***Update: Stephen Spruiell reports at The Media Blog…”I just got off the phone with a Comedy Central spokesman. I asked him about last night’s episode of South Park in which, at a moment right before the prophet Mohammed was supposed to make a cameo, the words, “Comedy Central has refused to broadcast an image of Mohammed on their network” appeared on the screen. I asked him whether this truly was Comedy Central’s decision or whether this was just another gag (with South Park, you never know). He said: ‘They reflected it accurately. That was a Comedy Central decision.’ Just in case there was any confusion, that settles it. Comedy Central censored the image.”***
***Update II: Reader Jason E. writes, “The uncensored version of the show is already available on various P2P file sharing sites. I just watched the bit with Mohammed. It’s the same Mohammed that is shown in previous episodes, he walks in, gives Peter a salmon helmet?, says jihad, jihad a couple times and leaves. OBTW don’t know if you are aware but apparently Mohammed is briefly visible during the opening credits. I was not able to confirm this myself even after several viewings.” (Ed. note: I didn’t see it, either, but several other readers have mentioned this)***
***Update III: AP covers the story:
Parker and Stone were angered when told by Comedy Central several weeks ago that they could not run an image of Muhammad, according to a person close to the show who didn’t want to be identified because of the issue’s sensitivity. The network’s decision was made over concerns for public safety, the person said. Comedy Central said in a statement issued Thursday: “In light of recent world events, we feel we made the right decision.” Its executives would not comment further.
Everyone’s buzzing about last night’s South Park episode. It’s currently the #1 search term at Technorati. So, did Comedy Central censor Mohammed or not?
Bottom line from The Anchoress:
All in all, pretty funny in some places, dumb in others – I really want to know if Comedy Central caved – the message was clear: either it’s all fair game, or nothing is, and to appease is to concede valuable liberties. I concur.
Kyle to the president of Fox as Cartman points the gun: “You can’t do what he wants just because he’s the one threatening you with violence!”
Download and watch clip (.wmv file).
Me, I was just happy to see someone, anyone, in the pop culture world confront some of the fundamental issues raised by the Cartoon Jihad for a mainstream American audience. Still would like to have seen them air the 12 Mohammed Cartoons, though…
Did you see the episode? What are your thoughts? I’m opening up comments for the lunchtime hour. (Update: 1:45pm EDT comments closed. Thanks for the discussion!)
Update: Send your feedback to Comedy Central about its decision to censor Mohammed here.
Update II: Here’s another clip from the show which Comedy Central did find acceptable involving Jesus and defecation.
Download and watch the clip (.wmv file).
TV Squad weighs in.
From the comments section: Kevin C. writes…
“My feelings on the whole issue can be summed up in two words: Comedhimmi Central.”
More: Jeff Goldstein…
[I]f what it takes to keep Muslims from engaging in jihad—or at the very least, holding public wildings over cartoons—is accepting their demands that we don’t talk about their faith in a way that upsets them, that is a sacrifice I’m not willing to make. And no one who is promoting classical liberalism in its cultural battle with the theocratic determinism of the Islamists should be willing to concede this point—even if they do so hoping that it means Comedy Central might not make fun of Jesus anymore.
This war is an ideological war. George Bush has been stressing western liberal values and universal rights. Muddying that message by surrendering one of the most important of those rights—the freedom to criticize—is a good start down the path to defeat.
Flashback…Doug TenNapel on South Park and double standards.
Cam Edwards has the 2001 “Super Best Friends” episode flashback with Mohammed: