April 11th, 2009 12:36 EST
And Who Says South Park Isn't Educational: Just Ask Kanye West
Unlike a lot of people who claim to be fans of the show because it`s still trendy to do so, I`ve been a fan of South Park for as long as possible. And even when my family couldn`t afford cable TV when I was growing up, I donned a "Many Deaths of Kenny" T-shirt in middle school (which naturally got me into hot water over the shirt`s controversial content) after hearing about Mecha-Streisand, Starvin` Marvin and the perverse ways Kenny met his maker. Though these stories were bastardized from the mouths of fellow sixth-graders, secondhand news was better than no news especially when I saw the "boys" as the group of rebellious hellions to whom I could relate. And what could make a 12-year-old boy shoot $.35 milk through his nostrils faster than learning of a talking piece of poo that only came out of hibernation for Christmas time.
But times have changed in the half of my lifetime that has passed since then, like the price of dairy almost thricefold (and I never predicted that I`d show my years at such a young age), but many things have remained the same particularly with the foul-mouthed cut-outs spawned from two film students from Boulder, Colorado.
These gut-busting antics and punchlines were anything but accepted by my parents and my family in general. In his lifetime, my grandfather scolded me for liking that "smut" spewed from animated kids my age, when children should be learning to be moral and respective to their elders and in the eyes of God. The Simpsons and South Park represented irreverence and freedom from the old closed-minded ways of thinking. Don`t get me wrong: virtues are essential in life but when they interfere with enjoying yourself or when it comes to plain and simple common sense.
As I`ve matured into a well-rounded adult, I have come to many crossroads in my life, most notably politics, social issues, and religion. While being raised Roman Catholic, I`ve come to realize the hypocrisies and absurdities of the religion, shared by most Christian denominations as well. In terms of politics and social views, my family was middle of the road Democrat based on the strong Christian foundation and believed in moral standards above all, while I, on the other hand, have modified and evolved my views to all bulletin points concerned. And South Park reflects many of the viewpoints I hold.
Anyone truly familiar with South Park know the overt Libertarian undertones of many of show`s weekly lessons which come from the like-minded independents Trey Parker and Matt Stone that created the animated series. And while I am a "conditional" very liberal person, I like when one of the best satirical comedies provides a happy medium between conservative sense and progressively liberal rights.
And as the show has geared up into its second wind, the show`s writers certainly aren`t at odds with lampooning celebrities on either side of the political aisle.
In the past, celebrities like Tom Cruise, P. Diddy, Rosie O`Donnell, Rob Reiner, and Paris Hilton were kind enough to supply their personalities (if not their voices) for the sake of being mocked for some of the ridiculous ideas and ideals they stand for. And the creative minds behind the Comedy Central show basically had a pre-fabbed blueprint by which to plot out their animated strafe against the latest in that line.
Kanye West has been proclaiming that he`s the "voice of this generation" for the past year and has fostered a reputation for being as focused on self-aggrandizement as his vastly overhyped work in rap music. West went as far as to say his greatest regret was never being able to see himself perform live. (So if we were to place a pond before him, would he fall in love with his reflection, fall in, and drown?)
Well, Trey Parker and Matt Stone spun a new way of viewing the detached, narcissistic celebrity by poking fun at his many character flaws.
This past Wednesday, the newest episode of South Park focused on a caricature of West taking a politically incorrect joke (in the vein of South Park`s naturally wry and raunchy humor) the wrong way. But unlike celebrities featured and skewered on the show in the past, the real Kanye West actually acknowledged how self-centered he has been during his professional career.
West emphasized about his thoughts on the episode on his blog: "SOUTH PARK MURDERED ME LAST NIGHT AND IT`S PRETTY FUNNY. IT HURTS MY FEELINGS BUT WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM SOUTH PARK! I ACTUALLY HAVE BEEN WORKING ON MY EGO THOUGH. HAVING THE CRAZY EGO IS PLAYED OUT IN MY LIFE AND CAREER."
He went to elaborate on his past, growing up in Chicago with his mother, when he deliberately forced himself to be arrogant just to compensate for his low self-esteem. But he said it was time to stop being immature for his own image`s sake and to "GET PAST (HIMSELF)".
Pretty soon, people will stop taking him seriously, he posted near the end of his confessional, and anyone watching entertainment tabloid shows know his juvenile antics. West copped tantrums at music award ceremonies in years past when he felt his "timeless" contributions to music didn`t win what he thought they would.
He even pasted a link to one of the most offensive moments in the episode just to show his respect for the show`s commentary about his behavior, and gave thanks to the writers for making it incredibly funny.
Dear reader, before you fall for Kanye`s about-face which was merely lip service for the present, the rapper-producer has made similar remarks not too long ago saying he`d work on his bloated ego. So if we see a revue of self-important rap artists making a tour stop in South Park, Colorado, don`t be alarmed if you spot West in the crowd.