Sunday, April 12, 2009

South Park Speaks the Truth About “The Economy”

As I watched the spot-on parody of all-things “economy” and “bailout” on a recent South Park episode (see preview scenes and/or the whole episode here:, I found myself thinking: Rush Limbaugh was right. Obama’s failures might be what the country really needs to see the foolishness of big government.

I didn’t agree with Limbaugh when he said it. I thought it was borderline un-patriotic – the same kind of unfair treatment that Republican-controlled government has received from the left, i.e. “I’m only proud of America, and only want good for America, when it’s run by liberals/Democrats.”

But a brilliant and funny cartoon television show has actually helped me see an angle on Rush’s inflammatory statement that makes sense. You see, I think we need to be starkly reminded of how clumsy, oafish and insulting big government can be before we can reject it in the next election cycle.

For those who haven’t seen the episode, “Margaritaville,” it is a comedic exploration of just how darned ridiculous Washington, D.C.’s handling of “The Economy” looks right now. One plot line portrays the development of a religious cult whose leader speaks of “The Economy” as if it were a deity whom we have deeply offended and are now suffering its vengeance. Meanwhile, another plot has us following one character (Stan) as he tries to return his father’s “Margaritaville” margarita-mixing machine for cash – an effort which takes him from mall store “Sur la Table,” all the way to the Treasury Department in Washington. Once inside the grand government building, Stan discovers that bailout decisions are, in fact, being made by cutting off a chicken’s head and waiting for the headless bird to run around and collapse on a giant game board that says things like “Socialize it,” “Bailout,” or “Try again.”

Watching the headless-chicken-bingo scene at the fictional Treasury Department was the moment where I thought, my goodness, this illustrates the very real, growing perception of how these huge decisions are being made. Tim Geithner might be the chicken. He even kind of looks like a chicken.

As is the style of all South Park episodes, the ultimate wisdom comes from the mouths of babes when one of the kids, Kyle, explains to his friends that the economy is not a deity, it’s not even a singular thing; it is, instead, an aggregate of all of us, all of our work, all of our spending, all of our businesses and investments.

Which is, well, correct.

This blinding glimpse of the obvious makes the worshippers of “The Economy” look ridiculous, kind of like the Wall-Street-worshipping turds and nerds we see on cable news who babble on about “the economy” without ever recognizing its complexity. Kyle’s simple truth also makes the fictional chicken-bingo game look like a rather accurate representation of the decision-making process in Washington of late.

The collective wisdom of the American people – let’s call it common sense – is simply bound to eventually conclude that relying on a select few mortals in Washington is a really foolish way of saving the economy. We are bound to grow tired of their silly games and turn back to what we know works: our own hard work, our own persistence (not the president’s), and our own innovation. We’re bound to take more of an interest in the things we can control ourselves – our own family’s budget, the budget of our small business if we own one – and turn away from the circus act that’s going on under the big top in Washington.

The more that Obama, Reid and Pelosi tread with heavy, expensive steps on American wallets and independence, the more we’ll miss the successful feeling of handling things on our own. We’re an independent lot, after all.

So Rush may have been right. Obama’s failures might just be the thing that re-ignites the spark of independence – the spark that we clearly need to once again make the city on the hill that is America shine on its own once again.


Screamin Armenian said...

Really enjoyed this piece today. Clever and interesting. Thank you.

bc said...

absolutely absurd premise and conclusion, but i'd be lying if i said it wasn't clever and fun to read

LF said...

Thanks for a different approach to a topic that all of us can't wait to stop talking about

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