Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

“Krazy Kripples” and the Transformative Body Politics of Disability and Race

Watching South Park in the Age of “Cancel Culture”

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2020), 14, (3), 301–316.

Abstract

Broadcast for over two decades, South Park is a satirical cartoon that challenges norms and asks its viewers to assess their values. A show whose existence has been challenged long before the era of consequences for offensive actions known as “cancel culture,” South Park remains popular in part because of its ability to evolve. While updating the show’s comedy to reflect the current cultural context, the willingness of the show’s creators to address prior comedic errors begs examination of older episodes to see what still works (and what does not). One episode that provides plenty of laughs and timely satire seventeen years after it first aired is “Krazy Kripples,” the second episode of the seventh season that was originally broadcast on 26 March 2003. Bringing the intersection of disability and race to the fore, episodes of South Park like “Krazy Kripples” act as a conduit through which both individual and societal discussions on difference and inequality can occur without temporal constraints. Encouraging self-reflection rather than just laughs, “Krazy Kripples” contains a transformative body politic, a concept coined by Nirmala Erevelles in her 2011 book Disability and Difference in Global Contexts: Enabling a Transformative Body Politic.

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Works Cited

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Cacho, Lisa Marie. Social Death: Racialized Rightlessness and the Criminalization of the Unprotected. New York: New York UP, 2012. Print. Google Scholar

Coleman, Lindsay. “Shopping at J-Mart with the Williams: Race, Ethnicity, and Belonging in South Park.” Taking South Park Seriously. Ed. Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock. Albany: State U of New York P, 2008. 131-41. Print. Google Scholar

Cooper, Gael Fashingbauer. “South Park Demands Cancellation of South Park.” CNET. 13 Sep. 2018. Web. 1 Oct. 2019. Google Scholar

Erevelles, Nirmala. Disability and Difference in Global Contexts: Enabling a Transformative Body Politic. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. Print. Google Scholar

Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie. Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature. New York: Columbia UP, 1997. Print. Google Scholar

Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie. Staring: How We Look. New York: Oxford UP, 2009. Print. Google Scholar

Johnson-Woods, Toni. Blame Canada!: South Park and Popular Culture. New York: Continuum, 2007. Print. Google Scholar

“Krazy Kripples.” South Park. Writ. Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Comedy Central Productions and Paramount Television, 26 Mar. 2003. Television. Google Scholar

Mallett, Rebecca. “Choosing ‘Stereotypes’: Debating the Efficacy of (British) Disability-Criticism.” Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs 9.1 (2009): 4-11. Print. Google Scholar

McCarron, Kevin and Maggi Savin-Baden. “Compering and Comparing: Stand-Up Comedy and Pedagogy.” Innovations in Education and Teaching International 45.4 (2008): 355-63. Print. Google Scholar

Milloy, Christin Scarlett. “South Park Takes on Trans Issues … and It’s Great.” Slate. 9 Oct. 2014. Web. 30 Sep. 2019. Google Scholar

Parker, Ryan. “As ‘South Park’ Gets Renewed through 2022, Matt Stone and Trey Parker Also Have New Movie Ideas.” The Hollywood Reporter. 12 Sep. 2019. Web. 12 Sep. 2019. Google Scholar

Weinstock, Jeffrey Andrew. Taking South Park Seriously, Albany: State U of New York P, 2008. Print. Google Scholar

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Details

Author details

Krebs, Nicholas D.