From Publishers Weekly
With a firm belief in the power of satire, and a number of complicated questions-including the morals of laughing at a ten-year-old's racist, sexually active hand-puppet-author and philosophy professor Arp presents an accessible collection of 22 essays on Comedy Central's controversial, long-running cartoon series South Park. Drawing on the usual suspects-Plato, Aristotle, Freud and Sartre among them-the contributors gleefully argue that the fiercely juvenile and politically incorrect show speaks to some of the most important issues of our-or any-time. In the first entry, William W. Young III draws comparisons between moralizing condemnation of South Park and the charges "leveled against Western philosophy since its beginnings" in a section titled "Oh my God! They Killed Socrates! You Bastards!" Other essays take on the "ethics of amusement" in the face of a Virgin Mary statue bleeding from a wholly inappropriate place, the existential crisis suggested by the Kenny's recurrent death and what a school mascot election between "a Giant Douche and a Turd Sandwich" says about America's two-party political system. Though the laundry list of philosophical issues-gender and sexuality, personal identity, the problem of evil, religious pluralism, the ethics of belief-feels familiar, and some of the writers' attempts at lowbrow humor can be embarrassingly off-mark, it's a serious but inviting roundup that high-minded South Park fans, as well as pop-philosophy devotees, will find worthwhile.
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"Twenty-two philosophers can’t be wrong. Here to confirm suspicions that a relevant subtext exists beneath the potty-mouthed facade of Comedy Central’s “South Park” (now in its 10th season) is this indispensable collection of thought-provoking essays." Boston Herald, January 5, 2007.
“Move over, Kant. South Park and Philosophy embodies a new categorical imperative: Read this collection, laugh, and think.”
Nick Gillespie, Editor-in-Chief of Reason magazine
“Give Cartman some hemlock to drink so he can join Socrates for a meeting of the minds! Troubled by such philosophical conundrums as free will and determinism or the existence of God? Worry no more. Here you will find the way, the truth, and the light. Or not. Either way, if this book can’t interest this generation in philosophy, then we’re all screwed.”
Michael Shermer, Publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American, and the author of Why Darwin Matters