Cartman has AIDS?

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We are a house divided when it comes to South Park. My wife hates it. And her moral barometer still works, so I should probably concede to her opinion on the matter. But, I generally like watching the show. Foul-mouthed and belligerent as it may be, I’m always fascinated by the show’s multi-layered (albeit, completely obscene) approach to social commentary.

Case in point. During last week’s season premiere one of the show’s main characters – Eric Cartman – contracted the HIV virus through a blood transfusion. While the thought of an eight-year-old suffering with AIDS is about the furthest thing from funny one could possibly think of, the show used the storyline to speak frankly about the AIDS epidemic and how it has managed to slip off the radar for most Americans.

So it raises the question; Have we stopped caring about AIDS in America? If so, why?

Get connected: AIDS Rochester, Compassion International: AIDS Initiative

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8 thoughts on “Cartman has AIDS?

  1. south park is great in that it’s able to communicate serious topics (often, sometimes it’s just stupid like the “biggest poo” episode w/ bono) through the eyes of potty mouthed 4th graders – and trust me, that IS how 4th graders talk. they did when i was in 4th grade! i was just talking last night with an atheist friend about the episode where cartman goes to the future and everyone is atheist, but they’re fighting over the “right” kind of atheism, showing that no matter what, people will find something to fight over. it’s deep…at times. just look at the scientology epidose, it’s great that they were able to make so many people realize just how insane that racket is. when they make fun of christians i take it in stride, b/c they make fun of EVERYONE. they’re very equal opportunist 🙂

  2. I feel you, dawg. It’s impossible to defend or explain an appreciation for South Park to someone who hates it. It’s a guilty pleasure, to be sure.

    I liked the episode. Parker and Stone are good at getting away with things no one else could. And the commentary, as usual, is worth unpacking.

    “I’m not just sure, I’m HIV positive!”

  3. So let’s unpack. Starting with the end. (Spoiler alert.)

    Cartman and Kyle were cured after discovering the cure: pumping tons of money directly into their bloodstream.

    An appeal for more dollars to be dedicated to AIDS research? Or, poking fun at global efforts to spend our way to a cure?

  4. They (Matt and Trey) would probably be happy with either interpretation. The brief scene in the African village certainly underlines the disconnect between our awareness-raising galas and the reality of AIDS.

  5. That’s another issue too. AIDS has a different face in America than it does in third-world countries.

    Here, there is still a perception that it’s an issue that’s really only prevalent in the LBGT community. Whereas in areas such as Africa statistics show that it is most rapidly spreading to married women and children.

  6. There’s actually an interview with Parker and Stone at the AV Club today. They discuss how they approach topical subject matter (language edited):

    I love the fact that Trey and I have gotten awards for being topical and satirical, but at the end of the day, we are just making jokes. If you ask me how to really solve the health-care crisis, I have f***in’ no idea, and I don’t want to be a part of it. But I can make a little fat kid yell some emotional truth about it. That’s what we’ve figured out over the years. If you’re gonna make it a TV show, you would never do the actual politics of something, but you would do the emotions behind the politics. Who cares if it’s a right-or-wrong policy—here’s how it makes me feel.

  7. from the poop/bono episode i mentioned before, i’d say stone & parker are making fun of efforts like D.A.T.A. and ONE, which is unfortunate, but also i suppose shedding light on the naivety of us people trying to do something, albeit it all seems to not really amount to anything 😦 they might not have had a hidden agenda in that one (i still haven’t seen it, so i don’t really know).

    and i don’t think it’s a LGBT plight, b/c lesbians have incredibly lower HIV/AIDS infection rates than heterosexual females. it’s gay men that the association is made with. and, black people. not to sound like obama’s pastor but it is more of an issue in “that community” (i can’t stand the divise language!). and as i said in the obama post, i don’t find it shocking for him to think the govt or some spooky behind the scenes types flooded the inner cities with crack and even created AIDS as a means of euthenasia against “undesirables” (black people, gay men). i know, i know, huge conspiracy nutjob talk…but still…i certainly wouldn’t be shocked to find out there was truth in there.

  8. Yes, we have let it slip off our radar–we’ve let entire countries slip off our radar as well. When we reminisce about the Holocaust during WW2, most everyone said, “Never again!” Well it seems we have forgoten our own words.

    Wealth is likely the leading cause of deafness in America.

    Jesus + Compassion Blog

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