Mohammed appeared on Wednesday night's US episode of the cartoon with his body obscured by a black box, since Muslims consider a physical representation of their prophet to be blasphemous. Last week, the character was believed to be disguised in a bear costume. When that same costume was removed this week, Santa Claus appeared.The very idea of blasphemy against any religion is such an obviously human one. There is no god. But if there were a being of such awesome unimaginable power, would it really be necessary for people to protect this god from ridicule? It's not like this alleged creator of the universe would have the emotional constitution of a fragile young child being mocked on the playground for having a goofy haircut. This is supposed to be an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent deity. Few other human attitudes do more to highlight the absurdity of blind faith than throwing a temper tantrum and demanding that everyone else give respect to the irrational belief in imaginary beings.
In some respects, science has far surpassed religion in delivering awe. How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, "This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant. God must be even greater than we dreamed"? Instead they say, "No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way." —Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994
The plot of episodes "200" and "201" are quite convoluted and silly, in true South Park fashion. But as with many episodes, it's a subversive, intentionally offensive morality play. Buddha is depicted snorting cocaine, Jesus admits viewing porn on the internet, but a box covers Mohammed at all times and even the mention of his name by the characters is bleeped in the audio. The closed captions, however, weren't altered. Even more absurd, a "lessons learned" speech at the end of the show, which made no mention of Mohammed, was completely bleeped out (including the closed captions). Apparently, Comedy Central completely caved to what can only be described as terroristic "warnings."
Before the September 11, 2001 attacks, and years before the murderous riots by angry Muslims, pissed over a few Mohammed cartoons, the episode "Super Best Friends" (July 4, 2001), showed an apparently innocuous cartoon version of Mohammed as part of the plot, but there were no riots, no death threats then. On April 5, 2006 and April 12, 2006, a two part episode "Cartoon Wars" had terrified characters throughout the US burying their heads in sand to show Muslims that they had no part in the airing of a picture of Mohammed on the show Family Guy (well, the South Park parody of Family Guy). They built the suspense, first showing an episode within an episode with a black censorship box. The next week, they were supposedly going to show it unedited, but Comedy Central wouldn't air it:Douche and Turd" episode, in which Stan decides not to vote for a school election, and is threatend by Puff Daddy to "Vote or Die" (an actual slogan he used in pro-voting commercials). As usual, their over-the-top theme serves to illustrate the stupidity of people feeling obligated to vote in an election, even if they don't like either candidate.