Philosophers and South Park
From time to time we hear about zany professors of popular culture using their academic credentials to elevate the most aggressively offensive and potty-mouthed TV shows into the Great Works of Western Civilization. What causes these bookworms in academe to slither around trying to intellectualize our cultural rubbish? It's like getting a Master's degree in restroom graffiti. Can you really compare
That's exactly what happens in a new book titled
Maybe this fellow also delivers lectures on the subject. That's some bang for the buck for parents forking over $31,628 annually to send their child to this sorry excuse for a college.
Professor Young mocks those who find "danger" in
Citing Socrates, Young says those uptight people who find harm in this television show are inherently opposed to questioning, and questioning things is the source of all wisdom. Many powerful people in
Young praises the “non-conformist, reflective virtue” of the questioning children of
The good professor seems to have no concept that it's the writers of
How do professors like this stoop to the bizarre idea that children can be enlightened by a show that labors to fit 160 uses of the S-bomb into a half-hour? A show that delights in having Jesus Christ defecate on President Bush with his “yummy, yummy crap”? How can you elevate that into the idea that watching
Young insists we're supposed to be wiser than what's obvious, what's staring at us and screaming at us from the TV set. We're supposed to be swept along by the siren song of Sigmund Freud, who argued that the use of vulgarity is merely verbalizing the drives and desires that we often repress, and that laughter at crude jokes allows us to release our harmful inhibitions. “This is what makes the show's crudeness so essential,” Young argues. It creates a “space” for discussion which keeps us from transforming our repression into violence or social exclusion.
Young then attempts to argue that Terrance and Philip, an infantile cartoon within the infantile cartoon, is really one of the better offerings in television: “Is Terrance and Philip really more vapid, crude, and pointless than Jerry Springer or Wife Swap? Is it more mindless than Fox News, The 700 Club, or Law and Order? The answer is no.” He then claims what offends
This is where Young really makes a joke out of himself. Everything on television is mindless in general, and he can make no fine distinctions? To be charitable, comparing Law and Order to
There is an ocean of difference between the entertaining and enlightening excellence that the discriminating viewer can find occasionally on television and the mindless drivel that often airs on Comedy Central. But some philosophy professors are too lost in an academic hall of mirrors to notice.