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South Park Mirrors Life

It’s official: Comedy Central prevented South Park from showing an image of Mohammed last night.

For the uninitiated, part of the plot of last night’s show (continued from last week) included Fox attempting to air an episode of Family Guy including an image of Mohammed. One of the main characters of the show—Eric Cartman—pointed a gun at Fox’s president and ordered him to pull the episode. Meanwhile, another boy gave an impassioned speech (watch it) reminding the Fox chief that giving in to the threat of violence from the least tolerant members of society (the heckler’s veto) is not acceptable. In the end, the fictional Fox executive agreed to show the episode—but the real Comedy Central executives did not allow the image of Mohammed to be shown. Rather, viewers saw a black screen and the message, “Comedy Central has refused to broadcast an image of Mohammed on their network.”

Unfortunately for students at one of the nation’s most elite universities, the fictional young man in last night’s episode—and even the made-up network jefe, however much he vacillated—had more sense than the administration of New York University. As many commentators, especially Eugene Volokh, have noted, NYU prevented the Mohammed cartoons from being shown at a recent event. Voluminous information on this appalling abuse can be found in FIRE’s case file. And it’s not over, either—stay tuned for future developments.

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