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Beyond a Cutout World: Ethnic Humor and Discursive Integration in South Park

Beyond a Cutout World: Ethnic Humor and Discursive Integration in South Park matt sienkiewicz and nick marx a quick survey of recent popul ar American film and television comedy reveals a trend in the portrayal of racists, racism, and the sorts of stereotypes historically associated with conservative, Eurocentric worldviews. Comedians such as Sarah Silverman, films such as Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, and television shows such as FOX's Family Guy all casually reproduce the external markings of racist beliefs in the service of comedy with what is presumably an ironic tone. As New York Times critic A. O. Scott notes in discussing the work of Silverman, such texts are often assumed not to be truly racist by virtue of the fact that they so effortlessly engage in the offensive. Ironic racism, in this view, takes advantage of the notion that in a culture so concerned with political correctness, only creators "secure (in their) lack of racism would dare to make, or to laugh at, a racist joke" (E13). Thus, to present racist characters in the current comedy environment may, paradoxically, testify to the creator's ultimate lack of prejudice.1 matt sienkiewicz is a PhD student in media and cultural studies at the University of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Film and Video University of Illinois Press

Beyond a Cutout World: Ethnic Humor and Discursive Integration in South Park

Journal of Film and Video , Volume 61 (2) – May 16, 2009

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of Illinois Press
ISSN
1934-6018
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Abstract

matt sienkiewicz and nick marx a quick survey of recent popul ar American film and television comedy reveals a trend in the portrayal of racists, racism, and the sorts of stereotypes historically associated with conservative, Eurocentric worldviews. Comedians such as Sarah Silverman, films such as Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, and television shows such as FOX's Family Guy all casually reproduce the external markings of racist beliefs in the service of comedy with what is presumably an ironic tone. As New York Times critic A. O. Scott notes in discussing the work of Silverman, such texts are often assumed not to be truly racist by virtue of the fact that they so effortlessly engage in the offensive. Ironic racism, in this view, takes advantage of the notion that in a culture so concerned with political correctness, only creators "secure (in their) lack of racism would dare to make, or to laugh at, a racist joke" (E13). Thus, to present racist characters in the current comedy environment may, paradoxically, testify to the creator's ultimate lack of prejudice.1 matt sienkiewicz is a PhD student in media and cultural studies at the University of

Journal

Journal of Film and VideoUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: May 16, 2009

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