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October 27, 2003
South Park Republicans

In the Autumn 2003 edition of City Journal, Brian Anderson asserts that the right is no longer losing the culture wars:

The Left’s near monopoly over the institutions of opinion and information—which long allowed liberal opinion makers to sweep aside ideas and beliefs they disagreed with, as if they were beneath argument—is skidding to a startlingly swift halt. The transformation has gone far beyond the rise of conservative talk radio, that, ever since Rush Limbaugh’s debut 15 years ago, has chipped away at the power of the New York Times, the networks, and the rest of the elite media to set the terms of the nation’s political and cultural debate. Almost overnight, three huge changes in communications have injected conservative ideas right into the heart of that debate. Though commentators have noted each of these changes separately, they haven’t sufficiently grasped how, taken together, they add up to a revolution: no longer can the Left keep conservative views out of the mainstream or dismiss them with bromide instead of argument. Everything has changed.

What has changed is the advent of Fox News, cable entertainment, book publishing, and the Internet, but read the entire article, of course. Andrew Sullivan has been talking about "South Park Republicans (and again in today's Daily Dish), and this article gives extensive support for the concept:

Andrew Sullivan dubs the fans of all this cable-nurtured satire “South Park Republicans”—people who “believe we need a hard-ass foreign policy and are extremely skeptical of political correctness” but also are socially liberal on many issues, Sullivan explains. Such South Park Republicanism is a real trend among younger Americans, he observes: South Park’s typical viewer, for instance, is an advertiser-ideal 28.

Talk to right-leaning college students, and it’s clear that Sullivan is onto something. Arizona State undergrad Eric Spratling says the definition fits him and his Republican pals perfectly. “The label is really about rejecting the image of conservatives as uptight squares—crusty old men or nerdy kids in blue blazers. We might have long hair, smoke cigarettes, get drunk on weekends, have sex before marriage, watch R-rated movies, cuss like sailors—and also happen to be conservative, or at least libertarian.” Recent Stanford grad Craig Albrecht says most of his young Bush-supporter friends “absolutely cherish” South Park–style comedy “for its illumination of hypocrisy and stupidity in all spheres of life.” It just so happens, he adds, “that most hypocrisy and stupidity take place within the liberal camp.”

Anyone familiar with the television show South Park will not be surprised by these reactions, and the fact that today's high-school and college students seem to identify with these positions means trouble for Democrats, who rely on younger-skewing demographics as swing voters. These are tomorrow's academics; the far-left tilt at the nation's universities will soon be under assault. The sixties and its decades-long love affair with socialism may finally be over in Academia.

What surprised me was how much more conservative/libertarian entertainment was found beyond South Park. The success of such shows may finally embolden conservative/libertarian elements in the entertainment industry to come out from their shells and create a balance in Hollywood's product, which has been lamentably one-sided where politics are involved. And balanced is all we ask for.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 27, 2003 11:35 AM

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