Communication is one of the greatest aspects that make human life enjoyable by promoting understanding and interactions of individuals from similar or diverse backgrounds. It forms one of the agents that bind the society together despite the many personal and cultural differences that exist among human beings. The media has played a major role in portraying how the society behaves with regard to human interactions and relationships among people in the society. Moreover, the issue of culture and how it shapes the society can not be wished away as far as media is concerned. This is due to the fact that the media plays an important role in promoting cultural beliefs and practices among people throughout the world. This essay is based on the reflections of the television series South Park and how cultural issues are portrayed through its characters.
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South Park is an animated film produced by Matt Stone and Trey Parker and it features four dominant characters named Kenny McCormick, Stan Marsh, Eric Cartman and Kyle Broflovski. The story evolves around their interactions and lives while at Colorado town. The story has depicted Stan as an average American child in his fourth grade who has great ambitions and dreams to accomplish in life while Kyle is depicted as a Jew whose roles are full of satires and ironies. Cartman forms the major themes of the story as he is depicted as an outgoing racist who tries to hold on to the traditions of segregation among individuals from various races and this puts him in constant conflicts with Kyle. Lastly, Kenny is depicted as a child from a poor background who tries to hide in his parka hood that seems to conceal most parts of his face.
The characters in this movie have been used purposely to represent various cultures of the world that have always been at conflicts with each other. The main conflicts in the story are based on the cultural differences between these youths and the older generation. The film has several aspects of language that seem to cross the border line of morality. The characters use profane language that is usually bleeped during television airing since it is not meant for younger audience. This is evident through the introductory remarks at the beginning of any episode that the contents in the movie are strictly meant for mature audience. This means that the characters have used a strong language that is not meant for children. These characters have also used a language that shows distaste for black Americans who are persistently referred to as niggers. This language is derogatory and contributes to racial discrimination. The rift between Cartman and Kyle is fuelled by the former referring to the later as a nigger who does not fit anywhere in the modern society.
This character means that there are certain cultures that deserve more attention than others due to the perceptions that they are superior to them. The fact that these are young children who understand very well the aspects of cultural diversities and racism means that the society they have been brought up in is full of stereotypes that seem to tear individuals along racial similarities and differences. It is important to note that children learn from the society and try to emulate everything they see from their parents, older siblings and other members of the society. Therefore, Cartman has been cultured to believe that the Jews are people from an inferior race and thus they do not deserve much attention. The Jews are grouped with the black Americans whose place is the ghettos and the poorly developed countries.
There are many conflicts evident in the film through the way these four boys socialize with each other. One of the major themes in the movie is age conflict portrayed by the large generation gap between these boys and the rest of the society. These boys depict the modern society that has advanced in their use of modern technology and communication skills. This has led to various transformations in their lives including their choice of words while speaking to each other. These boys use profane language that is meant to be used between two people of the same age and who share many similarities. However, the fact that these characters use this language in public means that they are not aware of the impacts of such words to the older generation. Therefore, this depicts the huge generation gap that exists in the society that has led to moral decadence among the younger generation.
There is also another conflict among the religions present in the film. While these four boys represent different groups of people in the society they satirize various aspects of religion and this makes the story to have a different perspective from various quotas. The fact that the story features various aspects of religion for creation of comic effects creates a rift between the characters and their audience. In addition, the film features the Virgin Mary in Season Five where she is christened Bloody Mary. This seemed to have angered the Christian population who condemned the movie for lack of respect for their religion. Moreover, Season Fourteen of the movie (episodes 200 and 201) satirized Prophet Muhammad and this led to an outburst from the Muslim population who were angered at how the directors and producers of this movie failed to respect their religion.
Therefore, the aspect of religion as one of the main pillars of culture has been the sole source of conflicts among characters in the play and it seems to worsen in every season and episode as the movie tries to delve deep into the aspects that differentiate world religions. Despite the fact that this movie won several awards and remains to be one of the greatest comedies in the world it has generated a lot of controversies that do not seem to end in the near future. The Muslim community has strongly opposed the use of Prophet Mohammad in the movie as a religious figure that does not have any power over human beings. The prophet has been depicted as a normal being with a normal life that does not seem to reflect any super natural abilities. In addition, Christians have rebuked the airing of Season Nine that was released in 2009 for claims that it depicts the Virgin Mary as a mere woman who did not have much significance as far as Christianity was concerned.
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The use of profane language in the movie and the above depictions of religion made it possible for many parents to discourage their children from watching this movie and buying any of its episodes since they believed the movie was overrated and thus unfit for them. This movie has very strong moral and religious lessons apart from its humor and satires that make it entertaining. People should learn to embrace change without disregarding the basic concepts of morality and religion as far as the language used is concerned.
It is important for members of the society to have meaningful interactions despite the differences in their cultures. Language is an important tool that promotes culture and thus people should use it wisely in order to avoid raising unnecessary tensions among people from various cultures. The many cultural differences should not be used as scapegoats for racial or religious discriminations.