Why South Park Matters

Mary Elizabeth Williams calls it the most patriotic show on television:

O'Reilly is right when he calls Parker and Stone courageous. And the fact that I just wrote that Bill O'Reilly is correct either means that the earth has gone off its axis or that "South Park" is bigger than the left or the right, conservative or radical, or Christian or Muslim. It's American.

Assuming they don't get martyred in the process, Parker and Stone's greatest triumph is that they actually have a chance to wrest the notion of patriotism from the kooks spitting outside the White House and remind us all what it really means. These are two guys quite literally now putting their lives on the line for the ideal that this country was founded on: the right to say whatever the fuck you want without fear of retribution -- but with the acceptance of responsibility for your words and ideas. Patriotism, like comedy, isn't supposed to make anybody comfortable. It doesn't promise not to offend. It's dangerous and scary and it makes people mad because it questions authority. It's powerful stuff. One might even call it revolutionary.