South Park on Freedom – Wisecrack Quick Take (Season 23)


What’s up Wisecrack? Jared here. Today I come to you as a red-blooded ‘Merican
to talk to you about America’s 2nd biggest export behind diabetes: freedom “America f**k
yeah” The current season of South Park has so-far
covered immigrant detention camps, big weed, Chinese censorship, and now anti-vaxxers. “We can’t even risk a .1% chance of vaccinations
making our children artistic” It seems Matt Stone and Trey Parker are reflecting on the
complexities of life, liberty, and the pursuit of ‘tegridy. So welcome to this Wisecrack quicktake on
Freedom n’ Tegridy in South Park Season 23. And spoilers ahead for the first three episodes Alright guys, let’s do a
recap of the season thus far. Last season, Randy, incensed by a picture
of a dog’s butthole, fled South Park with his family to escape all the commotion and
stress of city life and become a simple weed farmer full of ‘tegridy. In the first episode of this season, Tegridy
Farmsis losing customers after people start growing their own weed. So Randy does what any reasonable person would
do and tries to bully the government into banning the practice. That doesn’t work, so he decides to become
a terrorist and off the competition while Kyle and Cartman rot in a detention camp. In the 2nd episode, Randy tries to expand
his business to China along with Disney and the NBA. Selling weed gets him in trouble, until he
manages to woo the Chinese government by assassinating Winnie the Pooh. Having given up even more of his ‘tegridy,
he makes a killing selling to the new Chinese market. Finally, in the latest episode, Randy gloats
about his China-fueled riches, while his family bemoans the farm life and Randy’s increasingly
broken moral compass. Meanwhile, Cartman refuses to get vaccinated
by running around like a singular feral hog. The two big questions that South Park is struggling
with seem to be: 1) How do we navigate one person’s freedom interfering with another’s? And 2) What does it mean to be free in an
increasingly globalized, commodified world? Let’s start with the first one. Randy’s continued residence at tegridy farms
speaks to the question of freedom: embedded into most peoples fantasy of moving away from
civilization to do some honest work is the idea that in our current lives we are not
free. We are burdened by PTA meetings, home owners
associations, and soul-crushing work. The show has centered itself on ‘tegridy
farms so thoroughly that it’s even replaced the traditional South Park intro. But as it turns out, moving to a farm isn’t
quite a magic bullet for living freely. Behind many of the issues of the latest season
is a basic political problem. As political theorists, economists, and anyone
who has been around someone eating Durian can attest to: sometimes, someone else’s
freedom infringes on your freedom. If, for instance, one has a right to do with
their private property as they choose, then my desire to build a 100-foot statue of Keanue
Reeves that blocks your garden from the sun might inhibit your right to enjoy home-grown
peppers or whatever. Governments everywhere grapple with this basic
dilemma as they pass zoning laws, regulate businesses and make sure their citizens don’t
kill each other. This question gets especially interesting
with a free market, something this season is keenly interested in. The idea of a free market, as the name suggests,
is its free. Everyone is trying to get rich while everyone
else competes with them. What could go wrong? Well, this: “This is inumane, Diego is my
gardener.” In the first episode, Randy takes up some
good ol’ fashioned monopolistic behavior and tries to ban people from growing their
own weed. This is a common tactic in the world: established
companies and industries try to reduce new competition by making the barrier to entry
higher. Less competition means you have a little more
leeway in charging what you want. So, for instance, if you’re a dentist, you
don’t just want any asshole scraping people’s teeth, because they could undercut your prices. So you make a dental association and lobby
the government to make teeth-scraping a hard business to get into, with educational requirements
and expensive licenses. Now, these barriers can be a double-edged
sword. Technically it limits competition, but then
again, do you really want some unlicensed rando named Dr. Krentist drilling holes in
your mouth? The point is: markets uniquely encourage people
to do things that limit other people’s freedoms because, money. This is all reflected in Stan’s bizarre
speech against home-grown weed, as he tries to win support through public safety concerns,
“Unscrupulous growers could use cheap irrigation and drown babies, oh come on.” Of course, this petty debate about weed- growing
freedom is juxtaposed with the much bigger problem of freedom for kids in detention centers. This idea of conflicting freedoms comes back
in the 2nd episode, “Band in China – where free acts by private corporations intersect
with a not-so free government. The episode criticizes the likes of Disney
and the NBA for willing to bend backwards to appease the Chinese government. As Randy thinks he’s the first to realize
China is an untapped market, he boards a flight full of Disney characters and NBA players. For context, Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey
tweeted in support of the Hong Kong protests, which is a problem for the NBA because they’ve
been investing millions of dollars into growing their Chinese fanbase. Rockets games were swiftly removed from Chinese
media and feeling the money slowly drain from the bank account, the NBA officially apologized
to China. And Disney, along with other filmmakers, are
under constant pressure to make their films palatable to a massive chinese audience and
not run afoul of the Chinese government. Sometimes this means a rewrite or even editing
a whole new version. Notably, in the Chinese version of Iron Man
3, Tony Stark seeks medical care in China in a scene that doesn’t exist in the US
version. Also in the episode, Stan struggles to maintain
his integrity as a producer, and even a Chinese general, pressure him into making a biopic
that will appeal to Chinese audiences. It’s likely a reference to the chinese version
of Bohemian Rhapsody which cut out any reference to homosexuality, which is kind of important.. So sure, you have a government clearly infringing
the rights and freedoms of its citizens. But what about the US? This question is interesting because, technically,
nobody is forcing Disney or the NBA to do anything. They, as a free actor on the global market,
choose to work with China. But in this basic act, is Chinese censorship
trickling down to American citizens? What if a private citizen tweets support for
the Hong Kong protests and is then reprimanded by his corporate overlords? Blizzard, a US company, banned a non-American
player from a tournament for voicing his support of the Hong Kong protests. We could say these US companies areacting
in their own free self interests, but they are also heavily incentivized to quash any
kind of behavior not in line with the Chinese government. So what do we make of freedom then? It’s a problem South Park might also uniquely
understand considering its own history. While not governments, plenty of American
interest groups, usually representing family values or something, have boycotted the show. The logic is the same: if you’d like to
make money off of our community, you have to appease our community. Not that South Park ever tried to go straight
Blizzard and get an Evangelical audience. In fact, their solution seems to be what they’ve
always done, to take responsibility – but we’ll get to that later. Last Wednesday’s episode also tackles a
central issue surrounding conflicting freedoms: the right of anti-vaxxers to be dumb, and
the right of anyone else to not get polio. Cartman, afraid of shots, conjures up a series
of dumb talking points to not get vaccinated. “I told this school, I said look you guys,
I happen to have religious, moral or philisophical convictions.” Meanwhile, everyone else in the town is worried
about the danger he and other unvaccinated kids pose to the community. Making choices about our health is a cornerstone
of American rhetoric about freedom. If I want to eat cheeseburgers everyday and
get the ‘beetus when I’m 35, well god dammit, that’s my right as anAmerican. It’s similar rhetorically to the feminist
slogan “my body, my choice,” which not-so-subtly adorns Cartman’ shirt. Of course, the argument goes, my future case
of the beetus isn’t hurting anyone but myself, and maybe my friends and family. But vaccines are different, because vaccines
stop the spread of communicable diseases. You might say, “well just get the vaccine
and don’t worry about me,” but vaccines aren’t 100% effective, they work through
herd immunity “everyone has to follow protocolo r it puts everyone at risk.” and then there’s
people who are too young, sick, or allergic to be vaccinated who are put at risk when
too many people opt out of vaccinations. So if, for me, freedom is walking around free
from fear of dying from a preventable disease, those opposed to getting vaccinated are going
to really fuck up my day. So what are we supposed to do when we want
to live free with integrity, but have to deal with conflicting pressures? Whether about making money or yielding to
government control? Based on the resolution of the most recent
episode, it seems Matt and Trey want us to do something that South Park constantly preaches:
take personal responsibility. Cartman’s mom first tries to defer to others
to get her son vaccinated, eventually leading to a all-community vaccine roundup where Cartman
will be lasso-ed, hogtied, and vaccinated. She opts, instead, to take the needle for
her son and get him vaccinated on her own terms, to take responsibility as a mother. Similarly, Randy’s schmoozing with China
allegedly ends after he makes amends with Towlie and emphatically says “fuck the chinese
goverment.” This is in line with traditional South Park
thinking. In the movie, Bigger Longer and Uncut, the
parents initially blame everyone from the media to the Canadian government for the bad
behavior their children exhibit after watching the Terrence and Philip movie. But it’s ultimately the responsibility of
the parents to make sure their kids don’t suck, not TV. It could be implied then that South Park doesn’t
want government intervention for China or vaccines, but would prefer companies and people
to simply do “the right thing” of their own accord. This is the show telling people like Blizzard,
or the NBA, etc to step up and take responsibility. A point made exceedingly clear in their psuedo-apology
to china where they sarcastically opened their hearts to Chinese censors because “we too
love money more than freedom and democracy.” There’s still so much of the season left,
and so much potential for these ideas to develop. There’s even a whole meta-textual thing
going on with Randy constantly conflating ‘tegridy farms with the show itself that doesn’t
quite make sense yet. But you can be sure we’ll be watching the
rest of the reason with a close eye. Thanks everyone for watching and listening
to our South Park podcast. Don’t forget to subscribe and be sure to
visit Upstart.com/wisecrack. Thanks for watching guys, peace. [a]https://www.indiewire.com/2019/03/china-bohemian-rhapsody-cuts-gay-scenes-1202053796/

100 thoughts on “South Park on Freedom – Wisecrack Quick Take (Season 23)

  • "would you really want someone named doctor Prentis scraping your teeth?"
    Oh that one hurt, I feel called out so hard rn

  • Capitalism has been an ally to democracy, but if democracy decides it doesn't want it anymore, capitalism will happily destroy it.

  • About 3-5% of YT videos are too quiet to hear easily without using headphones.

    This is one of them.

    Two of the others to whom I listen had the same problem.

    I notified them.

    One of them immediately took it to heart, and with the very next posting, I could turn the volume down to 50%. She thanked me, I thanked her. It is easy to turn the sound down, but when you're at 100%…

    The other one just left me a one-word response; "Bye". It was no effort at all to unsubscribe.

    Please pick up the gain when recording. Your content is very interesting, but with everything at 100%, it is too much like work to listen. Thanks for reading this.

  • Yo, Wisecrack, please get the person who edits your videos to check the sound levels' consistency between takes. The volume got notably lower towards the end of the video. Not bitching, just asking. Thanks.

  • It's a free market, free to throw away your tegridy. Who am I kidding? Most businesses never had any tegridy to begin with.

  • You guys really need to stop sucking South Parks dick they're making you look like idiots.

    South Park hasn't had a deep thought since 2009 and its sad that you keep reporting on their latest shits like their some sort of ultimate philosophical truth.

  • i think our #1 export is definitely death..we drop TONS of bombs on the middle east,and use drones,if you live in that part of the world you know the fear the name Lockheed Martin…just sayin..

  • 0:47 Sponser: Upstart
    2:02 South Park
    3:19 Freedom
    5:54 The Chinese Government and Market
    7:33 Blizzard appeases China
    9:50 Freedom and Pressure, take personal responsibility

  • Well, you could organize into groups and share the work needed for producing certain products.There would be no interest in producing low quality products, since it would just create additional work, if the products break down. However, due to the lack of money, there might be no interest in working, because you dont have a direct personal gain.

  • while I wouldn't want Dr. grentis drilling holes in my mouth, I would gladly go to him for a basic cleaning if he's much cheaper.

    I'll save the more qualified (and more expensive) doctors for the harder jobs.

    if only we had cheaper doctors for the simple jobs it would force the more qualidied doctors to be more competitively priced.

  • Dudes!! Just a heads-up. This red small line under Cartman in the greeting image of your video looks like the one from when a video that you (me in the case) already seen it on YouTube. That's going to make some people believe they already saw it. Hahaha

  • But by basically definition a free market punishes those who do the right thing compared to their competitors 99.9% so I don't see that happening.

  • South Park is full of shit and they are spreading nonsense propaganda about China. The Hong Kong riots are led by rightists who love Trump, Pepe memes, and the American flag. They hate immigrants (whom they call locusts), anchor babies, and anyone who speaks Mandarin. They're shining lasers in the eyes of elderly people, attacking random civilians, attacking anyone who disagrees with them, and lying to the press about it.

    They need to be locked up. So when an NBA manager or a Blizzard contractor publicly support these right-wing terrorists and the Chinese people (who are more informed on this topic than Westerners), get upset about it, it's not surprising, is it? This is not the action of the Chinese government. This is the action of the Chinese people.
    And when these for-profit entities realize they're pissing off their market, they decide to issue an apology or fire the nimrod who supports them. Isn't that 100% reasonable?
    Western press is censored so you only see the pro-rioter message and the convenient imagery that makes the rioters look better, so I understand why you don't know this.

    But my point is that the creators of South Park doing a sarcastic apology is peak liberal nonsense because they are doing it to mock the "banning" of the Rockets, but they were never banned. The Rockets were never even at risk of being banned. The Chinese people just organized a giant boycott about it.

    Imagine that it's December 2001 and the manager of the Chicago Bulls says "Al Qaeda has some good ideas" do you reckon the NBA would be scrambling, doing damage control? Yes. Duh. Do you reckon anyone in American media would be losing their minds about freedom of speech or censorship? No. Duh.

    It's a lie based on a lie based on a misunderstanding based on a lie BUT IT'S SO CLEVER OMG THESE WITTY SOUTH PARK DUDES!

  • I will never forget today. My dad started watching Wisecrack recently and today he came home and stated “Jared has friends!” and looked so happy

  • China cutting out a scene of homosexuality… Jesus. China just got more respect in my book. For you saying it's important in the sense of homosexuality is important. You get a THUMBS DOWN. Garbage boy.

  • My off-the-cuff thought I would be, who gives a hot damn about some farmer with Tegrity similar to who gives a hot damn about some cartoon promoting individual responsibility. Could maybe go along with the previous cancelsouthpark campaign?

  • All those top CEO helping China communist party, our 1st geopolitical enemy of the 21st century should be banned from entering the US. If they do, charge them with treason and hang these bags of shit. CCP is at least as worse than the German Nazi, and should be treated accordingly.

  • Oh Wisecrack, how could you have been so blind to the most obvious subtext?

    The latest episode was SO abundantly critical of itself, with lots of dialog feeding how 300 episodes is nothing they can celebrate. Perhaps this is most obvious in the scene at the kitchen table, but it's a common thread in the entire episode.

    Which made me laugh more than any episode of the last three seasons. It seems like South Park managed to channel their misery in such a sarcastic way that it's funny again.

  • Expecting multi-national corporations to act ethically is incredibly naive. The 'personal responsibility' of corporations doesn't exist because they're not a 'person', they're a cog in a system. They do not have free will.

  • Its called Tegridy Farms because 'Stan' is the Main southpark protagonist and Randy has always been the most outspoken Character for whatever point they want to make

  • "This is a common tactic in the world"

    Europe: Not so much.

    China: Probably a fair amount.

    The rest of the world excluding the US: So-so.

    The US: Constantly. This tactic is constantly in use.

  • More irony, the ad before South Park is prager u, reaching back over 100 years to say the Democrats are the party of slavery. misinformation as usual from prager u. The Dems were the choice of southern states until 1964 when they switched to the republican party, the gop becoming the party of discrimination and racism bringing us to the present. Today we have a president supported by white supremacist, Nazis and bible cultist all preaching and practicing hate for people of color, immigrants, religions they disapprove of and other deviants to their hateful beliefs. Oh and prager u is not a University, just a collection of closet Nazis and bigots.

  • i think Randy mixing things up is a metaphore for the fans mixing up south park and matt and trey. "south park has lost its edge" and fan backlash. the show has always been a creative outlet for what matt and trey think about various subjects, and over the years it has changed, but they have changed. when they were fresh out of college making a show with cutouts, they were different than now when they work part of the year and then are stupid wealthy the rest of the time. the important thing is to stay true to who you are. maybe matt and trey think they have lost a bit of perspective and commercialized. making the deal with getting back with Towlie is remembering the show was sometimes about being stupid, sometimes about making a point. cartman did say towlie was the dumbest character ever, but also was them calling out the commercialization of the show with the fake buy the Towlie beach towl ads that played during the episode.

  • Oh boy you should have seen the statements blizzard put out. Do these people think the general public is that dumb, just paragraphs of corporate PR shenanigans to make themselves look good. I'm glad people aren't hearing any of it and no, if taking personal responsibility will result to losses no corporation will do it.

  • The annoying thing is it’s not censorship to appeal to the Chinese audience. It’s to appeal the what the government wants the Chinese audience to be exposed to

  • Jordan Peterson's recent lecture on the sovereignty of the individual comes to mind. As does a book by China Mieville, I think it was Perdido Street Station. That character whose people's primary law is based around that primary quandary of the balance of freedom and everything else. They put freedom as primary, no greater crime than stealing the freedom of another being. It's been a while, probably remembering that wrong. Edit: Primarily, the primary primary is to primary the primary 🙂

  • My problem with people outside HK supporting HK protests is that most of them don't really know what is going on in Hong Kong. Just because the rioters wave a flag called "freedom" doesn't mean they are advocating for freedom. In fact they are doing quite the opposite by beating up random citizens who don't agree with their values (the irony!).

  • When a company apologizes for offending their market and moves to correct their actions, they are taking responsibility. Taking responsibility doesn't mean choosing what Matt Stone and Trey Parker consider morally acceptable. As Wisecrack touches on, freedom doesn't exist in a vacuum. Freedom always infringes upon the freedoms of others. Freedom and oppression go hand-in-hand. Many societies around the world including our European allies reject the cultural concepts that America considers freedom while touting things which they say make them more free than America just from different philosophical look.

    Just as America and the European Union require foreign companies to comply with their laws and cultural norms if they wish to succeed at business so too does China. When companies comply with the legal and cultural requests of the country they intend to do business with that is acting responsibly–very different from companies which use their large financial clout to force nations to change to suit them which leads to much of the instability in Africa and Latin America.

  • YEEHAAW fellow LIBCUCKS, I completely agree with this message, the government needs to stay THE FUCK AWAY! Every individual person on earth just needs to suddenly take RESPONSIBILITY for their impact on global warming and the problem will solve itself! Why do we need prisons anyway? Criminals should just take personal responsibility and punish themselves for their misdeeds. TAXATION IS THEFT #libertarianism4ever<3

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