I got older I started watching the show more and more not only because it was funny but because of the way Trey Parker and Matt Stone addressed current events on the show. One of my all-time favorite episodes is Elementary School Musical (Season 12, Episode 13) because of the way it parodied the portrayal of high school in Disney's High School Musical franchise. Mostly recently, South Park has dedicated three episodes of its current season to mocking BP's response to the Gulf Oil Crisis. This clip relates back to our readings this week because without seeing the actual BP president's apology video, the parodied one is insignificant. As Ted says,
"they can call attention to and critique visual and auditory signifiers of power like the suits, impersonal terminology, 'breaking news,' and 'expert opinion' tropes of contemporary U.S. journalism, while also exposing those institutions for the biased and conservative forces they are. However, responsive tactics are also limited by that same methodology. Although they can certainly “speak truth to power,” to borrow Foucault’s terms, they cannot reinvent the structures of power themselves. In other words, they react rather than recreate." Although South Park has successfully altered its viewers as to how they feel about the apologies, they can only make fun of the apologies and not change the outcome of the events.

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