In their early career. Parker and Stone accustomed themselves to a position firmly outside the Hollywood system. but they became darlings of the establishment when South Park took off. It was a short-lived love affair. 'Everyone hates us again.‘ Stone happily confirms.
‘We were starting to get invited to all these parties — Vanity Fair and stuff. all these stars — but there was always this feeling that this is the culture that we rip on all the time . . recalls Parker.
‘. . . And we couldn‘t really rip on it because we were in it. We were part ofit.‘
'But now that they‘re writing about how much we suck again. and how trite and stupid we are. we feel better.‘
Few would bother to argue that Saul/I Park was without its elements of stupidity. However. one might tentatively suggest that some of the themes addressed in the movie — censorship. warmongering. mass hysteria stirred up by self-appointed moral guardians — border on the significant. Is there a social conscience lurking behind the smut‘.’ 'It really just comes from us.‘ says Parker. ‘and how we‘ve lived the last
couple of years. We‘re kind of the eye of the storm and we see all the posturing the politicians make and all the blame and bullshit that people throw around when something happens. Particularly the last few months have made the film more poignant . . .‘
Poignant is one way of putting it. Sick. lewd and dangerous are terms that might crop up more frequently. with media and politicians still licking the PR wounds inflicted by the Balkans war and seeking scapegoats for the Denver school massacre. Then there are the celebrities whose spotless reputations Trey and Parker treat with the mimnum of respect. ‘We don‘t know them as people.’ says Stone. ‘What we‘re making fun of is American culture. Celebrities are like royalty in this country. But other than Barbra Streisand — who we really do hate — they‘re just people.‘
‘Why is it shocking when we make fun of Winona Ryder. and it‘s not shocking that for five years everyone pants and worships at her feet'." asks an unrepentant Parker.
Despite having snuggled tip to film company Paramount. the
selling out. They retain the same
vehemently refute accusations of
degree of control over their work that they had from day one; they still write every TV episode. and the same principle applied to the film. ‘We said we wouldn‘t do the movie unless we had final cut. which meant they couldn‘t change anything. That's why it‘s not a sellout.’ Parker is conscious. however. that integrity counts for little in the cutthroat American market. ‘If you look at the crop of movies that are coming out this summer. the box office numbers are absolutely independent of the quality of the movie. The Star Wars movie was a terrible. terrible piece of film. and I don‘t think anyone disagrees with that. But it will break all the records. The hype makes the numbers. not the movie.‘
All of which sounds noble and high-minded. until you remember the speaker's own work. a central concern of which is a boisterously perverted sexual liaison between Satan himself and Saddam Hussein. Parker and Stone: innovators in the gentle art of swearing. political satirists and taboo- humping pioneers of free speech. They have come for your children.
South Park: Bigger, Longer And Uncut goes on general release on Fri 10 Sep.
'There is no
previous cut of this movie
that's any more nasty than this one is.’ Matt Stone
26 Aug—9 Sea 1999 THE LIST 114