Also see: War Against Christmas 2001
[VDARE.COM warning: This is pretty revolting.]
"This [Christmas] episode has an important moral lesson," Comedy Central's South Park producer Matt Stone tells us in the prologue. "The moral of this episode is that everyone, regardless of your [sic] religion, should celebrate Christmas—because it's the best holiday."
The episode does indeed contain a message about Christmas. But whether it is the message Stone claims is open to question.
The "Mr. Hankey" episode opens with a child's recital of the famous passage from Luke that Linus speaks at the end of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" to explain to Charlie Brown - who is disgusted at how Christmas has become commercialized - the real meaning of Christmas: "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."
But in contrast to how Linus reverently recites Luke's words, however, the child in "Mr. Hankey" rushes through the text, as if it meant nothing to him or to anyone else present. This irreligious recital sets the tone for the entire episode.
The recitation from Luke is immediately followed by a rehearsal of the South Park school's Christmas play, "The Birth of Jesus," in which Mary moans as Joseph tells her, "Come on, Mary: push!" With a pop! a purple infant comes out of the girl playing the Blessed Virgin. This scene is, of course, meant to desanctify and mock the birth of Christ.
The hero of the episode is Kyle, a Jewish boy who is unpopular at school because of his mother's efforts to suppress the celebration of Christmas there. (She succeeds.) Mr. Hankey, a turd wearing a Santa Hat, issues from the toilet bowl in Kyle's house. He sings, dances and writes the word Noel in excrement on the bathroom mirror.
Kyle tells his schoolmates about the apparition of Mr. Hankey, but they deride him. The boy is sent to the school counselor, who has him put into a strait jacket and a padded cell.
However, when the school audience riots while viewing a "happy, non-offensive, non-denominational Christmas play," one of the children says: "Everyone is fighting and my best friend is in an institution, just because we didn't believe in Mr. Hankey."
At this point, the school children begin to say, "I believe in Mr. Hankey," and the Christmas Poo appears, telling everyone: "Don't fight... Let's sing and dance and bake cookies."
Harmony reigns, and Mr. Hankey makes his exit by jumping into Santa's sleigh, which is passing by the full moon.
Thus is the mystery of faith in Mr. Hankey proclaimed. Apparently, the viewer is meant to realize that Christmas can be cool - if Christians renounce their Christianity and celebrate a Christmas empty of holy significance.
The "Hankey" episode ends with a scene inside the South Park Public Access television station studio. The studio is empty save for a figure meant to represent Jesus Christ. He is alone at a big birthday table, singing "Happy Birthday To Me" in front of a birthday cake with lighted candles. The Christ-figure blows out the candles of his cake and is left in pitch blackness.
In the world of South Park, Christ is unimportant to the celebration of Christmas.
Christmas is indeed a time of peace and good will. In that sense, it may be enjoyed by all men, regardless of their religion. But must Christians be prohibited from celebrating one of their two holiest days as they traditional way? And does diversity necessitate blasphemy?
(Kevin Beary writes from his home in Italy, where by the grace of God, one can still say Buon Natale without being hauled into court.)
December 23, 2002