Random Rants, by Thomas Andrew Olson

Friday, March 17, 2006

Cartoon Wars come to America

Another protest has been made by the Faithful over cartoon depictions of their religion. But it's not Islam, this time.

I've never been a fan of government-induced censorship (thank God we still have a 1st Amendment!), but I think corporate censorship is also equally egregious. Apparently mega-Scientologist Tom Cruise is miffed over an episode of South Park lampooning his "religion". And since Comedy Central's parent company is also the parent company of the film studio producing his upcoming summer epic, "Mission Impossible III", he essentially told the execs that if they didn't pull the episode, he would refuse to promote the film. The execs, being totally unfamiliar with the vital principles of a free and open society as embodied in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, caved in to Cruise's demands.

In addition, Issac Hayes, the voice of the popular character "Chef" on the series for the last 10 years, who also happens to be a Scientologist, has quit his job in protest. Of course, as South Park creator Trey Parker mentioned, Hayes had no problems cashing his checks when they were taking extreme pot-shots at Fundies, Catholics, Jews, or Muslims - even Jesus Himself wasn't immune.

But no, the practitioners of a "religion" started in 1950 by a 2rd rate science fiction writer as a means of cranking up his income stream, tax free, somehow feel they have the right to be free from ridicule or insult. (To Scientologists: You all need to lighten up, and if you get stressed over it, you can always have a session "on the cans" as it were. You may think you have the Greatest Thing Since God Talked to Moses, but the rest of think you're either deluded fools with more money than brains, or simply a bit creepy. Get over yourselves.)

Well, Comedy Central may not let you see the episode, but thanks this space, you can download it here, for free. Watch and enjoy. While you're at the site, you can also educate yourself about cults, if you wish.

Meantime, I would recommend that South Park and "freedom of expression" fans express their feelings for Mr. Cruise's actions by avoiding the theatre when MI-3 is released this summer, and avoid the DVD as well. It'll be on HBO, sooner or later. Make a tape - the VCR isn't dead, after all. It's only a movie - they'll make more.


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