You know that old "do video games/movies/TV shows make people violent" argument?
And you know how the answer is always "no, humans are just terrible people?"
Yeah, we're going back in on it and this time we're adding a few more layers to complicate things.
A whole lot of Cartman.
Journalist Dana Schwartz sparked an online debate about the cultural impact of South Park with a short series of tweets.
Whether people love the show or hate it, it's certainly something they're passionate about. Or at least something people passionately argue about.
Let's start with her tweets so we know exactly what her stance is.
Dana, who is herself an author as well as writer for TV shows, was trying to talk about the ways South Park and it's attitude of nihilism and mocking was actually doing more damage than good. She expected some disagreement and was more than willing to talk about other people's opinions.
What she was not expecting was that South Park fans would make her point for her. They came at her in a wave of anger, misogyny, and general unpleasantness—calling her a whore, telling her she is genetically incapable of being funny since she is a woman and saying she "deserves the rope."
Oh, and there's a racial slur thrown in there, too.
Obviously not fun. That was sarcasm. Don't do this. This is trash.
We aren't saying all South Park fans are like this, we want to make that clear. There are terrible people in every fandom.
Our point is merely that these fans are definitely not helping the overall image many people have of what your average South Park fan is like.
Those kinds of comments weren't the only ones Dana got, though. Take a look at these.
Love it or hate it, people had some interesting insights.
Of course that doesn't mean everyone had something of value to offer to the discussion...
Do you think South Park is responsible for causing the mindset Dana is talking about? Or is the show's popularity a symptom more than a cause?
Interestingly, South Park tackled the same question in their movie Bigger, Longer and Uncut, available here. But rather than blaming themselves, South Park urged everyone—in their Oscar nominated song—to "Blame Canada."