Category: Pop Culture

Palladium Rhapsody (lyrics only)

Palladium Rhapsody (lyrics only)

With the success of the movie Bohemian Rhapsody, and the coming apart of our financial bubble (this time, it SEEMS like the real deal, but we’ll see..), it feels like the perfect time for a song parody.  I admit to being inspired by- and also “borrowing” liberally from- the creative “Crypto Karaoke” account on YouTube.  Try this at a karaoke bar- for the 5% of the audience who get the joke, it will be worth it!  Enjoy…

Palladium Rhapsody
-Original Lyrics from Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”
-Original Parody from Crypto Karaoke’s “Blockchainian Rhapsody

Is this the real life?
Or is it fantasy?
Caught in a stock slide,
No escape from a bankruptcy.

Open your eyes,
CNBC lies, you see…
I’m just a poor boy,
But that will change instantly, because
Bull markets come, bull markets go.
Buy gold high, buy gold low.
Anywhere its price goes,
doesn’t really matter to me…to me.

Hold on…stick with the plan.
Don’t let the FED inside your head,
Though precious medals might seem dead.
Hold on, the gold bull’s just begun.
If you sell now you will throw it all away.
Hold on, ooo-woo-ooo!
The dips will make cry,
But the price will come right back this time tomorrow.
Hold on, hold on,
Because the price now doesn’t matter.

Too late.
Nasdaq’s time is done.
For years tech stocks were all buys.
Now it’s time for them to die.

Goodbye fiat money.
I’ve got medals.
There’s no need for all the brokers who steal from you.
hold on, oo-woo-oo!  (“any way the market goes”)
The fiat system’s gonna die.
Gold’s dips are your chance to go buy some more.

(guitar solo)

“I see The Federal Reserve’s brilliant plan!”
“Where’s The Proof?
Where’s The Proof?
Are They Even A Real Bank Though?”

“Markets Are All Crashing,
Trolls Are Really Bashing Me!”
“Bartiromo! Bartiromo! Bartiromo!  Bartiromo Bartiromo let me go!  (Manifico-o-o-o….)”

“I’m Just A Poor Boy,
Don’t Have Any Gold To See…”
“He’s Just A Poor Boy,
Bought Stocks For His Family.
Now He Will Pay For This Monstrosity!”

“Easy Come, Easy Go
Will You Keep Rates Low?”
J. Powell
“No!  I will Not Keep Them Low!”
“Keep Them Low!”
J. Powell
“I will Not Keep Them Low!”
“Keep Them Low!”
J. Powell
“I Will Not Keep Them Low!”
“Keep Them Low!”
“Will Not Keep Them Low!”
“Keep Them Low!”
“Will Not Keep Them Low!”
“Keep Them Low-ow-ow!”
“No no no no no no no no!”

“Oh, my Maria
My Maria
My Maria Bartiro(mo)…

The bubble popped, now why won’t you start listening to me, to me, to meeee!”

(guitar kicks in)

“So you think you can mock me, just give it a try…
as you bought all your stocks near their all time highs!
Oh, baby, get out of your stocks, baby!
Just got to get out, just got to get out of stocks here!”

“The stock price doesn’t matter,
All of you will see
The stock price doesn’t matter…
the stock price doesn’t matter…to me.”

*outro*

(“Your money should go into gold.”)

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Despite All Its Problems, America Continues To Bless Colin Kaepernick

Despite All Its Problems, America Continues To Bless Colin Kaepernick

It’s hard to imagine now, but at the beginning of the current decade, Colin Kaepernick was primarily known for being a promising young quarterback.  Even then, he seemed to relish an image as something of an antihero, emerging from the ignorant noise of his loudmouth, no-nothing detractors.  This goes back at least as far as his first commercial, when a younger, much shorter-haired Kaepernick starred in a three-minute (!) spot for headphones, of all things. (Just imagine him trying to put those things on now.)  We see Kaepernick getting off a bus, as thousands of feral-like fans try to viciously shout him down.  Kaepernick, with a sense of cool not seen since The Fonz, ignores them all, stoically listening to a song titled, “I’m The Man.”  Of COURSE you are, Colin.

kapcap
Before causing trouble with his social justice crusading, Colin Kaepernick just liked to cause trouble.

At the time, this was a curious ad. Who in the ACTUAL world hated Colin Kaepernick? He was an emerging star, helping to lead his 49ers to the Superbowl in a rookie season- very marketable, and hardly the polarizing figure that this ad portrayed. Perhaps disappointed by his LACK of notoriety as his star began to fade in 2013, Kaepernick was spotted in public wearing a Miami Dolphins hat- something kind of weird for a quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers to do. Though somewhat obnoxious, it was far from the stuff of full-blown outrage. Still, there were a few 49ers diehards that took the bait, complaining about Kaepernick’s disloyalty- and, in an act of foreshadowing of much bigger things to come, disrespect. Finally, Kaepernick had his real life targets to ridicule, and ridicule them he did, posting a very sarcastic looking picture of himself holding up a Dolphins hat. Making less headlines on the field, Kaepernick seemed to relish the notoriety off the field.

103250-780x550Fast forward another three years to 2016.  Barely on the public radar by this point, Kaepernick grew his hair out, generating his off-field persona as a social justice warrior for a community that, quite honestly, he was never part of.  That’s not to say he doesn’t actually care about this community, as only he knows his true intentions- and to be fair, he has donated lots of money to causes he advocates.  (This is something ALL successful pro-athletes, entertainers, and multi-millionaires in general should do, but that’s for another discussion.)  But regardless of his intentions, the methods Kaepernick used were not exactly constructive towards advancing his newly adopted cause(s).  Rather than bring people together to try working on practical solutions, Kaepernick deliberately stirred the pot, preaching to the choir of people who already believed what he was saying, while deeply alienating those who didn’t, with an incendiary press statement about the United States.  While there are certainly plenty of issues to discuss regarding this country, including that of the troubling relationships between the police and the inner-city communities which they serve, Kaepernick’s initial statement- and this is for those who say Kaepernick’s protest is “only” about police brutality- was a far more sweeping condemnation about the country that made him a rich man, stating that he refused to “show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”  (I suppose it’s also too oppressive for him to vote, as he skipped the 2016 election altogether.)  And while we’ve all spent WAY too much time already “debating” (actually, screaming at each other) about the merits and liabilities of kneeling, how about the fact that Kaepernick actually started his protest by sitting on the bench throughout the anthem?!  (It wasn’t enough for him that he’d spend the next three hours doing that?) It was only after realizing it would be better PR for him to kneel, and the rest is history.

And what about the socks controversy? Before becoming the world’s most famous shoe salesman, Kaepernick sported some rather nifty socks, showing pigs wearing police hats. Kaepernick responded with his usual eloquence- seriously, he’s a smart man- along with his typical faux indignation, lamenting this distraction from “the real issues”.  But come on- does someone as intelligent as Colin Kaepernick really not know that these socks would generate a “distraction”? It seems like a reasonable assumption that he went out of his way to purchase these statement-making socks- it’s not like they sell them at Walmart!

And hey, speaking of big, heartless corporations, enter Nike into the picture. Not afraid of exploiting controversies any more than they’re afraid to exploit third world workers- this is a company that once cynically used Tiger Woods’ infidelity to sell their products– they recruited Kaepernick to be the new face of their marketing campaign, under one of the most ironic marketing slogans in American history, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” For the sake of argument, let’s assume that everything Kaepernick stands for is pure and just, as are his motives. What exactly is he sacrificing? Already worth more than he’ll ever be able to spend in his life, Kaepernick’s unremarkable talent was simply not enough to justify the PR headache that any NFL owner surely would have had to deal with, had they signed him. Instead, he was signed by Nike, making far more than he ever would have as an (AT BEST) run-of-the-mill quarterback. And for this, he’s being compared to Muhammed Ali refusing to serve in Vietnam- or even ROSA PARKS?! Only in today’s America can this be done with a straight face, just as only in today’s America can this be consider “sacrificing everything”.

kaepernick
The American flag in the background is a nice touch.

But give credit where it’s due- Colin Kaepernick has achieved the outlaw, antihero status he longed for, probably beyond his wildest dreams, while Nike’s sales have spiked upwards. By hitching itself to his wagon, Nike made a bold but savvy move- alienating Trump’s MAGA crowd, but becoming the hero of the left- a group normally associated with being AGAINST big corporations.  Any boycott Nike will see from this PR stunt will likely be far outweighed by the sales they will generate, as early indicators seem to suggest. At the end of it all, the only “sacrifice” made will be of the Nike products that are being burned to a crisp by the misguided counter-protesters, thinking they’re making some sort of statement besides, “We’re not very intelligent.”  They’d have been far better served donating those clothes to charity, and simply stating that they’re never buying Nike again.  But that’s just not how things are done these days, in a highly politicized environment filled with venom, rancor, and silliness.

As for “The Man” Colin Kaepernick, we’ll likely never see him take another snap in the NFL again.  That’s too bad, because had he done so, he’d likely remind us of the REAL primary reason why he’s not in the NFL anymore- quite simply, he’s just not all that good.  Instead, he gets to be the martyr for a cause that he didn’t even expand beyond the base of people who already agreed with him in the first place.  No matter.  This whole thing is making Colin Kaepernick a rich(er) man, to the point where even HE will have to say, “God Bless America.”

Sorry Hader Haters, But Names Will STILL Never Harm You

Sorry Hader Haters, But Names Will STILL Never Harm You

While MLB has wanted (and probably needed) mid-summer attention from the national media for something besides PEDs, this likely isn’t what they had in mind. During the All Star game, The Milwaukee Brewers’s Josh Hader, a man of the not-so-deep south (Maryland), was shamed for some pretty offensive Tweets from his teenage years. Clearly, he was humiliated about it. Atlanta’s Sean Newcomb, one strike away from a no-hitter, was equally shamed for the same offense, albeit with somewhat less vile content. Seeing a nice story ruined by social media’s morality police, Braves fans countered by humiliating Washington’s Caucasian speedster Trea Turner for similar youthful indiscretions, exposing HIS racist Tweets as a teenager, for the time he…quoted a Terry Crews character from a movie??

It would be nice to say that this is all surprising, but anyone who’s paid attention to what’s happened in America since the rise of social media, should be anything but surprised. Shaming famous people, and athletes from teams we don’t like (“Boooo- different shirt!”) in particular, has itself become a type of sport. It all went mainstream in 2013, when the now-defunct Gawker, a site which often used cyber-bullying as a disguise for moral crusading, shamed Justine Sacco, a young executive at IAC, into losing her job, for a poorly constructed Colbert-Report-styled joke. (They didn’t come up with the phrase, “Don’t try this at home, kids!” for no reason.) Although Justine’s shamer recanted somewhat when he HIMSELF was shamed, the trend only took off from there. So here were are, about five years later, getting mad at some jocks for things they wrote as kids- things which, by the way, predate what Justine Sacco herself wrote.
So is Josh Hader a truly hater? Is Sean Newcomb in need of sensitivity training, because he used to speak like a character from South Park? Should Trea Turner stop finding Terry Crews funny? Man, I don’t know. I DO know that I was NOT a jock when I was 18, yet still managed to write a few things that I’m not proud of today, thankfully pre-social media. Who hasn’t When Facebook started to become popular beyond college dorms about ten years ago, I told my sister that national-level politicians of the future would have to defend themselves against some really stupid things that they were typing, right as we were speaking back then. (We’re not QUITE there yet, but we will be soon.) I was all for it, because when running for national office, we need the whole picture of someone’s character, particularly when no one’s paying attention to them. (ie. What do they think they can get away with?) I never dreamed that the same standard would be applied to less-than-household named professional atheletes, who were years away from being old enough to drink at the time of THEIR youthful indescretions, even if, ironically enough, they might have been drunk while committing those indiscretions. And yet here we are, with the Washington Post, virtue signaling by telling us how these Tweets feel like- quote- “an actual gut-punch”. Really, Washington Post? First of all, whatever happened to “…names will never harm me”? Second of all, anyone who can make this statement and truly believes it- THEY threw in the word “actual”, not me- has probably never been punched in the gut. Perhaps those who truly feel let down by these jocks- from when they were KIDS THEMSELVES, no less- need to get a reality check on life. To paraphrase Charles Barkley, parents- not Major League pitchers- should be role models. Unless causing ACTUAL harm, athletes should, for the most part, be looked at as people who are paid to entertain us for a few hours a day, and that’s it. Nothing more, nothing less should be expected out of them. Outside of a few exceptional cases, there are plenty of others to turn to.

None of this is to say that the Tweets, or the culture that cultivated them, should be ignored ENTIRELY, because this type of thinking IS still a problem in our society. It just shouldn’t be a career-damaging one- let alone a career-ENDING one- because that’s a long road which should not be traveled. (Speaking of roads, if anyone wants to talk about athletes’ images versus reality? Peyton Manning normally doesn’t drive a Buick. Trust me on that one.) And when this perceptive IS challenged, it should be done so in a far more nuanced way than electing THIS guy. (Go ahead, click on the link- it’s not who you think it is!) Otherwise, we’re going to find ourselves living inside of another Terry Crews movie. As luck would have it, we’re too close to living there already.

Summarizing Talking Points About Comey’s Firing  (It’s A Quick Read, There Are Only Two)

Summarizing Talking Points About Comey’s Firing (It’s A Quick Read, There Are Only Two)

Conservatives- “It was inevitable that this was going to happen, and it was a long time coming, even though I haven’t said anything about it until just now.  But I applaud this move by our wonderful President, with his huge hands and amazing political insight.  Clearly it had to happen, and liberals are hypocrites for criticizing it, after being so critical of Comey themselves.  Sure, they’re criticizing the TIMING and not the move itself, but they’re still hypocrites.  Why?  Because!  They…well, they just are, of course!  They’re liberals!  Liberals are hypocrites!  Everyone knows that!  Case closed! *places hands over ears* Lalalalalalalalalalalalalalalala!!!  I can’t hear you!  Lalalalalalalalalala!!!”

Liberals- “Russia!  Russia!  Russia!  Russia!  It’s like Watergate!  Russia!  Russia!  Russia! Impeach now!  Russia!  Russia!  Russia!  Russia!  Russia!  Nixon!  Russia!  Russia!  Russia!  Russia!  RUSSIA!!!!!!!!

Seriously though, President Trump- you couldn’t even CALL the man directly, to let him know he’d been fired?  The FBI does have phones, you know- man, do they have a lot of phones!
👌😣👌
Basing Public Policy On Emotion Is A Bad Idea.  Maligning A Suffering Parent Is An Even Worse Idea.

Basing Public Policy On Emotion Is A Bad Idea. Maligning A Suffering Parent Is An Even Worse Idea.

In pushing his political agenda, which one of these guys showed poor taste and poor timing?

One of the most underrated storylines of NBC’s “The Office” was the hostile dynamic between Michael Scott and Toby Flenderson, a kind-natured but tepid human-resource employee, just trying to do his job.  Scott, a delusional middle manager whose mere presence was a demoralizing influence on those around him (at least in the early episodes), always assumed his verbal- and occasionally physical– abuse was exposing poor Toby to the world (or in this case, the viewers) as a reprehensible and intrusive buzzkill, while in actuality showing everyone what kind of guy Michael Scott himself was- and it wasn’t pretty.

This week in real life, we’ve seen a similar level of accidental self-reflection.  It started after Jimmy Kimmel revealed the personal and painful trauma of living through his newborn son’s heart surgery.  Kimmel is not normally one to bare his soul to the public, so it’s pretty clear that he felt and meant every word that he was saying.  Not even the most cynical viewer could take issue with his tears.  His words, however, were another story.  Without getting into a detailed discussion of the speech itself (watch here to decide for yourself) there’s no denying that Kimmel has a very specific point of view on this subject- and, just like any specific point of view, it’s not going to be shared unanimously.  After all, there are roughly seven billion of us nowadays, which leads to roughly seven billion different points of view.  Not everyone is going to see things the way that Jimmy Kimmel does.

Enter Charles Hurt, a conservative Washington Times columnist who definitely has a different point of view from Jimmy Kimmel- and what a point of view it is.  Like many of us, Mr. Hurt generally comes across in the flesh as a pleasant individual, but online often seems like a madman, writing up an angry screed on a bathroom wall (albeit with a better vocabulary).  He took it to a whole new level against Kimmel, calling him- quote- an “elitist creep”, as well as a “dirty, self-absorbed, narcissistic exhibitionist”…and for what, exactly?  Hoping that no parent would have to go through what he did, particularly poor ones that couldn’t afford the kind of care that a rich late-night talk show host could?  While Jimmy Kimmel’s endorsement of expanded healthcare has merits that are certainly debatable, his motivation for it, much like his tears, should not have been.  After all, this is a man with a newborn baby whose LIFE was in jeopardy.  To paraphrase Tina Fey when discussing Dubya going after the guy that tried to kill his dad, people become superheroes over less!

A far better (if less newsworthy) approach than name-calling would have been to criticize the idea that any single anecdote should be the final word on a serious and complex issue.  This is a common tactic to use in the Internet age- find a high-profile story that fits your worldview, share it on Facebook, and imply that you’ve just settled the debate, once and for all.  Jimmy Kimmel has every right and every reason to share his beliefs on this subject, and the public has every right to take it under consideration.  But that doesn’t mean that his experience should be the guidebook to shape public policy, any more than Kate Steinle’s tragic death should be the final say for dealing with illegal immigration.

Unfortunately, Charles Hurt didn’t take this tactic, instead deciding to malign a well-meaning individual- and by extension, the group which he belongs to.  This brings us back to Michael Scott and Toby Flenderson.  Assuming he’s being honest and not just trolling for publicity, Mr. Hurt seems to believe that he’s giving an example of why “America hates Hollywood” (his words), when in reality, he just gave Exhibit A for why so many Americans- and not just the ones in Hollywood, which is, in fact, a part of America- believe conservatives are heartless.  Also, the like:dislike ratio is actually about 30:1 on Kimmel’s video- who knew that Hollywood was so much bigger than the rest of America?!  If Charles Hurt’s intention was to expose liberals as the out-of-touch elitists, his tactic clearly backfired.  By personally and viciously insulting a new father who’s just gone through a traumatic ordeal, Charles Hurt lives up to the worst caricatures of conservatives as greedy rich people, who don’t care about others- and make no mistake, a LOT of people believe that one, not just those that live in Hollywood.  It might feel good to just take personal shots at people with a different point of view, but it’s a bad strategy long term- just ask Hillary Clinton.

Since Donald Trump’s victory, many people on the right have been laughing disdainfully at liberals living in their bubble.  For the ones nodding approvingly at Charles Hurt’s needlessly angry column, it might be about time for them to step out of theirs.

Hillary’s Best Campaign Moment (NOT the Debate), and The REAL Reason Trump Will Never Be On “Between Two Ferns”

Hillary’s Best Campaign Moment (NOT the Debate), and The REAL Reason Trump Will Never Be On “Between Two Ferns”

For many this election cycle, the only convincing argument that Hillary Clinton has had going for her is that she’s not Donald Trump.  Throughout this entire campaign season, she has made the news for all the wrong reasons.  For one brief moment, though, that changed, as she was interviewed in a genuinely funny episode of Between Two Ferns, the popular Web series hosted by Zach Galifianakis.  Zach* is the star, of course, but Hillary played a fantastic comic foil, absorbing just enough heat to let us know that she can take a joke, but not so much that she looked like a doormat for the subversively hostile interviewer.  (The hostility was mostly in jest, but substantive enough that it could potentially make her look bad, had she not known how to handle it.)   The interview humanized her in a way that would not have seemed possible to many of us, making it easy for one to consider that she may not be so bad, after all- even for those of us who long ago came to the conclusion that she is.  Ultimately, that’s what makes effective political propaganda- an image strong enough to convince people to reconsider their own strongly held beliefs, without beating them over the head with it.

This is where Joss Wheedon- the otherwise brilliant director and writer of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Avengers, and other national treasures- completely missed the boat with his star-studded anti-Trump screed, appropriately and overtly titled Save the Day.  Starting out the commercial by mocking the self-importance of Hollywood, Wheedon and his stars tried to inoculate themselves from accusations of it.  In reality, they merely drew attention to it, as evidenced by the mediocre (at best) Like:Dislike ratio, compared to the stellar one of the Between Two Ferns clip.  Next time Wheedon wants to do a political commercial with humor, he ought to give Zach a call.

Regrettably, though, in the aftermath of the phenomenal Hillary interview, Zach proved every bit as unoriginally “Hollywood” about his partisan approach to politics as the rest of them, explaining how he could never have a “mentally challenged” person like Trump on his show.  To be fair, he’s probably right that this wouldn’t be the best format for Trump, but the idea that he wouldn’t have Trump on because of that is as far-fetched as the idea that Hillary really was diagnosed with pneumonia the day she went on his show.  I mean, come on- this is a top-rate professional who would have no issues spinning a narcissist like Trump into comedic gold-  he did it for Justin Bieber, for crying out loud!  Plus, Trump would be great for ratings, and however arrogant and insufferable the man might be, he has shown that he usually knows how to take a joke.  (To the extent that he doesn’t, Zach could make the interview even better!)

Far more likely for the Between Two Ferns “blackout” of Trump is pressure from the entertainment industry.  This isn’t to say that anyone is making threatening 3 AM phone calls to Zach…well, besides Hillary’s people, perhaps.  But consciously or not, surely Zach and his people recognize the intense criticism that even someone as popular as Jimmy Fallon is taking, for daring to treat Donald Trump like any other celebrity guest.  (Collectively, Saturday Night Live received the same criticism last year.)  The message from Tinseltown is clear- Trump is a danger for which there is no precedent in modern American life, and any attempt to humanize him will be met swiftly and mercilessly.

gettyimages-487813454-trump-fallon-tonightEven if the outside pressure has nothing to do with this, there is plenty of evidence that many Trump detractors hope that it does.  We have seen and heard, from many in the media, that Donald Trump cannot be treated as a “normal” candidate.  In other words, those who attempt to shine the slightest bit of light on Trump’s more “human” qualities are aiding and abetting this dangerous monster.  The reality is that this attitude says far more about the critics than it does about Trump.  Everyone should have a fair opportunity to show who they really are, particularly those running for President.  If Trump is truly is a threat to the republic, then let the people decide that for themselves.  There is plenty of evidence going around of what kind of person he is overall, without having to “protect” people from seeing him in an occasional moment of levity.  The same goes for Hillary Clinton.

Finally, to liberals smugly convinced that they are better at taking a joke than conservatives (see the comment section of the Huffington Post link)- get back to us when you don’t get so worked up about Donald Trump’s hair being rumpled.

*I’m not trying to pretend that I’m on a first name basis with Zach Galifianakis- I just hate typing out his last name!

South Park Is Still Great, While Colin Kaepernick Is Not

South Park Is Still Great, While Colin Kaepernick Is Not

(Note- this is A *SPOILER HEAVY* review of the season 20 premiere episode)

It’s impossible to pinpoint a single reason why South Park remains so incredible. For one thing, the height of the show’s popularity came years before the height of the show’s quality.  Think about it- when the feature film “Bigger, Longer, and Uncut” was released at the end of the last century, not a single word had yet been spoken by Butters, Randy was merely known as Stan’s dad, and Cartman was, in hindsight, a somewhat one-dimensional foul-mouthed ignoramus, still a long ways from the double-crossing schemer that we’ve come to know and, for lack of a better word, love.

It’s also refreshing, in a time where most topical comedy seems to be about finding the easiest path to getting a “WOOOOOO!!!” from a sympathetic audience, South Park continues to take shots at targets everywhere. Even longtime fans of the show will find themselves saying, “Heeeey- wait a minute!” at least once or twice an episode. All of its elite peers, such as The Simpsons and Family Guy, peaked years ago. With an ever-growing list of things to offend anyone, combined with the increasing madness of our world, the one which South Park resides in has more than enough reasons to be as compelling as ever.

Recently, though, the most important change to the show has been in the format. With prior seasons more or less relying on each episode as a standalone, last season followed a format usually suited for dramas, with continuous storylines throughout.  If not watched from beginning to end, the viewer could be left very confused.  (I’m speaking from experience.)  Given the renewed praise of the show, which introduced PC Principal as one of the show’s newest main characters, it’s no surprise that Season 20 is sticking with this format.

Also back are the Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s lightning-fast real time responses to current events. The commercial for the opener, featuring the townspeople singing the “new national anthem” in a scene not actually shown in the episode, imply a strong distaste for Colin Kaepernick’s perceived self-aggrandizing.  On the flip side, the opening scene of season 20 gives us South Park’s girl volleyball team, protesting a legitimate grievance during the National Anthem.  In this case, the target is the public’s reaction to the protest, too caught up in turning the National Anthem protest into a sport, to consider what the point of the protest might actually be.  On the show, the cause was misogynistic cyberbullying, serving as a stand-in for real life police brutality.  This is classic South Park- before you can get too comfortable nodding up and down, clapping like a trained seal at your TV set as the host (or hostess) validates your etched-in-stone worldview, you instead find your worldview being challenged.  In other words, those who want more public attention focused on injustices, might wonder if Colin Kaepernick’s divisive tactics are the right way to go about it.  On the other hand, others might wonder if Kaepernick’s cause, if not Kaepernick himself, might at least be worth considering.

south-park-garrisonBut that wasn’t even the biggest target of the night for this episode. Returning to the spotlight, more relevant even now than when the joke was first introduced, was “Giant Douche versus Turd Sandwich.”  This has gotten some criticism from other parts of the Internet, seemingly because some take umbrage at Hillary Clinton being referred to as Turd Sandwich.  Lacking in self-awareness, many of these people scream at South Park’s “false equivalency” of Donald Trump’s awfulness and Hillary Clinton’s (from their point of view) far-less dangerous qualities.  Always ahead of the curve, Parker and Stone seem to have anticipated this in advance, in the form of Randy Marsh, incredulously wondering how anyone can possibly consider voting for a Giant Douche (Trump) over a Turd Sandwich (Clinton).  In fact, those paying attention to the episode in a non-partisan light would see that they did actually spend more time skewering Trump- with Mr. Garrison used as his stand-in, to hilarious effect.  Some pro-Clinton critics also griped that the level of Trump bashing wasn’t enough, which missed yet another point of this plotline- that Trump’s buffoonish behavior (or in this case, Garrison’s) has been a net positive for the guy.  Besides, they had his solution to getting rid of America’s enemies as “f*cking them all to death”!  What else were they supposed to do, exactly, have him shoot someone on 5th Avenue?!  That wouldn’t have mattered, either!

But wait- there was even more to this episode!  It was a long summer, and there were plenty of other topics to address, as well.  Thanks largely to Eric Cartman, we witnessed jabs at-

  • Internet Trolls
  • Amy Schumer’s increasingly tired act
  • Overly sensitive reactions to criticisms of the Ghostbusters reboot
  • An excess of reboots, complete with over-the-top praise for JJ Abrams’ minor tweaking of classic plotlines
  • Gratuitous gender-bending roles, courtesy of a brief mention of Token, playing the role of Little Red Riding Hood’s grandma (“Get over it!”)
  • Hashtag Activism
  • And finally- for those who disdain Parker and Stone’s anti-liberal leanings- deceptively tasty right-wing nostalgia fruit, known as ‘member berries.  (As in, ” ‘member Reagan?”).

The last one- which, in fairness, had nothing to do with Cartman- is of particular interest.  Although it was fairly lonely as the one target solely aimed at conservatives, it also is the one that has the potential for the most mayhem this season.  (It took every ounce of strength for me not to type out, “bare the most fruit.”  Forgive me, dear reader.)  Starting out as relatively harmless nostalgia vehicles, mostly by mentioning great movies of yesteryear, the berries find their way into sinister territory, reminding Randy of a time when there weren’t as many Mexicans in the United States.  Not one to normally figure out when he’s being duped, Randy almost immediately senses that something is horribly wrong.  This was quite out of character, but perhaps the writers thought that having a beloved character like Randy susceptible to racism was a bridge too far for viewers to cross.

The surprise I felt at Randy’s awareness at the situation, however, was nothing compared to the twist ending, though, as we discover that the troll is Kyle’s dad, of all people.  Near everyone in the world, both South Park’s and ours, figured it was Cartman, but the South Park writers have shown themselves to be capable of some pretty jarring twist endings, ever since “Scott Tenorman Must Die”.  Why a mild-mannered lawyer, usually one of the more level-headed characters on the show, would take to the Internet to troll elementary school girls is anyone’s guess.  Finding out why is a good reason to keep tuning in, in case you needed one.  Which you shouldn’t.