South Park and Philosophy: Bigger, Longer, and More Penetrating

By Richard Hanley | Go to book overview

22
Douching Your Truth
Canal and Other Forms
of Rational Hygiene

TOM WAY

The trouble with the truth is that it's so hard to tell it apart from a good, juicy lie. And if you're even a little bit clever about how you lie, people will be convinced that you're not lying, even though they know you're a big, fat, fucking, lying douche. Like, say, Cartman. But Cartman lacks the refinement of the truly exceptional liar. He needs to use mysterious language, tell spooky stories, make fantastic claims, employ Swiss cheese logic, and optionally threaten the non-believer with certain peril. Do that and you have yourself the makings of a first-rate, ironclad, truth-like substance also known as a big, fat lie.

The philosophical war between truth and falsehood is fought over a lot on South Park. Trey Parker and Matt Stone, with their Socratic “Bullshit Alarms” (see page vii) always operational, frequently remind us that we're all a bunch of delusional douches if we mere humans believe everything we're told. In the Season Eight episode “Cartman's Incredible Gift,” Cartman is mistaken for a psychic after sharing a hospital room with a serial killer, who cuts off the left hands of all of his victims. Everybody ignores Kyle's protests that Cartman is a fake psychic and Kyle's claim of who the real killer is. Eventually, gullible Sergeant Lou stumbles bass-ackwards, through “oldfashioned police work” onto the killer's identify, saving Cartman's life in the nick of time. In a not unexpected twist, the more Kyle proclaims that psychics are bogus, the more everybody believes that Kyle himself really possesses true psychic abilities.

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