Shocking, in-your-face, blatantly offensive, jaw-dropping, mind-boggling, floor-rolling, horribly crass humor courtesy of South Park and its creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Decidedly low-brow, Kick a Ginger Day started with a character on South Park who described redheads as “evil” and “soulless” in a 2005 episode in which the antagonistic Eric Cartman organizes global prejudice and oppression against redheaded kids, before it all explodes around him in predictible fashion.
Last year, a Facebook group declared Nov. 20 “National Kick a Ginger Day.” How did that turn out? Predictably Canadian: The group soon had over 5000 members, and unfortunately some people decided to take the idea literally. Ironically, National Kick a Ginger Day fell during Canada’s bullying awareness week.
”In the words of my girlfriend, having seen that pompous little redhead, don’t you wish Kick a Ginger Day was every day?…I have no problem with redheads. I have a problem with this particular redhead and the system that makes his incredibly lame story “news.”…I’m not advocating bullying, and I’m not defending the idea of Kick a Ginger Day. What I am saying is that calling what Mishkin went through a “hate crime,” is incredibly insulting to anyone who actually knows firsthand what a hate crime is….Since it’s fairly obvious from his responses that Mishkin was coached, probably by his parents, I can’t point the finger directly at him. Whoever made the incredibly bad decision to put this young man on television and have him recommend that his peers receive “counselling” for their “hate crimes” against him should accept all responsibility for the additional beatings that he will no doubt receive as a result.”
Even a superficial look at the episode makes it obvious as a anti-racist message. Eric Cartman serves to put the absurdity of racism and bigotry on display. Cartman never wins … even when he “wins” his absurdity is clearly on display. This episode, in particular, ends with Cartman barely escaping death from his own movement and admitting he’s a “manipulative asshole” who doesn’t care as long as he can save his own skin.
”This is so typically Canadian to take a prank that a bunch of 12 and 13 years old came up with and try to turn it into a hate crime. These kids were having a bit of fun and as often happens with kids having fun, they got a bit carried away. Case closed. To try to liken this to a hate crime is ridiculous. It’s not as if these children were handing out copies of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion on Hurt the Feelings of a Jew Day. ”
The overblown sendup to the phenomenon displaced attention from the arty genius of the series that creatively turns technical crudity into an asset. Call it lo-fi social satire. The labor-intensive quality of old-fashioned animation is gone forever. Most of the grunt work is done in low wage Asian countries or China and the drawing is substandard.
South Park subverts the tendency and creates an artistic achievement by embracing instead of defying limitation. The Simpsons are better drawn and the series proves that no one closely examines the backgrounds of Springfield, U.S.A. Farthest along on the caveman scale is South Park, with primitive static backgrounds and simplistic cut-out figures. However, the intentionally low-tech style is well adapted to figuratively representing the characters in this world. The formula is not new, but it works. Bad is good and good is bad and this medium permits liberties of transgres
. Bashing the politically correct appears to attack bigotry rather than reinforcing it.