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South Park Conservatives: The Revolt Against Liberal Media Bias Hardcover – March 1, 2005
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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"Brian Anderson tells the communications saga of the last twenty years with verve, intelligence, and flair." -- Michael Novak, winner of the Templeton Prize 1994
From the Inside Flap
Thats what Brian C. Anderson shows in South Park Conservatives: The Revolt against Liberal Media Bias. Its a behind-the-scenes look at how conservativesand even iconoclasts who dont consider themselves conservativeare overthrowing the liberal media and political correctness. From the bloggers who demolished Dan Rather, to the Swift Boat veterans who sank John Kerry, to the gleeful antipolitical correctness of such comedic send-ups as South Park and Team America, the American media landscape has suffered an earthquake. Conservatives who have fretted about liberal media bias and losing the culture war should take heart, because a new generation of "South Park Conservatives" is changing everything. In South Park Conservatives, youll learn:
> How media bias in the 2004 Kerry/Bush race was so overwhelming as to make a mockery of "journalistic ethics"
> How liberal Hollywood has triedand failedto read conservatives out of the industry
> How right-of-center students are turning the tables on their left-wing profs at campuses across the nation
> How the liberal monopoly has been broken beyond all repair by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter, FOX News, and the blogosphere
> How hysterical liberal accusations of conservative "bigotry" and "hate" have boomeranged against the Left
> How media and academic liberalsseeing their monopoly on information and communication disappearinghave embraced extremism and conspiracy-mongering As Brian C. Anderson demonstrates, the New York Times, the big networks, and the rest of the elite liberal media can no longer set the terms of the nations political and cultural debate. The liberal medias monolithic power has cracked and brokenand freedom and conservative ideas are breaking out all over. So sit back, pour yourself a drink, and savor South Park Conservatives. The liberal media has never looked so likely to head for the ash heap of history as now. South Park Conservatives: The Revolt against Liberal Media Bias is an inside peek at how conservatives and the politically incorrect "anti-liberals" are starting to win the culture warand are having fun doing it.
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What is so provocative about the work is the notion of "South Park Conservative." What one immediately must ask is whether or not such people even exist. The reviewer can answer the question affirmatively because he has had the pleasure to meet many of them. It is undeniable that political correctness and the smugness of liberals has generated a hybrid breed of conservative; one who possesses earthy cultural trappings but can no longer tolerate the self-righteousness and mock seriousness inherent to the emotion fueled left. If the existence of the South Parker surprises traditional conservatives, imagine how unnerving it must be for your average liberal to discover that the guy who sat next to him during Phish's last concert had the Opinion Journal delivered to his Inbox every morning.
Like the brilliant cartoon itself, the book offers both reality and joy. An early review mentioned how funny these pages are, and the observation is certainly correct. Many episodes from the wildly creative and irreverent South Park are referenced and quoted. Dennis Miller's comedy, along with the reasons for his departure from the left, are discussed in detail. His metaphors ["stop me before I subreference again"] are precious, and the same can be said of the way in which he inflames the sensitivity police. Anderson's discussion of lesser known comics like Pete Correale, Julia Gorin, and Nick Di Paolo are inspiring as a conservative counter-presence in American entertainment is greatly needed even if it only slightly mitigates the damage the left has done via its years of transcendence. Colin Quinn's Tough Crowd is a bleeped out television version of Arts & Letters when compared to the PC pap offered to viewers each night by the networks.
The strongest part of the book is the chapter "Illiberal Liberalism" where the notion of "liberating tolerance" is addressed and refuted. For the uninitiated, this is a counterfeit byproduct of the 1960s that was originally fabricated by Herbert Marcuse for use in making conservative points of view outside the pale of civilized discourse. The author quite appropriately blames it for much of the incivility infecting our contemporary political discussions. The way that this is practiced is through leftists appealing to tolerance after people disagree with them while simultaneously condemning whatever is mouthed by the right as racist, homophobic, sexist, elitist, and/or mean-spirited. The attacks on those diverging from politically correct dogma are severe and integral to the "toleration" and "diversity" endemic to anti-liberals. The famous quote by Nat Henthoff, "free speech for me-but not for thee," is cited and resonates loudly. This double-standard and lust for censorship is perhaps what is most repulsive about the American left.
What may astonish baby boomer and Generation X conservatives, however, is the panic attacks that the monolithic campus left has suffered due to the recent emergence of Republican student organizations. In the chapter, "Campus Conservatives Rising," Anderson explores the arrogance of the moveon.org professors. Anyone who has ever read The Shadow University will be well-familiar with the totalitarian efforts of our pseudo-scholars to squelch difference if they happen to encounter it on the way to their teach-ins. Imagine what hard working, tuition paying, fortune squandering, parents think when they see that their freshman daughter's syllabus for English contains, as its goal, to explore the hidden "homosexuality, pederasty, and incest" facets of the great works of western civilization.
The recent attempt to pass an Academic Bill of Rights has proved that the champagne socialists possess bubbly but no clothes. Anderson recounts a legislative hearing concerning the bill's passage, when a philosophy department chair walked up to a student and jammed him in the chest saying, "I will sue your f--king a-- if this bill passes." Yet, amid such bleakness, South Park Conservatives finds hope as the author documents the exponential growth of the right in the academy- even within the leftist redoubts of the Ivy League.
Even if conservadom reached the same amount of people as the mainstream media and Hollywood, reason never competes with the flushed Night Train buzz of emotion in the minds of youth. Such minute points aside, Brian Anderson has powerfully introduced the larger world to the reality of a growing, and occasionally breeding, block of conservatives that clusterbomb liberal orthodoxies. Allow me to speak on the behalf of Kyle, Stan, Cartman and Dennis Miller when I iconoclastically thank him for his efforts.
There are some points about this book that I liked. First, I believe Anderson is correct when he writes about the left's dominance of media before the late 1980's and early 1990's. He is also right to celebrate to emergence of conservative talk radio, blogs, and cable news broadcasts. Rush Limbaugh, Matt Drudge, and Bill O'Reilly have all been very important to provide a counterpart to the existing left-leaning media. Free speech should be embraced; America needs to be a society where all voices can be heard. Also, the chapter about South Park and anti-liberal comedy was funny. Finally, I really liked that he attacked over-PC liberalism on college campuses, an even worse problem now in 2015.
However, I have many criticisms. This would have been a lot better with a more complete analysis of South Park's politics. He basically makes this logical fallacy: South Park attacks liberals, so Matt Stone and Trey Parker must be more sympathetic to the "traditional" conservative point of view. If Stone and Parker can be classified as anything, it's libertarian. Libertarian ideals are very different from the pro-interventionist, pro-life, anti-gay marriage Republican conservatism that Anderson is peddling. I also struggled to make it through the parts where Anderson tries to say that conservative media like Fox News is actually more fair and balanced than left-leaning media. MSNBC is terribly biased, no doubt about it. The network news broadcasts and CNN certainly slant left, as well. But it's hilarious to see someone assert that Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity are any less biased than what's out there on the left.
I'd love to see someone develop this idea more completely and accurately. South Park is a brilliant show and serves as a representation for the beliefs of a subsection of a new generation of voters. Libertarianism is gaining a stronghold among young voters, and that is the worldview that South Park most strongly supports. What Anderson tried to do here was take an extremely popular show that attacks liberals and force it into symbiosis with his own "traditional" conservative views.