They Took Our Jobs! South Park and The Mediated Public Sphere

It’s where each of us finds out what’s happening in our community, and what social, cultural and political issues are facing us.

*Note: The content of this blog may be offensive to some. Apologies.

Throughout 17 seasons of work South Park has become a mediated public sphere unlike any other. Broaching subjects with an astute sense of satire the cartoon has always been at the knifes edge of what is ok to say out loud. One such instance…

and that’s not even the funniest worst of them. Generally though it is this level of comedy which gives what they are saying depth and meaning. Really the above video is commenting on celebrity nature (which is a constant theme throughout the show). Other subjects which are debated include: Politics, Race and Gender Roles. This debate informs young people of political opinion and gives them a voice outside of what they are hearing through popular media outlets.

However sometimes South Park has the ability to be a place for serious discussion.

This ability to move from political satire to serious discussion allows South Park to have greater weight in terms of the public sphere. Without these moments in the show these messages would be lost amongst the vast comedic value.

Whilst slightly touching on the issues that McKee raises in regards to the public sphere generally South Park stays away from these issues. When they do fall into these categories however it is generally as a way of ironically commenting about society. Generally the show will fall into the “too trivial” category as they get weighed down in cheap comedy. It can also be fragmented as the link between the episodes is usually only character based, with little subplot for connection.

Although it may seem as if it is hiding the value of South Park can be seen beneath the surface.

(or not…)

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One thought on “They Took Our Jobs! South Park and The Mediated Public Sphere

  1. What a way to reflect the mediated public sphere with South Park, it is one of my favourite series to catch up on. I definitely agree with the extend of the “jokes” being used in the series which may seem offensive to some people but funny to others, but the producers of the series do know how to neutralize these offence with serious discussion. Nicely done!

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