Comedy Central pussed out!

BREAKING NEWS: Comedy Central really did censor Muhammad!

Before and after: The image at left is from South Park‘s “Super Best Friends” episode, nearly five years ago, long before Muslim extremists launched riots, destroyed embassies and committed murders in response to those Danish cartoons. The image at right is from last night. Ladies and gentlemen, the terrorists have won.

Stephen Spruiell has the scoop:

I’m not sure if it’s been reported yet, but for what it’s worth, I just got off the phone with a Comedy Central spokesman. I asked him about last night’s episode of South Park in which, at a moment right before the prophet Mohammed was supposed to make a cameo, the words, “Comedy Central has refused to broadcast an image of Mohammed on their network” appeared on the screen.

I asked him whether this truly was Comedy Central’s decision or whether this was just another gag (with South Park, you never know). He said:

They reflected it accurately. That was a Comedy Central decision.

Just in case there was any confusion, that settles it. Comedy Central censored the image.

Well, either that, or Comedy Central is in on the joke. But that seems implausible, so I assume it was indeed a Comedy Central censor job, which means I was wrong and Bob was right… Comedy Central “pussed out,” as foreshadowed by the trailer at the end of Part 1. (“Will television executives fight for free speech? Or will Comedy Central puss out?”)

This is an absolutely ridiculous and abhorrent decision by Comedy Central, on so many levels. First of all, in the very same episode, they showed President Bush and Jesus Christ, among others, crapping on the American flag, which is obviously much more offensive than an image of Muhammad just standing in a doorway. Censoring the latter, but not the former, is totally unjustifiable by any reasonable standard. In fact, there were about a hundred things in “Cartoon Wars” that were more objectively offensive than an image of Muhammad in the doorway would have been! The fact that all images of Muhammad are prohibited in the Muslim faith doesn’t mean anything to Comedy Central, unless Comedy Central’s president is a Muslim or something. As Kyle said in Part 1, the prohibition on showing images of Muhammad means that Muslims can’t show his image, not that no one can show his image. That’s as nonsensical as claiming that the Torah’s prohibition on eating pork means that no one can eat pork, whether or not they’re a Jew! The rules in religious texts are only binding on the adherants of the religion in question! With the Danish cartoons, there was the added element that some of the cartoons were offensive in terms of what they showed Muhammad doing or saying, not just offensive because they showed him at all. But here, the image itself was (so far as we know) just Muhammad standing in a doorway, not doing anything that would offend the average non-radical-Muslim’s sensibilities. So censoring it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever from any principled standpoint.

Moreover, as I pointed out yesterday when I assumed South Park was just kidding about the censorship thing: “If by chance Comedy Central really did censor Muhammed, that really is outrageous, considering they’ve shown him before, almost five years ago. Of course, that was before the Danish cartoons fiasco. So, clearly, the only plausible explanation for why they would censor him now, when they didn’t censor him before, is the fear of violence — i.e., giving into fear and intimidation, letting the terrorists and extremists win.” Especially considering that there has been no Muhammad-cartoon-related violence in this country, the “Cartoon Wars” episodes have been getting very little attention in the press, and so far as we know, no one was actively threatening Comedy Central, it’s even more insane to give in to hypothetical threats of non-existant violence. But it would be absurd either way. Comedy Central (and its parent company Viacom) has completely and utterly caved to radical Islamism, to a degree that’s far worse than anything that happened before in the whole Cartoon Jihad scandal.

If that “spokesman” is telling the truth, that is.

To be honest, the more I think about it, the more I’m not entirely willing to let go of the possibility that Comedy Central is in on the joke, the “spokesman” is lying, and they’re still messing with us. Either that, or the image that the South Park animators submitted was of Muhammad naked, or Muhammad wearing a suicide bomb, or something like that. Don’t get me wrong, I have no trouble condemning the MSM and media corporations when they deserve it, and I have no illusions that they are pure or intellectually honest, but this act of censorship strikes me as so irrational, absurd and unbelieveable that I honestly have a hard time, well, believing it.

UPDATE: Aha! The Volokh Conspiracy got a slightly different answer from Comedy Central:

In response to my inquiries whether the statement aired on South Park on Wednesday night was accurate, early this morning an official with media relations at Comedy Central gave me an evasive answer, “Well, not exactly.” He then referred me to a Comedy Central VP who wasn’t answering his phone.

The words “not exactly,” in response to the question of whether Comedy Central’s decision was reflected accurately, would seem to lend credence to my theory that perhaps Parker and Stone submitted the cartoon with a genuinely, grossly offensive image of Muhammad (even more grossly offensive than Jesus crapping on the American flag??) that they knew Comedy Central would definitely censor, and then they had the President Bush character inaccurately describe the hidden image — “Hey, that wasn’t bad at all. They just showed Mohammed standing there, looking normal” — in order to make Comedy Central look bad. I certainly wouldn’t put it past them.

More blog reaction from Michelle Malkin (who, incidentally, gets a hat tip for pointing me to Stephen Spruiell’s scoop), Captain Ed (who, like me, believes — or believed, anyway — that it wasn’t really censored), The Anchoress, and InstaPundit.

Video of the episode here, in WMV format.

P.S. Re: “not exactly,” another possibility is that it was a Viacom decision, not a Comedy Central decision, but now they’re circling the wagons, and the corporation has ordered the network spokesmen to take responsibility for it and not blame Viacom, in order to put up a united front.

UPDATE 2: Here is Captain Ed’s reaction to the spokesman’s statement:

Comedy Central confirmed with NRO’s Steven Spruiell that they indeed censored the South Park episode to block the depiction of Mohammed. I’m flabbergasted; I cannot comprehend how they could do that while still leaving the “Super Best Friends” episode in the rotation and a depiction of Mohammed in the opening credits. After their cave-in on “Trapped In The Closet”, I suppose I should not have been so surprised, but I really am. And very disappointed.

I, too, am “flabbergasted,” which is why I remain somewhat skeptical. But until I hear otherwise, I have no choice but to assume that Comedy Central’s spokesman is telling the truth here, unbelieveably ridiculous as that truth may be.

UPDATE 3: Final, official confirmation — maybe — here. I still think this whole thing might be a publicity stunt.

17 Responses to “Comedy Central pussed out!”

  1. Lojo says:

    (Just posted about this minutes ago in the other thread!! GAH!)

    All I know is that, if Comedy Central is telling the truth about this, then I want to no longer hear media companies and news agencies expound on the holiness of free speech when, under an entirely flimsy threat, their knees buckle quicker than Bea Aurthur holding a semi on top of her shoulders.

    What did the man say? Virtue is what you do (or how you act) when nobody is watching. Similarly, its what you do (or how you act) when you could possibly have something to lose.

  2. David Kreutz says:

    Clearly the idea of Mohammed giving the family guy dad a football helmet with a fish on it was deemed grotesquely offensive, I mean think about it.

    The fish was an early symbol of Christianity (and is still used today). So clearly that means the Mohammed is endorsing Christianity and that is grossly offensive.

    And the football helmet? Think about it, football? Pigskin? We all know that pigs are offensive to the muslim religion and clearly football must be because the football used to be made of pigskin.

    I mean Comedy Central just had no choice, they had to pull such an obviously offensive image, they just HAD to.

  3. Lojo says:

    The sad part of it is, I recognize their RIGHT to censor the show, and I am not all that worked up over the censorship. It is the SELECTIVE censorship by CC and the news agencies in general that really gets my ire.

  4. Alasdair says:

    1) It’s a TV show …

    2) It’s a satirical TV show …

    3) It’s a satirical shock-TV show …

    So what’s so $#@$@#ing important about it to get folk so riled up ?

    If you don’t like the Comedy Central decision, don’t watch ’em …

    If you don’t mind it, continue to watch ’em (or not) …

    If you really need to feel your pantitoes in a bunchie, isn’t there any better topic about which to self-martyr ?

    OY !


  5. Angrier and Angrier says:

    Technically Comedy Central could show a penis on the air, but they don’t. Is that censorship too, or an editorial decision?

  6. jar jar blinks says:


    we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused, unfortunately we feel that letting jar jar spout off with his potentially offensive and largly stupid views would be irrisponsible on our part. after all fundamentalist idiots might get really upset. and because we feel you idiots might be offended we have decided to make that decision for you, and there is nothing wrong with that. we would like to leave you with the following impression: it’s okay to lampoon some religions, your religions, but not their religions… because we’re scared and that’s what it comes down to, fear… god bless america

  7. jar jar blinks says:

    hmm, half my post went bye bye…

  8. jar jar blinks says:

    and with it went my irony…

  9. al fuqwad says:

    Death to Loy. An intifada against you, your family, and your undergraduate place of learning.

  10. Scientizzle says:

    al fuqwad is clearly a bRuin. The name fits…

  11. jar jar blinks says:

    wait, half my censored censorship post went bye bye… that’s censorship…

    phew, found my irony, always in the last place you look….

  12. Lojo says:

    Angrier –

    Context is king. If they were worried about offending people, why wouldn’t they have editorial decisioned other religious figures being mocked, often in very crude ways?

    Its censorship not because they were acting in good taste, but because they only exercise it to one religion and not to any of the others, some in the SAME episode, that were denigrated.

    And that ignores the fact that, from what I have read, the image of Mohammed in the cartoon was not offensive at all, the sole exception being his very presence in the cartoon.

  13. Alasdair says:

    OK … now that the indignation increase is slowing down, it’s time to address the Lesser Loy’s rampant sexism – in his deliberate premeditated choice to use the expression “… pussed out! “ rather than the equally evocative yet non-sexist “… wussed out! “ … as fair-minded non-anything-ists, it is out duty to exterminate such behaviour root and branch !


  14. Brendan Loy says:

    Another “I know you’re kidding, but…” comment:

    I said “pussed out” rather than “wussed out” (or any other phrase) because that’s the term South Park itself used at the end of Part 1 when they asked, “Or will Comedy Central puss out?”

  15. Alasdair says:

    O slightly defensive Lesser Loy – now, we have to ask …

    If all your friends start jumping over a cliff, do you have to do what they did, too ? Just because South Park itself used the term in no way justifies Lesser Loy licence !


    (Ah, but this brings to my mind the days of my youth, fly-fishing on the West Coast of Scotland, where some simple deftness had ’em rising to the bait most wondrously … (contented reminiscent non-innocent grin) …)

  16. South Park vs. Cartoon Jihad/2

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    Censurati nella seconda puntata dell’episodio di South Park dedicato alle Cartoon Wars islamiche, Trey Parker e Matt Stone attaccano il network Comedy Central (da Michelle Malkin, qualche propo…