This highly engaging and entertaining work explores the major changes taking place in the culture with the burgeoning new media, the implosion of the mainstream and the rise of a new libertarian mindset that is not necessarily socially conservative.
The first part takes a look at the illiberal liberalism of the alphabet TV networks and mainstream newspapers and the backlash against it. Anderson discusses the welcome changes that are breaking down the Old Media monopoly in news and entertainment. The demand for alternative voices manifests in Internet sites and the flourishing Blogosphere, talk radio, Fox News and booming book sales for publishers like Regnery.
One of the most hilarious chapters is the one on the irreverent South Park TV series. It contains excerpts from episodes that demonstrate how devastating humour can be when harnessed as social commentary. Conservatives and libertarian definitely have an advantage when it comes to satire, as is also clear from the superb cartoons doing the rounds on the Internet. This section also has quotes from some refreshingly non-pc comedians like Julia Gorin and Nick di Paolo.
Throughout the book, the author comments on the liberal response to the vigorous new conservative and libertarian media. This reaction has seen various attempts to silence the new voices, with no success at all. The alternative is to use smears against non-liberals, as advised by the leftist Herbert Marcuse in the 1960s. Against humour, the sour leftists are completely defenceless. They can only respond with ineffective sneers and smears.
The final chapter considers the situation in academia and on campus, where a strong reaction is taking place against leftist orthodoxy. A bankrupt ideology is imploding and there are plenty of bright young minds and new ideas to take its place. The long-term outlook looks bleak for liberals.
The changes in the culture chronicled in this book are also discussed or reflected in books like Shut Up And Sing by Laura Ingraham, The New American Revolution by Tammy Bruce, Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild by Michelle Malkin, Hoodwinked: How Intellectual Hucksters Have Hijacked American Culture by Jack Cashill, Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild by Michelle Malkin, 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America by Bernard Goldberg, Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation That's Changing Your World by Hugh Hewitt
This delightful book concludes with bibliographic notes and an index. South Park Conservatives provides plenty to ponder and often makes you laugh out loud. I highly recommend it to all those interested in cultural dynamics, politics and the media.
I've been a big fan of South Park for years - their brand of irreverent foul-mouthed humor hits a nerve with me I guess. However, I never really thought of that cartoon as a particularly pointed political satire. Maybe because I generally agreed with most of what they had to say, so it did not seem that they were going out on a limb with their message. Then some months ago I got an e-mail from a friend that linked to the original article that coined the term "South Park Republicans." That article claimed that a new brand of conservatism is growing, especially among the younger generation. It had very little to do with the preppy, staid attitudes that were the norm of conservatives just a generation ago. Suddenly, things made a lot of sense. Although the Creators of "South Park" spare no one from their ridicule, and they don't seem to have a single coherent political agenda, with a help of hindsight it is easy to see that they have an especially low regard for the lefty activist types.
Brian C. Anderson's book is not only, nor even primarily, about "South Park". And that is a good thing. When I first bought the book I was a bit apprehensive that it might get boring after a while. After all, how much can you really write about one particular aspect of one cartoon series? Luckily, Anderson focuses mostly on the subtitle of the book, and in a very detailed and well researched exposition demonstrates how the rise of new media outlets is evening the field for the conservatives. "South Park Conservatives" is a very well written book, and an invaluable resource and a reference for other sources of conservative opinion.