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.

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