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fair game

Now in its 19th season on the air, South Park pulls no punches in its aim to be irreverent and poke fun at some of the absurdities of our modern culture. However having watched a couple of episodes so far left me thinking that they were perhaps wading a little too far into extremes.

This season features the cartoon rape of a Donald Trump inspired Canadian politician, Eric Cartman being beaten to a pulp by his new principal and a pull no punches depiction of Caitlyn Jenner as a plastic surgery freak show with a penchant for vehicular homicide.

N introduced me to the show some years back and in general have found it witty while remaining just on the edge of good taste with their pull no punches approach.

Both the episodes I saw the other night had me thinking they had gone just a little far this time. The theme of this season appears to be political correctness gone awry leaving us to accept questionable statements as accepted fact lest you be accused of being a bigot.

Not unexpectedly, the subject of Jenner's supposed heroism is taken on as another sacred cow and, while I am on the record as not being a huge fan of hers, her depiction was maybe a questionable call. Perhaps when it comes to this topic I am too myopic because it touches close to home. Other subjects tackled by Parker and Stone have not been quite so personal to me.

I will leave the question of whether Jenner is a role model or not alone and defer that to you. Do we have a right to poke fun at this issue? I believe the answer is yes. However I wouldn't be the person to ask whether the show crosses a limit either because the area of uncensored satire is not an area I would feel comfortable wading into.

Among the episodes I have seen, one of my favorites was the one dealing with racism. Randy appears on Wheel of Fortune and says the unthinkable. I felt that this sacred cow was handled more deftly however and, while racism is widely seen as unacceptable by most educated and reasonable people, being transgender is still seen by a wide margin of the population as a bizarre aberration of choice.

Criticism of Jenner is fine but by virtue of her notoriety some of us will take schrapnel from those who find her representative of us all. But the way Jenner seems to crave publicity and her tendency to commit verbal gaffs has not endeared her to many of us and invites parody.

For Stone and Parker everything is fair game so maybe chalk up my unease to my myopia on this issue.


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