Popular Culture and the Future of Politics
Cultural Studies and the Tao of South Park
by Ted Gournelos
PN1992.6 .G67 2009
New Book Island, 2nd floor
Good ol’ South Park. I remember when the show first starting airing when I was in junior high, and it was all the rage. Its foul language and questionable content meant that I wasn’t “allowed” to watch it [like the rebellious teenager that I was, I still did catch a number of episodes]. The creators of the hit series didn’t shy away from the touchy subjects then, and they continue to push the envelope today. This week’s featured title takes a look at the four kids from Colorado and their effect on the critique of society.
Gournelos, a communication professor at Maryville University, utilizes the controversial television show as a vehicle to demonstrate how popular culture pushes the limits of political and social discourse within the context of three techniques for reshaping said discourse (allusive, responsive and distruptive). Using examples such as Mr. Garrison’s sex change and Muhammad, the author details South Park’s approaches to responding to current events in a satirical manner. He also pulls in other popular voices of opposition, such as the Daily Show, the Boondocks and the Simpsons to fill out his argument. If you need a scholarly source to defend your paper on why South Park is more than just a silly cartoon, this is the one to use.