The politics of South Park are some of the most speculated-about and misunderstood topics in television since the show burst onto the scene over twenty years ago. The bottom line is that Parker and Stone are iconoclasts; they have a problem with authority and especially with being told they can’t do something.
For example, the show’s 200th episode was a two-parter all about showing the prophet Muhammad. Even talking about showing an image of Muhammad was too much for Comedy Central who have pulled the episode as if it had Michael Jackson in it.
Now the thing you can’t do is make fun of China or their President for Life, Winnie Jinpooh, who changed Chinese law to make himself President for Life. Yeah, seriously, the guy is anti-Democratic even by Chinese standards.
But China has a lot of money, and big American corporations would like some of that money, please. They will basically do anything to get that money. Like, you know how Marvel is always taking about how woke they are but any reference to any character being anything other than 100% straight has been meticulously cut from their movies, aside from a character who doesn’t even have a name in Endgame? That’s because China has rules about depicting homosexuality and Disney cares way, way more about Chinese money than American values.
This was the topic of last week’s episode of South Park, ‘Band in China’. Stan forms a band and his label is constantly giving him notes about what he can and can’t say to be successful in China and Randy flies to China to try to sell weed, ending up in prison with Winnie the Pooh. If you’re curious, China banned all references to the beloved children’s character because protestors once claimed President Xi Jinping looked like Winnie the Pooh.
They also banned last week’s episode of South Park, surprise surprise. To put what happened next into perspective, two other major brands bent over and kissed China’s ass just today.
First was Blizzard Entertainment, makers of Hearthstone and World of Warcraft.
in a post-match Hearthstone Grandmasters winning interview, Hong Kong HS player @blitzchungHS said “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!”
in response, Blizzard Taiwan has now deleted the VOD from their official Twitch channel https://t.co/l5lcMu4ULR
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) October 7, 2019
That’s right, Blizzard took down the video from a major tournament because a player from Hong Kong, who won, used his platform to call for independence for Hong Kong. It also did not allow players from Taiwan to use the Taiwan flag.
Then there was the NBA. There aren’t even any NBA teams in China, but they’re still licking that Chinese boot. The GM of the Houston Rockets, Daryl Morey, made a tweet supporting the Hong Kong protestors which was deleted by the morning and he was almost fired by the Rockets. Morey tweeted an apology, presumably with a metaphorical gun to his head.
1/ I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China. I was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation, of one complicated event. I have had a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives.
— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) October 7, 2019
2/ I have always appreciated the significant support our Chinese fans and sponsors have provided and I would hope that those who are upset will know that offending or misunderstanding them was not my intention. My tweets are my own and in no way represent the Rockets or the NBA.
— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) October 7, 2019
Which brings us back to South Park, who tweeted their own apology.
— South Park (@SouthPark) October 7, 2019
OFFICIAL APOLOGY TO CHINA FROM TREY PARKER AND MATT STONE.
“Like the NBA, we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts. We too love money more than freedom and democracy. Xi doesn’t look just like Winnie the Pooh at all. Tune into our 300th episode this Wednesday at 10! Long live the Great Communist Party of China! May this autumn’s sorghum harvest be bountiful! We good now China?”
I told you they don’t like being told what to do. And unlike much, much richer people, Parker and Stone aren’t afraid to tell a huge market to fuck off if they can’t be free to do what they want to do.