Friday, August 10, 2012

Case Study No. 0494: South Park Public Librarian

Southpark staffel 13 episode 12 part 2.wmv
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[scene opens inside the South Park Public Library, as a group of bikers are sitting around a table and looking up the word "fag" in the dictionary, with the lead biker reading the definition out loud]
BIKER 1: "'Faggot', often shortened to 'fag', has been used in the English language since the late sixteenth century. Its original meaning was an old or unpleasant woman."
BIKER 2: That certainly don't apply to us!
BIKER 1: "'Faggot' later was defined as a bundle of sticks, and in the nineteenth century, a 'faggot gatherer' was someone who made a meager living gathering firewood."
BIKER 3: Well, they certainly ain't calling us fags 'cause we gather sticks! There's got to be more!
[all of the bikers become agitated and loudly mimic the sound of motorcycle engine noises, then cut to the front desk, as the elderly female librarian shushes them]
[they continue to make motorcycle engine noises (only they lower their voices so as not to "disturb" the librarian), when one of the bikers points to the dictionary]
BIKER 2: What's that part say there?
BIKER 1: "Later, the term 'fag' was defined as any awkward bundle to be carried, and was often used an an insult to the elderly, as in calling them 'baggage'."
BIKER 2: "Fag" was used as an insult to women, then poor people, then old people?
BIKER 1: "In the early 1900s, the word became a pe-jo-ra-tive term against homosexuals and trans-gender people in the United States."
BIKER 4: Well, that word just keeps changing its meaning! What's it got to do with us?
[the bikers become agitated again and loudly mimic the sound of motorcycle engine noises]
[the bikers once again lower the volume of their voices, while continuing to make motorcycle engine noises]



"The F Word" is the twelfth episode of the thirteenth season of the American animated television series South Park, and the 193rd overall episode of the series. It originally aired on Comedy Central in the United States on November 4, 2009. In the episode, the boys attempt to change the official definition of the word "fag" from an anti-homosexual slur to a term describing loud and obnoxious Harley bikers.

In the episode, they boys (Cartman, Stan, Kyle, Kenny) and their friends (Jimmy Vulmer, Clyde Donovan and Token Black) devise a plan to rid the town of the bikers. Once Butters reveals that he likes Harley motorcycles, he is not allowed to participate in the scheme. As the riders eat at a diner, Cartman defecates on the seats of their motorcycles while Kyle and Stan spray paint "FAGS GET OUT" on several buildings around town. The boys are pleased when the bikers temporarily leave town, but the graffiti alarms Big Gay Al and Mr. Slave because they interpret it as intolerance against homosexuals.

The boys confess to the spray-painting, and explain to the city council that the word "fag" is not intended as an insult to homosexuals, and is more commonly used nowadays in reference to a contemptible person who rides a Harley motorcycle, or "an inconsiderate douchebag", as Stan puts it. They call upon the council to formally recognize this new usage. Support from the town, including the local gay community, results in a town ordinance declaring a change in the word's definition. This action leads to negative publicity from the rest of the nation, and further angers the displaced bikers who refuse to be labeled as "fags". They look up the word in the dictionary at the local library and learn its definition has adapted over the years: it previously meant "an unpleasant old woman" and a bundle of sticks.

Upset by the national attention, Mayor McDaniels wants to resolve the situation, and the boys suggest getting the official dictionary definition updated. The town invites the English Dictionary Officiates, led by Emmanuel Lewis, to review the proposal and consider making the definition change official. As the town celebrates the arrival of Lewis and the Officiates, the bikers suddenly crash the event and begin to riot. After inflicting damage to the town and scaring off the citizens, they corner the boys in an alley. The bikers demand they stop being called "fags", but the boys refuse to do so, asserting their behavior further justifies the application of the term. Butters steps between them and comes to the defense of the riders by expressing his admiration for the Harley-Davidson lifestyle. Confronted by gun-wielding residents led by Big Gay Al, the riders ultimately accept their new label, and Lewis (who was roughed up during the riot) is happy to declare the definition officially changed.

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