Brave Thinkers

Illustration by Quickhoney

Name: Trey Parker and Matt Stone
Job: South Park Creators
Why they’re brave: They managed to create a runaway commercial success even while alienating everybody.
Quote: “Sometimes what’s right isn't as important as what’s profitable.”


For 12 years, the pair has produced one of the best satires on television, while achieving new standards of vulgarity and political incorrectness. Parker and Stone have risked alienating advertisers and audiences alike with an ambitious, comprehensive offensiveness that lampoons the tired culture war and the cycle of moralizing protest and hypocritical hyperventilating it sets in motion. In the process, they’ve shown that there’s an audience for smart political satire, even (or perhaps especially) when it’s expressed by foul-mouthed, poorly animated schoolchildren: the show remains the highest-rated offering on Comedy Central. That popularity recently led the pair to seal with the network a groundbreaking $75 million digital deal—in which they receive 50 percent of online ad revenue and help spread South Park content through mobile devices, video games, and various Web-based iterations—that could offer a model for other TV programs whose online success has thus far benefited only pirates.

Presented by

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in National

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In