"What What" South Park Is Being Sued ... Again
South Park is being sued over a 2008 episode that spoofed the YouTube sensation “What What (In My Butt).”
According to E! News, Brownmark Films, the creator of the song, filed a lawsuit against South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. In the episode called “Canada on Strike,” lovable South Park character, Butters, sings “What What (In My Butt)” to an animated version of the original song.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone are constantly coming under fire for their show’s content, described by critics as “crude, surreal, satirical, and [includes] dark humor that lampoons a wide range of topics.”
It comes as no surprise, therefore, that the controversial program's makers face everything from threats of legal action to death threats.
Strangely, out of all the lawsuits, including ones dealing with sensitive topics such as religion and race, the latest is about a video parody.
Executives are upset because a show is making fun of a comedic YouTube video. A parody is hardly plagiarism, but what makes this latest fiasco interesting is that South Park has traditionally been condemned by religious and racial groups.
Long time fans will recall the episode featuring the character of Chef making fun of Scientology. No group or individual is free from criticism or satire. Perhaps spoofing, especially when done across the board, makes people think about the humorous aspects of race, religion and politics. Hopefully it makes the audience take themselves a little less seriously.
Those who have seen the original “What What (In My Butt)” segment know the 2008 South Park spoof makes plenty of hilarious sense. YouTube viral sensations have become much of our culture in the sense that they are quoted or referenced, and therefore fair game.
With websites such as YouTube, it will be easier to create parodies and remixes. This new digital age is also bringing along a remix culture. Painters have now turned into remix artists where their work can also showcase a message or just be used for pure entertainment. We can even see the benefits of remixes through another YouTube sensation, Antoine Dodson, where the video has sparked many creative forms of expression such as slam poetry, Halloween costumes, interest in remixing, and looking at news as a potential form of art.
While YouTube does make it difficult to deal with issues surrounding intellectual property, I do think that this content should be subject to parodies and remixes because it has become the new form of expression and style of television shows. It is clear to most viewers that the content is inspired.
YouTube videos as well as music videos have become too scared of their usage in popular culture. Rather than threaten a lawsuit, the makers of the "What, What (In My Butt)" video ought to be pleased that South Park's creative had resurrected their video.
Ultimately, this threat of lawsuit has little merit. The episode originally aired in 2008. We're on the verge of 2011. Brownmark Films should have discussed this matter when it happened because now the sense is the driving force behind the lawsuit is money. There are so many other remixes of this song on YouTube to date, so suing South Park's creators is disingenuous and attacks U.S. legislation involving fair use and parody.
Jim Jarmusch, an independent film maker, once said, “Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, clouds, bodies of water, light, and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent.”
Reach Evelina Weary here.