This is Epth Nation

Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Tom Cruise vs. South Park: Sorting it Out

I've never been the biggest fan of South Park, even though I love satire. To me, it's alternately brilliant and horrible, and the sameness of all the voices is distracting. I sorta feel the same way about it that I do about Family Guy: it's good, but I'm probably too old for it. There comes a point in every episode where they just go too far and I can't watch anymore because it's making me angry. I guess that's why people like it -- it mananges to offend even the unoffendable.

The whole point of the show is that its controversial -- the guys behind it, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, just try to satirically attack as many things as possible in the most offensive ways possible, and then sit back and watch their fans knowingly wink to one another over its subversive brilliance. When they offend somebody, they are doing their job. And since they're on cable, nobody cares -- until now, apparently.

Nobody knows how true it is, but this is how the story goes: Last year an episode of South Park aired that made fun of Scientology. The episode was scheduled to re-air, but was pulled at the last minute. Isaac Hayes, the voice of "Chef," on the show, is a Scientologist. He stated (or did he? -- see below) that he could not be a part of the show anymore with all its "religious intolerance." Parker and Stone pointed out that Hayes didn't care about them making fun of religion until they poked fun at Scientology. In any case, the offending episode was pre-empted for one of "Chef's greatest hits," to honor that character upon Hayes' retirement.

Then, the story gets weird. Rumors flew around the internet that Tom Cruise (always the face of Scientology, for better or for worse) threatened to cancel his promotion of Mission Impossible 3 unless they yanked the episode (which he could do since both Comedy Central and MI:3 are Viacom productions). The internet also reported that Cruise forced Hayes to quit. Then Parker and Stone took out an ad in Variety that said:
"So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun! Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies. Curses and drat! You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail! Hail Xenu!!!"

Which is pretty funny, if you know the mythic story behind Scientology.

Tom Cruise then denied any threatening anyone with anything, and as it turns out the controversial episode will be run after all, this Wednesday. Talk about your free publicity. I guess we'll see if the midgety Cruise shows up on those press junkets for the movie. I guess we'll find out if those threats were real.

And check out this Fox article. Hayes suffered a stroke, and his "friends in Memphis" say that he never quit anything. He's apparently been rehabbing for 2 months. But if Hayes didn't issue that statement about religious intolerance, who did? Who would claim to be speaking for Isaac Hayes?

Is this really all a publicity stunt? Scientology attacks everyone, but would they really try to squelch these guys? That's like Dan Quayle attacking Murphy Brown -- it just makes them look stupid and out of touch.

None of this makes any sense, but that's life.


  • At 9:29 AM, Blogger Michael said…

    I can say that I've never been offended by Family Guy or South Park. I don't always agree with the views portrayed on the show, but I always still find it funny. And I will always find it funny that cartoons can display truth better than any News Network. And you don't need to know the Scientology mythology to find the ad funny. I mean come on, who would believe that garbage as a religion? I'm kidding, but not at the same time. But what does, "anozinizing", mean? It's not on and I'm too lazy to actually get up and look in Webster's dictionary.

  • At 12:59 PM, Blogger Mike Pape said…

    I believe anozinizing is an L. Ron Hubbard-created Scientology-specific world. I think I remember that.


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