It took longer than expected, but Trey Parker and company have joined with the growing ranks of the opportunists who distort 9/11 skepticism for fun and profit (unlike the screeds by Alexander Cockburn , Matthew Rothschild and Matt Taibbi , at least the South Park episode had its humorous moments).
They included the obligatory “the Jews did it” canard, and the focus taken was shallow and purposely exploitative. The underlying idea was: “the conspiracy theorists are retarded, because they believe the government was competent enough to pull off 9/11.”
The psychological principle that unifies the distortions of Cockburn, Rothschild, Taibbi and the creators of South Park is avoidance. 9/11 skepticism is an easy target for ridicule, because it includes ridiculous theories (911truth.org is well aware of them , and has cautioned readers to be careful with them). But a commentator can take any attitude he wishes toward these theories. Our attitude has been to largely ignore them, and instead focus on the most striking and disturbing evidence of official complicity in the attacks.
The distortionists make sure to lump together the speculative with the completely ridiculous, and to avoid altogether the ‘elephant in the living room’ of complicity with our with our “enemies”.
The undeniable, indisputable and ugly political reality of our times is that the US intelligence apparatus simply cannot be completely separated from the networks of its supposed enemies. That is the story, and by itself it is cause for impeachment and treason trials for our top officials. But although this is “known”, and has been known for decades, this potentially explosive information has been managed and de-emphasized by the information brokers in society to the point it’s become “old news”. Its treasonous particulars have never become common knowledge among mainstream folks. This dark truth of complicity is buried in the collective unconscious of the society, just like the repressed material individuals bury because it is too painful to confront.
When questions about the 9/11 attacks get raised, the repressed material returns in the form of pointed questions by certain members of society. And while there can be reasonable disagreement about the extent of complicity, there will always be those who will not be able to even face the possibility (or figure it makes more sense to simply ridicule it for fun and profit).
South Park’s conclusion that “a bunch of pissed-off Muslims” did 9/11 ultimately says very little. The key word is “did”: if Al-Qaeda was responsible, does that mean the US could not also be? Of course not, yet nowhere is this possibility seriously considered by them or by recent critics of 9/11 skepticism.
The creators of South Park, a show I like, are now two-time offenders, as they copped out in “Team America” as well. There too, the US was depicted as a bumbling, ignorant yet well-intentioned behemoth that was ruining the world through sheer incompetence and stupidity. It was Kim Jong-Il who was truly evil, you see.
There’s no shortcut to understand the deep politics of official treachery that characterizes our times. South Park wants to ridicule the impulse to a deeper examination of this reality by ascribing ridiculously absolutist beliefs to the members of 911truth.org. It’s a cheap trick, and a sure indication they’re running out of ideas.
After all, in this episode, they resorted to channeling Beavis and Butthead by spinning out a whole show which was essentially a 30-minute excuse for asking: “How many different alliterative ways can we say “take a shit”? (Heh, heh, he said “fudge dragon”!)
It’s funny the first couple of times, but it gets tired. Just like the refusal to face aspects of our collective reality gets tiring. Here’s hoping for a fairer portrayal of 9/11 skepticism next time.