If they wanted to, it's well within the purview of the CCP to apply pressure to Paramount's ability to finance its films or distribute those films in China (a huge source of international box office receipts), until such time as Paramount reigns in Trey and Matt.
Note that I wouldn't support such a move, and they strike me as the type of creators who would happily walk away from their cash cow rather than self-censor. I just mean this is one possible endgame.
On the other hand, if China is willing to cancel something as big as the NBA at the drop of a hat (or tweet, as it were), it really highlights the risks of doing business with China in a very stark way. Nothing is to big to fail if you offend the party. You operate at their whims. Transgress, and its lights out. Too many of these kinds of reactions could backfire (one would hope).
Every company that thinks they can do business with communists needs to smarten up. Realize that you compromise your ethics completely and whatever short term gains you think you are making are eventually eaten away by the sheer clown world lunacy that is communism. Places like China can never right themselves simply because basic truths are banned from being discussed. How do they then move forward as a society? They don't, they can only move backwards.
You said it yourself: "Putting profits ahead of everything else.. because it sacrifices quality and every other good for the sake of short-term profit."
A blanket fear of communism is not productive.
It failed almost universally.
China today is less "communist" economically than most of EU.
Yes, China has less economic planning than the USSR did, that's true. But communism isn't defined by that, trying it out is just a natural consequence of Communist beliefs. Indeed Marx laid out almost nothing of how actual communist states were meant to operate. Communism is ultimately about building a totalitarian system in which the ruling classes must be loyal devotees of Marxist social theory. China certainly qualified.
> Communism is ultimately about building a totalitarian system
I really don't want to be advocate of communism, but it seems to me you're cherry-picking the defining characteristics of communism to suit you. After all:
> Indeed Marx laid out almost nothing of how actual communist states were meant to operate
So why demand it must be totalitarian? Also
> Communism is ultimately about building a totalitarian system in which the ruling classes must be loyal devotees of Marxist social theory
Communist party in Poland at least certainly wasn't that. They were the first to become devote capitalists in 1989.
Observe that he prescribed:
1. Abolition of private property
4. Confiscation of property of all rebels and emigrants
5. Centralisation of all credit in the hands of the state
6. Centralisation of all communication and transport in the hands of the state
9. Forced mass population transfers out of cities into the countryside
How can anyone implement such drastic policies? Marx was under no illusions about this and spelled it out quite clearly, which is why the fact he's not perceived as being as evil as Hitler is an unfortunate stain on our society:
Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads ...
So he literally stated in his manifesto that creating a communist state would require despotism, or in more modern language, totalitarianism. That was just one of many calls Marx made for violent revolution rather than democratic means.
Given this starting point it's not a huge surprise the Soviets tried to implement a fully planned economy. Marx didn't specify that as an end state per se, but he specified very similar things as a means to get to communism. China still has a largely planned economy despite successfully whitewashing itself as "capitalist", hence all the stories about staggering piles of non-performing debt, zombie banks kept alive by government fiat (centralise all credit in the hands of the state), and massive overproduction of things like steel.
As for Poland in the late 80s, yes, by the end of the 20th century a lot of committed communists had realised how foolish they had been. But did they really understand the true root cause of the problems? Or did they mistakenly conclude the root cause was central planning? Sometimes when I look at the behaviour of the eastern European states I have to wonder.
Your whole argument hangs on equating despotism with totalitarianism. But it's not the same, these 2 characteristics are orthogonal.
For example European absolute monarchies were despotic but not totalitarian (mostly because there was no technology to exert absolute control over the society).
> That was just one of many calls Marx made for violent revolution rather than democratic means.
Again, violent revolution doesn't mean the state is totalitarian. Many democracies started with violent revolutions, many totalitarian states started with democratic elections.
> Marx didn't specify that as an end state per se
Thank you, that's my point. You're defining what is characteristic and accidental in communism arbitrarily.
You seem to draw a distinction based on how much power the ruler had: "absolute" control or less than that. But all despotic rulers exercise as much power as they possibly can. Modern tech arguably makes it easier to exercise more and more power (probably ... I haven't really thought about it). But if Henry VIII had the ability to censor information by flicking some switches he'd have certainly done it.
My point about violent revolution was that if you build an organisation capable of doing all the things Marx said was necessary, you've built a totalitarian state. Yes, in theory a violent revolution which centralises all power in the hands of the revolutionaries could work out great and turn itself into a democracy, but in practice this never actually happens. Instead the state sticks around and stays despotic, it doesn't go "right! job done!" and dissolve itself like Marx imagined it would.
Given Marx's preconditions for creating communism, eternal totalitarian rule is the only plausible outcome. People don't just give up total power once they killed people to obtain it.
It's not my distinction, it's the definition of totalitarianism (as opposed to other authoritarian forms of power).
> Totalitarian regimes are different from other authoritarian regimes. The latter denotes a state in which the single power holder – an individual "dictator", a committee or a junta or an otherwise small group of political elite – monopolizes political power. "[The] authoritarian state [...] is only concerned with political power and as long as that is not contested it gives society a certain degree of liberty". Authoritarianism "does not attempt to change the world and human nature". In contrast, a totalitarian regime attempts to control virtually all aspects of the social life, including the economy, education, art, science, private life and morals of citizens. 
Absolute monarch doesn't care what peasants think, what ethnicity or race they are, and in general it leads to much less cleansings and pogroms than totalitarianism.
> Yes, in theory a violent revolution which centralises all power in the hands of the revolutionaries could work out great and turn itself into a democracy, but in practice this never actually happens.
why all power? Where did you get that all from? Again, I hate to play the devil's advocate, but I find myself pushed to do it - Marx wanted to change the ownership of means of production. It's not all the power, and it's not unprecedented. Most revolutions change the top dogs. In very few cases in history that change led to totalitarian state.
Romania had a violent revolution. France had a violent revolution. USA had a violent revolution. Poland had violent revolutions every 20 years for over a century (BTW several of the Polish uprisings wanted to free the serfs and give them the land). All of them are now democracies :)
We're discussing language here, maybe we're not making fine distinctions a political scientist would make, but let's check a thesaurus:
Synonyms for totalitarianism: despotism, authoritarianism. In common language they're the same thing.
Perhaps an English-speaking political scientist would be unhappy at those thesaurus entries and claim the differences are critical, I don't know, honestly, don't really care. If you wish to draw a distinction, and argue that it's really important that Marx was merely authoritarian and not totalitarian (or whatever), that's fine by me. I concede the point through apathy. Does Polish draw the same distinctions as English, I wonder?
Anyway. It's a distraction. The point is, communism always ends in being a dictatorship like the USSR or China, it must through its very foundational assumptions, and whatever you call the resulting system that will always yield very heavy state control of industry, information, etc. You can't have a Marxist system without it.
As for top dogs: that's one of the primary logic errors in Marxist philosophy. He divided the world into exactly two camps and then pitted them against each other: labour and owners, workers and capitalists, proles and bourgeoisie. But this world existed only in his mind. Even in the 1800s there were many people who didn't fit that neat classification, including himself. Marx spent his entire life producing words and ideas; his "means of production" was a pen and paper. He was able to do this because he was supported by a factory owning friend. So was Marx a top dog or oppressed prole? What would it mean to seize his own means of production? Have a government official steal his pens? Marx failed to notice that his own existence didn't fit his own theories, because he was an idiot whose thinking had no value due to his staggering lack of real world experience. Indeed in Das Kapital he was forced to engage in various kinds of fraud to make his own arguments work, for instance, by citing decades old English factory inspector reports as evidence of contemporary problems without observing that those same reports led to changes in the law and improvements in factory conditions. If he had remarked on that, it would have undermined his thesis that capitalism couldn't self-improve and needed violent revolution to improve worker conditions.
A good introduction to just how isolated from reality he was can be found in the book "Intellectuals" by Paul Johnson. The relevant chapter has been reproduced at this link (ignore the weird picture and lack of attribution, the words are the same):
It does, and propagating totalitarian ideologies is banned by law, while propagating for example monarchy - isn't.
"I plead not guilty your honor, for whilst it's true that we wish to overthrow Polish democracy and install a supreme leader for life, we would call him King! Long live the king!"
"Oh, that's alright then. Not guilty!"
Also we don't do case law here (if I understand what "case law" means).
On related note we've got hilarious court case where neonazis from ONR were explaining to the court they weren't doing "heil hitler" salute to propagate nazism, but to celebrate Roman traditions. SS signs were for reenactment and swastikas as everybody knows are Hindu symbols of good luck.
The story is not much different in Germany. Same fruit of a poisoned tree.
I'm a big south park fan and these 2 episodes so far have been on point.
Most of my political disagreements with people come down more to ends vs means, implementation details, unintended consequences and the like, rather than actual core goals/ideals. In that context I did - and probably still would - enjoy the original Man Bear Pig as a gag on political advocacy even though 2006 was pretty late to be denying climate change.
some topics they tackle are nails, others... screws.
But... they have a rare talent for nuking sacred cows from orbit. It always hurts when its your cow.
I'm not saying there are no universally illegitimate sides, but even those have their supporters and some reasonable arguments. The focus should be on deconstructing these arguments instead of marking the side as illegitimate.
I don't have an answer for how to identify good ideas that's convincing to everyone, especially in the flimsy-whimsy domain of politics, but I believe there are always more than two sides even if it's presented that way. There are uncountable many "sides" and most of them are bad, wrong, and insane. And to entertain all of them in earnest under the pretenses that we're being fair is a paralyzing waste of time.
Even for a comedy show. It's not really about the show anyway but the bigger picture of politics that it fits into.
Like that National Association of Marlon Brando Look Alikes.
>The focus should be on deconstructing this arguments
I wonder what arguments you may see here and what the possible deconstruction may look like.
Consider a debate about the existence of God. A theist person might say 'everything must have a creator'. One deconstruction could be that the proposed God does not seem to have a creator.
I don't think "bothsideism" exist, the act itself is just a cover up for political opinions. What the accusation of "bothsideism" is actually saying is "you are actually not neutral, but biased". But SP never claimed to be a political neutral medium. It is just some opinionated comedy series that some people enjoys.
Bothsideism is always good fun. It makes 100% sense if your purpose is simply humor. Discourse is mean to be polluted, heil post-truth!
Few days ago, a guy been sent to jail for 7 days because he was complaining the National Day military parade, saying something like "A civilized nation turn machine into soldier; a rouge nation turn soldier into machine". And he's not the only one been sent to jail for similar reason.
This country is not taking any critic any more. Cultural Revolution 2.0 Global Edition anybody?
Thanks also for the clarification: now I understand what you were saying.
Sometime I just somehow prioritized to send message out when I should be making a better statement. Which already caused multiple misunderstandings on HN alone. I should definitely try not to do that anymore.
I don't agreed with many of their posts, but if you want to waste your time in the chaotic Chinese political small talks, then maybe that's one place to look at. Also, keep in mind that you reading small talks there, so take everything with a grain of salt.
I personally acquire most of the information on Twitter. I followed many people who working in the IT or related fields, and sometime they retweet political related stuff (As joke or mock mostly). This is how I know about that South Park episode.
https://information.tv5monde.com/info/netflix-zappe-des-epis... (in french)
This is the result of more than 20 sentences since 2008, mostly for "negationisme" (negating that the holocaust happened, which is not legal in france), publishing antisemitic caricatures, hate speech and other things.
The list is available here, in french:
Source on that?
I would imagine China would take this up to the producers? And I imagine Comedy Central is directly involved in the production/funding?
If so that's a pretty awesome and hold move on their part. I could see this leading to other shows feeling compelled to choose a side as well. I hope it does.
So yes, banned in China (Hong Kong)
And considering that cartoon style videos don't even need much bandwidth for good quality to begin with, this seems really weird.
I can go to the channel that has the rights to broadcast south park in canada and watch it there (much.com) - maybe you can do the same?
They had built things up too much assuming a particular outcome, and when reality didn't pan out, they had to scramble to try to salvage something remotely coherent. They mostly did not succeed.
Trey & Matt have done some other pretty brilliant things too, like Team America World Police, and The Book of Mormon.
Are those usual users we hear on this platform when companies like Facebook or Google or Reddit or etc censor people and ideas silent in this case or are they being hypocrites?
Contrast this to banning someone for saying bad words on a forum - that's not even remotely the same issue and I shouldn't have to explain why.
What am I missing?
I wonder if it works like that for people who live in China. Is it something Chinese people often do (specifically seek out banned stuff)?
All of my Chinese friends when traveling to China use VPNs and other tricks in China and watch Youtube and all of that other Western stuff. It seems to be the norm among young (educated) people there.
BS, every Chinese pirate streaming service I checked still has full South Park catalog.
China seems to be a good test for our foundations and principles: democracy, freedom of speech and opinion on the one hand, and capitalism, profit of shareholders, fear of losing a job or losing a market or a supplier on the other hand.
Apple, Blizzard, NBA, South Park, ... There will be more, and, unfortunately, we prefer money over virtue.
I think it would be too risky as crossing a line could mean prison.
All the Trump episodes on SP would definitely have ended with Trey and Matt locked up in China.
I guess my issue with things like this SP episode and these kind of satire in general, is that they only seem to focus on one important but partial aspect of one nation. To joke on American PC issues seems fun to many in China, but there are more important things to know about the U.S. than these things. In a similar vein I wish people interested in China do not just stop at knowing the terrible human rights situation and its increasingly authoritarian regime, but actually learn more about the shift of its regime since 1949, the more subtle parts of the ideology of the party (the ostensible resemblance to 1984 style "doublethink"), etc., which imo would provide much better insight into China than what is on HN.
I think GP was talking about satire of your own country, not propaganda about other countries.
Reminds me of the old joke:
Q: Is it true that there is freedom of speech in the Soviet Union, just like in the USA?
A: In principle, yes. In the USA, you can stand in front of the White House in Washington, DC, and yell, "Down with Reagan!", and you will not be punished. Equally, you can also stand in Red Square in Moscow and yell, "Down with Reagan!", and you will not be punished.
And I just have to say it. The satire I am talking about comes from the actual citizens. They are not propaganda.
SNL is exactly what you're proposing.
Isn't South Park what is being proposed? Sure they made fun of China this time, but they make fun of the US and US culture more than any other nation.
Look how they portrayed Andrew Yang. An unconventional candidate with near-zero media attention consistently polling above O'Rourke, Klobushar, Castro and Booker. Yet the joke is how poorly he's doing? It's noteworthy that the audience literally didn't laugh.
While I have never seen the show, 10-20 million people apparently watch it  so apparently a lot of people do like it and your tone comes off as condescending.
You should have stopped there.
Humor with an agenda doesn’t work.
Not only the Chinese, I assure you.
Nationalistic flamebait like this is a bannable offense on HN—not to mention racial/national slurs. The users who upvoted and (later) vouched for this comment have abused this site by doing so.
People routinely accuse us of being somehow pro-Chinese or secret communists for moderating HN this way, but that's not true at all. We don't like bullies or mobs, and any time that dynamic springs up here—which unfortunately is all the time, this being the internet—we instinctively take the opposite side for the time being. What's surprising to me is how so many users, who I'm sure are decent people, engage in that kind of thing.
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21188577.
The solution is to be aware of our own aggression and contain it. That's a long, slow process. I'm sure there is still aggression in what I wrote as well.
HN users who are Chinese or of Chinese background have a right to come here and not see comments like that one, just the same as all HN users do.
Edit: actually, once I read the context of the thread, I see your point. The parent comments were talking about the Chinese government, so it's reasonable to see that as having been in scope.
If the user above had said "the Chinese government", "The Communist Party of China" or simply "the party" then their comment would have been acceptable to you?
When we write “the Chinese” there is bound to be at least some subset of readers who see that and assume the write meant all Chinese.
I don’t believe we can be certain of the writers intent until the writer makes it clear.
What you're saying about "Chinese people" seems to me true of all people.
That isn't bullying and surely you can see how it would be alarming to see you jump to defense in this way, threatening to ban a user over that benign and relevant comment, including criticizing everyone who has supported that user.
> Does Ycombinator have any important Chinese business interests?
That does not constitute as proof of moderator's bias, though.
YC was doing something in China for a while but I have no idea how important it was. Knowledge about it hasn't trickled into our corner. HN commenters seem to know more about it than we do.
It's worth remembering that HN has editorial independence within YC: https://venturebeat.com/2015/09/29/y-combinator-spins-out-ha...
In a podcast episode, Mr Donovan discussed higher consumer prices in China and referred to an outbreak of African swine fever that has pushed up the cost of pork.
He said: “Does it matter? It matters if you are a Chinese pig. It matters if you like eating pork in China. It does not really matter to the rest of the world.”
This China thing is a current example. The NBA is cravenly grovelling to the CPC, and the SP creators are taking a proverbial dump on the lawns of the CPC and the NBA and Hollywood self-censors, while giving zero-fucks. Its great. Its inspiring. Another was when Isaac Hayes (actor who voiced Chef, and a Scientologist) quit when they did their Scientology episode (and it was such a brilliant episode, and at a time when Scientology was a bit of a sacred cow in Hollywood). Isaac had no problem when SP went (and continues to go) after Christianity.
Chances are, even if they really piss you off at some point, there have been other times when they've made you cheer and laugh.
Maybe "marginalized" may be closer to the word you were looking for?
Most people recognize SP as libertarian in general orientation, with a slight liberal bias.
Neither Obama nor Trump has spent a second in office thinking about its portrayal of them.
While I believe Matt & Trey are generally libertarian-leaning I've never detected the slightest bleed-through of libertarian/neoliberal idealism in the show itself.
I've not really watched the show regularly in years, maybe that's changed. I do know that they initially discussed the libertarianism at a time when it was the hip above-it-all precursor to modern both-sides-do-itism that was regularly adopted without much deep reverence to actual libertarianism.
I've never seen South Park as neutral. Its critique of American liberalism is surface level, its critique of American conservatism (whatever that means these days) was fundamental and ideological.
Moreover, I never saw the satire as much more than superficial. Which is fine, I always thought it funny but neither especially acerbic nor intellectual. I think leaning on that "neutral", above-it-all standpoint gave the show some credit that was somewhat undeserved.
I tend to find the degree of depth in South Park is entirely a function of whether you agree with their editorial position and/or whether you've already engaged with that line of thinking elsewhere. (And like every TV show ever, some episodes are good, some are stinkers.)
Why? Because they'll fuck you up? How exactly? Im not asking about presidents' personalities, what would their political friends think? To put it another way, who watches SP, and is it some marginal minority?
Depends on age, mostly: older people on all sides of the spectrum find SP crass. Younger people often think it's funny. You can find overwrought editorials about how SP is problematic/written by cucks, as it offends people on both sides on occasion.
I wouldn't say it's marginal, since everyone's at least heard of it. My general impression is that it tends to be watched by young-to-middle age college educated but middle class people, but you'd have to ask the studio to get a solid demographic breakdown.
Twenty-something college-educated salesmen do. He smokes pot, isn't on welfare, but will also work most of his life.
The intersection of class and education is too broad a topic to discuss in a couple comments, but hopefully that gives you an idea.
I guess this is as good a time as ever to not take freedom of speech for granted, that this concept is seemingly so hard to understand wherever you're from.
I assure you Trump does not like South Park.
But at the end of the day it doesn't matter what they think. There would be huge outrage if a President tried to silence a satirical show. They wouldn't be able to get away with it.
The paper found that Americans' views could be typified into three major groups. About 25% are traditional or devoted conservatives, 8% are progressive activists, and the other 67% are an "exhausted majority." The exhausted majority was typified as Americans who don't belong to either extreme, and "share a sense of fatigue with our polarized national conversation, a willingness to be flexible in their political viewpoints, and a lack of voice in the national conversation."
And most of everybody had a disdain for political correctness that transcends politics, race, and even age. The following think political correctness is a problem in the country:
- 80% of the general population
- 74% of those aged 24-29
- 79% of those under age 24
- 75% of blacks
- 79% of whites
- 82% of Asians
- 87% of Hispanics
- 88% of American Indians
There's a reasonable argument that perhaps people don't agree on what "political correctness" means, and indeed the poll part of the study did not define it for participants. However, the study engaged in various focus groups as well as individual interviews and found that individuals were "concerned about their day-to-day ability to express themselves: They worry that a lack of familiarity with a topic, or an unthinking word choice, could lead to serious social sanctions for them."
The reason this is important is that a lot of the political correctness stuff is carried out in domains that are in no way, shape, or form representative of the general population of America. This  poll from Pew lays out social media usage in the US. Twitter is a good, and surprising example. Only 22% of Americans use Twitter. And of those that do, 58% use it less often than once per day. Yet I think it goes without saying that our 8% from above are nearly all on Twitter and using it constantly. This results in an extremely misleading image of American society in general if you go in with the assumption that platforms like Twitter are even vaguely representative.
The point of this is that cancel culture not American culture. It's something propagated by a vocal minority on deeply unrepresentative platforms. By contrast South Park has been an American institution for more than two decades. And it continues to draw millions of viewers per episode. Cancel culture largely targets individuals who are unable to defend themselves or those for whom the "progressive activist" group makes up a significant share of their potential influence. For South Park, this couldn't be further from the case.
 - https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/10/large-majo...
 - https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/04/10/share-of-u-...