Letters

"Disgraceful!" "I'll boycott!" "Vote or bite me!" Salon readers respond -- and how -- to Heather Havrilesky's interview with "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.


Salon Staff
October 14, 2004 12:00AM (UTC)

[Read "Puppet Masters," by Heather Havrilesky]

I was made a little less optimistic about the world by your interview with Trey Parker and Matt Stone, particularly as they are clearly talented and clever people and I have no doubt that "Team America: World Police" will be a joy to watch.

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Unfortunately the philosophical argument that Parker and Stone feel is advanced by TA:WP (dicks and assholes) is at radical variance with the current state of the world. Powerful and ignorant dicks (let's say the current U.S. administration and its foreign lapdogs) have done and may (shudder) continue to do more harm to the world than assholes (Osama and buddies, Saddam, Kim Il Sung) ever have done or could ever do.

It is not "vote or die" for comfortably off U.S. citizens, but it certainly is "vote or the towelheads and the polar bears get it in the shorts again, just for kicks."

-- Micheal Lunny, Dublin, Ireland

Wow! I never knew those "South Park" guys were such idiots, not to mention pussies! Why do they think they're any different than the self-righteous artists they're targeting?

They reminded me of Vanilla Ice in their reference to their lower-middle-class upbringing. As if the vast majority of the people in this country hadn't grown up in worse. Get out of your bubble, boys.

To me, a Gulf War I veteran, they're nothing but a couple more chicken hawks who support an unjustified use of power for their amusement.

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They preach how the ignorant and uninformed should abstain from voting. Well, I believe they could do something more damaging than vote. They could make a movie their equally ignorant followers could base opinions upon.

-- Dan Critchley

Four pages dedicated to Trey and Matt's inanity! References to dicks and assholes aside, hearing them talk makes you scratch your head and wonder how these two could possibly be responsible for all of that great satire that is "South Park."

-- Matt Cardwell

Cute. Hollywood celebrities make a movie that complains about Hollywood celebrities. And they say irony is dead ...

-- Christopher Smith

Have these wankers ever actually traveled outside of the U.S.? And I don't mean one of those summer backpacking tours through Europe on the college gradution-present Euro-pass, where you stay at youth hostels with other young, spoiled Americans and "do" each city in a day or two.

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Not only is America living in a bubble of optimism, it's looking more and more like "The Matrix": Society's fuel is consumerism and keeping the populace ignorant encourages them to spend, spend, spend.

Irresponsible ignoramouses like these two jackasses help to ensure that the hoi polloi remain contendedly plugged in.

Disgraceful!

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Let's hope Kerry wins this election and brings some diplomacy and dignity back to the U.S. And thanks to socially responsible citizens like Sean Penn who dare to use their wealth and connections to effect change, even when it's not "politically correct."

-- Keira Holland

Your interview with the masterminds behind "Team America" was most illuminating. I've noticed that every historical epoch gets the pop-cultural art form it deserves: The Reagan years got "Rambo" and "Top Gun" (lavish special effects, testosterone in lieu of character development), and apparently Bush II now has "Team America" and two creative artists who are capable of articulating the world situation in terms of assholes and dicks. If I understand the intricacies of their argument, the latter are good, pretty much, and the former are bad.

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Actually, their own imagery, which conjures up images of the world as a scene of ongoing prison rape, is probably the best summation of America's place in the world during the W years that we're likely to get. What's still more fitting is Parker's and Stone's command of the English language. I'm reminded of the passage in "1984" where Winston is rebuked because although his prose is perfectly correct Newspeak, it's clear that he's still translating from English, rather than really thinking in Newspeak. Well, these guys obviously speak and think in the dialect that is appropriate for the bright, sunshiny new world that unfolds before us as we contemplate the possibility of a second term of George W.

As they put it in your interview, "It's like, you know what? Our lives are pretty fucking great. And a lot of the lives we see around us are pretty fucking great, and everything's gonna be OK. That's just our basic philosophy." In other words, when the words for "karma" and "hubris" don't spring to mind readily enough to influence the political discourse of the day, things look pretty fucking great. What were we just discussing?

In the end, it's not puppet sex or profanity that offend in the present instance. It's the fact that they have displaced actual thought, actual wit, actual appreciation of the horrific absurdity of America's place in the world today, and the Americans who, through their focus on bread and circuses to the exclusion of anything else, have enabled the absurdity. Sorry I just don't get it, guys, but I'm, you know, a dick. Or an asshole? So many choices!

-- Jeff Perry

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Trey Parker and Matt Stone are about the least intelligent, least articulate people I've ever read interviewed by Salon. No wonder they've hit it big in Hollywood.

Trey Parker: "Look, we were below middle class growing up, and I had a dream that someday things were gonna be better, and I assume that's the way it is in Third World countries ..."

Next to these sheltered, myopic idiots, George W. Bush looks like an actual statesman.

However, not all was lost on this visit to the hotdog factory. There is value in seeing just who forges our culture. And it reminds me why over the rest of this millennium our era will doubtless be one of the least remembered eras in history. Navel-gazing has no shelf life.

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-- Matt St. Amand

What a load of too-cool-for-you hooey. All these creeps prove is that you can be both a dick and an asshole, or two dicks and two assholes: three if you include their third musketeer, Dennis Miller.

-- Peter Hansen

I'm sure that detainees in the Gitmos and Abu Ghraibs the world over will be cheered by the fact that Parker and Stone are so gosh-darn "optimistic" about the direction that America is heading.

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-- Kevin Leahy

Those guys are hysterically funny, obviously really smart and talented till forever. But I can't stand people in show business who stay in character during interviews with the press. Their pleas to the uninformed to stay home instead of, oh I don't know, getting informed, ring a little false.

I suppose they're purposely trying to get a rise out of politically minded people like me, and I wish their ploy didn't work. But, like I said, they're smart, and they're talented, so the fact that they're such assholes themselves in this interview really pissed me off.

-- David Zaza

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First of all, I like "South Park." I really shouldn't but I do.

Second of all, I haven't seen "Team America" so I don't know whether I'd find it hilarious or just stupid.

But based on Stone's closing statement ("If you don't want to vote, you don't have to. Fuck that vote or die shit. I hate that"), I'll exercise my measly bit of economic power and boycott the movie and any future endeavors by this duo.

It is true that you don't have to vote. Like any "right," you don't have to exercise it, but to belittle the foundation of our democracy is barely defensible.

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Stone laid out the reason why the youth are barely noticed by politicians while the elderly are courted with near worship.

The math is easy. Even Cartman could do it. Seniors vote in large numbers and the youth, historically, have not.

If you want to change something, you need to be heard, so get your butt to the polls. It is the least and yet the most valuable thing that this country asks of you.

-- Stacey Mathews

"South Park" is pretty funny, and the movie was terrific, but I don't give a damn what Parker and Stone actually think because they don't give a shit either. Please, please, please spare us further "interviews" with them and just allow their work to speak for itself. Beyond that, I'm not at all interested in what they have say.

-- Vivienne Leheny

Some of those old folks with the grim expressions may have taken the Southeast Asian version of the current low-budget Americans abroad tour. I narrowly missed that one myself, thanks at least partially to John Kerry having the guts to come back and tell the truth about that particular awfulness.

Vote or bite me, you jack-offs.

-- Patrick Tibbits

It's too bad that I find many of the things Parker and Stone have done are so funny. Their shallow and myopic takes on voting and our system in general are very depressing. Their "above it all" attitude about voting and our responsibilities as citizens is unfortunate. I wonder if either of them is still eligible for a draft. Now, that would be poetic justice. They could have the opportunity to actually be one of the "dicks" they talk about. Then, under fire and surrounded with blood and death, they could possibly reevaluate "assholes" like Sean Penn.

-- Bill Batten


Salon Staff

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