Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Jew Gold: Clinging to stereotypes or satire?

Obviously anyone who has seen South Park would agree that the amount of satire is just outrageous, which, in my opinion makes the show such a great thing. South Park clearly has no limits of what they will make fun of, but why be so consistent with the Jew jokes? I do not believe that the writers of South Park are truly against Jews, but of all the things that are made fun of in the show, Jews are the most common target. All of the episodes of South Park contain remarks about Jews being cheap or the ones who killed Jesus, or some other common stereotype that has stuck around for thousands of years. Yet one episode in particular called to me when discussing Theophilus. In the story we all read, we recall that a Christian man is convinced by a Jew, who the make a strong point to tell is good with money, to sell his soul to the devil. Though Cartman in South Park, does not sell his soul, he is aware of his friend Kyle's attentiveness to money. (because he is a Jew). In the episode, "Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow" the boys are put in a situation where they are near death, (yet again), and when trying to escape a near death situation Cartman pulls a gun on Kyle and demands that he hand over his "Jew Gold". Kyle attempts to tell Cartman that he is full of it and that Jews do not actually carry a bag of gold around their neck. Yet Cartman is persistent and demands that he hand over the gold. Kyle finally admits to having to gold, and throws Cartman the bag. Cartman then again demands for the real gold knowing that all Jews carry a "decoy bag of gold" to protect their real bag of gold. This is completely ridiculous, and I believe that the writers are drawing on how crazy some of the stereotypes that have been made about Jews. Although they are using satire, they are allowing the stereotypes to remain alive, with no malintent I hope. I also think that it is important to say that earlier in the episode, when Cartman and Stan broke the Beaverton damn, and caused the issue that took place in the whole episode, Stan insists that they tell. To this Cartman responds, if you tell Kyle he will just "Jew you out" Again, I don't believe that South Park is truly being racist or anti-semitic, because the poke at every race, gender, sexual preference, etc., but I do believe they are in a way keeping certain stereotypes about Jews alive, while making humor of the situation/stereotypes. 


  1. I found this post to be really interesting. I also watch a lot of South Park, and when we were doing this assignment, the thought did not even cross my mind about how much racism and stereotyping South Park uses. The whole point of South Park is to be a satirical show that makes puns of modern day celebrities and national events. I thought you picked a really good episode to display the negative connotations that Jewish people are represented with, and thinking about it now; you could almost use any episode with Cartman and Kyle to establish these stereotypes. I also found it interesting that Cartman is the asshole of the show, and Kyle is the innocent likable character, yet he is the one who gets described in a negative way.

  2. The thing I liked most about your post came from our discussion during class. You brought up the idea or the question as to why these jewish puns and stereotypes still exist today. Jews have always been persecuted and seen as the scapegoat, but why has this lasted for so long? Is it because we throw around racial slurs meaningless that keeps the notion alive, or is there still an anxiety amongst the Christians of how Judaism and Christianity is linked. Since all of our readings from class, and basically all medieval literature, have an underlying white Christian bias, I wonder what other "saracens" felt about the Jews during the middle ages. Meaning, how did other religions, like Islam, view the Jews during this era? (Obviously there is tension now with the Arab-Israeli conflict along the Gaza strip) Are there similar manuscripts linked to, for example, the Islamic culture that are obviously anti-Semitic?

  3. There's a South Park episode called "The Passion of The Jew" in which everyone in the community of South Park loses faith in the economy. In the episode Stan manages to get a credit card with no limit and charges the debt of all the townspeople to his personal card. In this way Stan saves Southpark by restoring everyone's faith in the economy. One additional thing I would not is that if the creators of South Park are making fun of anyone it is anti-semetic people. Stan, the Jew, is almost always portrayed positively. Cartman, the antisemite, is generally portrayed negatively.