Taking South Park Seriously

Edited by Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock

Subjects: American Studies, American Culture, Communication, Cultural Studies, Cultural Critique
Paperback : 9780791475669, 266 pages, September 2008
Hardcover : 9780791475652, 266 pages, September 2008

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations

Introduction: Taking South Park Seriously
Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock

Part One The Pleasures of South Park

1. “Bigger Longer & Uncut”: South Park and the Carnivalesque
Alison Halsall

2. The Pleasures of South Park (An Experiment in Media Erotics)
Brian L. Ott

3. Orphic Persuasions and Siren Seductions: Vocal Music in South Park
Jason Boyd and Marc R. Plamondon
4. “Simpsons Did It”: South Park as Differential Signifier
Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock

Part Two Identity Politics

5. Freud Goes to South Park: Teaching against Postmodern Prejudices and Equal Opportunity Hatred
Robert Samuels

6. Cynicism and Other Postideological Half Measures in South Park
Stephen Groening

7. Shopping at J-Mart with the Williams: Race, Ethnicity, and Belonging in South Park
Lindsay Coleman

Part Three South Park Conservatives?

8. “I Hate Hippies”: South Park and the Politics of Generation X
Matt Becker

9. South Park Heretics: Confronting Orthodoxy through Theater of the Absurd
Randall Fallows

10. Prophetic Profanity: South Park on Religion or Thinking Theologically with Eric Cartman
Michael W. DeLashmutt and Brannon Hancock

Part Four Specific Critiques

11. “You Know, I Learned Something Today . . . ”: Cultural Pedagogy and the Limits of Formal Education in South Park
James Rennie

12. “Omigod, It’s Russell Crowe!”: South Park’s Assault on Celebrity
Damion Sturm

List of Episodes Cited

South Park Complete Episode Guide, Seasons 1–11

List of Contributors

Collection of scholarly essays on the wildly popular Comedy Central show.


Since it came on the air in 1997, Comedy Central's top-rated animated program, South Park, has been criticized for its crude, scatological humor and political insensitivity. However, the program also fearlessly wades into the morass of American political life as it tackles and satirizes all American sacred cows, including "political correctness," the value of celebrities, ideas about childhood, and the role of religion in American life. In the process, South Park raises provocative and timely questions about politics, identity, and the media's influence in shaping American thinking.

Taking South Park Seriously brings together scholars who explore the broader implications of South Park's immense popularity by examining the program's politics, aesthetics, and cultural impact. Topics covered include the pleasures of watching the show, South Park's relationship to other animated programs, and the program's representations of racial and ethnic minorities, the disabled, celebrities, children, religion, and education. This book will be of interest not only to communications and cultural studies scholars, but to anyone who has ever laughed along with Cartman, Stan, Kyle, and Kenny.

Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock is Associate Professor of English at Central Michigan University and the author of several books, including The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Spectral America: Phantoms and the National Imagination.


"This collection is sure to get South Park fans thinking a little deeper. The articles are both well written and readable. You know, I think I learned something today!" — Robert Arp, editor of South Park and Philosophy: You Know, I Learned Something Today

"This book is a serious and thoughtful effort at a scholarly analysis of South Park, and it makes an important contribution in beginning a scholarly dialogue on this influential and often controversial show. " — John Alberti, author of Leaving Springfield: The Simpsons and the Possibility of Oppositional Culture