‘The Passion of the Christ’ fuels anti-Semitism – on ‘South Park’ – The Forward

The president of the Mel Gibson Fan Club recently answered a call from an irate viewer of “The Passion of the Christ” who didn’t like the film.

“Sir,” said the indignant fan club president, “apparently you don’t understand what Mel Gibson was trying to do. He was trying to express – through cinema – the horror and filthiness of the ordinary Jew.

The fan club president was 8-year-old Eric Cartman, the portly, deadpan and hopelessly anti-Semitic member of the children’s quartet from the animated television series “South Park.”

In perhaps the most biting review of “The Passion” to date, Comedy Central reflected on the effect the film would have on its chubby-mouthed protagonists in last week’s episode, ” The Passion of the Jew”.

Kyle Broflovski, the Jewish character on the show, was tormented by nightmares about Jesus (and Alan Alda). Stan March and Kenny McCormick were so disgusted by “The Passion” that they set out to have their tickets refunded by a demented, half-naked Gibson. Meanwhile, Cartman was so emotional that he held fan club meetings and began goose-stepping in a maroon uniform, combing his hair in a streak and peppering his speech with words like “Achtung” and “Juden. »

“I’m glad to see you’ve all been touched by ‘The Passion’ like me,” Cartman told a fan club meeting packed with sunny Christian residents of South Park. “Now we all know why we are here, and I believe we all know what needs to be done… But I think it’s best that we don’t talk about it out loud until we have not most of them on the trains heading for the camps.”

Although other fan club members did not explicitly share Cartman’s anti-Semitic sentiments, many Christians in South Park found their faith affirmed by the film. The town’s Jews, meanwhile, have complained that “The Passion” promotes anti-Semitic stereotypes. “It’s terrible to stereotype Jews,” lamented a Jewish character in a voice that would make Woody Allen squirm.

Kenneth Jacobson, associate national director of the Anti-Defamation League, who has long campaigned against “The Passion,” told the Forward that while he’s not a “regular fan” of the show, attacks by the episode against the Jews “struck me like a classic ‘South Park.’ Everyone is a target.

“The basic message of the show is this: Gibson’s film is not a way to teach Christianity,” Jacobson added, noting that the film is ripe for satire. “The violence is so exaggerated that it becomes caricatural.” According to Jacobson, many people at the ADL watched the episode and approved.

In the episode’s final showdown, the town’s Christians and Jews face off, but when one of the Christians urged everyone to be inspired by the life of Jesus rather than his death, Cartman begged the crowd to reconsider, “Oh come on, people. We are so close to completing my final solution….