South Park, the irreverent cartoon about a group of fourth graders living in South Park, Colorado, is one of the better satirists of current culture.
Unlike many who try to poke fun at society, this show is difficult to pigeon-hole politically; it lambastes the foibles and excesses of both the right and the left. Andrew Sullivan even coined a phrase, South Park Conservative, to describe a younger demographic which questions the political correctness of the current media. Other more social conservatives have glommed on to the description, believing South Park to be at its base socially conservative also. It’s fair to assume that South Park reaches a significant young fairly-conservative audience.
Last night’s show, The Egg, took on the subject of gay marriage.
I found the episode to be remarkable in its ability to correctly identify the arguments against gay equality, the motivation behind them, and some of the methods employed.
*** SPOILER ALERT ***
The plot centered around someone who, for want of a better description, is ex-gay:
If you follow the show (and if you don’t, why not?) you know that the fourth grade teacher is Mrs. Garrison. She used to be Mr. Garrison but has now had a sex change and is a real woman, not a fag!! (Basically, she’s the old bald Mr. Garrison with earrings and lipstick).
Mrs. Garrison decided that she wanted to rekindle things with Mr. Slave, her boyfriend when she used to be Mr. Garrison. However, Mr. Slave wasn’t interested in this and instead wanted to marry his new man, Big Gay Al (Colorado having just voted in gay marriage).
Mrs. Garrison become enraged. Mr. Slave can’t marry Big Gay Al, they’re just a bunch of faggots. He should marry her, a woman.
So Mrs. Garrison tries to rile up the citizens for a good old-fashion queer-dragging. Since the citizenry isn’t much interested in this, she settles for leading a movement to get the Governor to veto the legislation.
This touches on the current activism on the part of much of the ex-gay movement and their efforts to overturn laws of gay equality. No longer gay themselves, they – like Mrs. Garrison – feel free to slime gays and oppose gay-equalizing legislation.
The Governor doesn’t really care about gay marriage and just wants to be left alone. He won’t veto the law without a good excuse. So Mrs. Garrison declares he has to veto the legislation “for the children”.
This is, of course, the number one claim of the anti-marriage activists.
The Governor states that there is no study that conclusively determines that children raised by gay parents are in any way harmed. So Mrs. Garrison sets out to provide the Governor with such a study. He gives pairs of children an egg to take care of, believing that the pair of boys would break their egg, thus proving same-sex couples can’t be good parents.
This parody of the efforts by anti-gay activists, especially Paul Cameron, to create artificial scientific backing for their efforts had me rolling.
While South Park has taken on gay issues before, balancing somewhere between respect and nudge-nudge wink-wink, this episode seemed to more or less endorse gay marriage, showing the baselessness of the opposition. I think it has spread light on the gay marriage debate in a way -and to a demographic – that marches and protests never could.