Suzy Vosefski, Ashley Button

Suzy Vosefski, Ashley Button

Suzy Vosefski, Ashley Button,

Eun Jeong So, Micheal Litton

Professor Thomas Geary

English 112: D10B


Ginger Kids

During the episode 201 of Comedy Central's irreverent animated TV show South Park, Eric Cartman delivers a speech to his class entitled “Ginger Kids: Children with red hair, light skin, and freckles.” As Cartman begins, it is immediately apparent that this is a satirical look at prejudge. “We've all seen them: on the playground, at the store, walking down the streets,” he continues, using a broad generalization to create his argument. “They creep us out and make us sick to our stomachs. I'm talking about, of course, Ginger Kids.” By stating that Ginger Kids are creepy and make us sick. Cartman lays the groundwork for what is clearly a hate speech against a minority with distinctive physical features. Cartman draws his audience in by using sensory language. Words such as see and play are physical actions that relate to the audience during the beginning of the argument.

He continues by saying that these children have “Gingervitis”, a disease that causes red hair, light skin, and freckles. This condition occurs because “Gingers” have no soul. By following the Toulmin method Cartman is establishing more grounds for his ultimate claim. He warrants the claim that “Gingers” have no soul by making the false analogy that because of their light skin and freckles, these children, like vampires who also have no soul, cannot go out in the sun. Additionally, Eric tells his classmates that there is no cure for “Gingervitis.” Cartman attempts to use this as his backing by comparing gingers and vampires.

During this part of the presentation, one of children in the class known as Kyle offers the rebuttal that he himself has red hair but does not need to avoid the sun. Kyle is expressing that the argument Cartman is trying to portray is irrelevant due to his exception. The rebuttal by Kyle also shows refutation, exploiting weakness and shortcoming in Cartman's position and that this argument should be dismissed. The objection is quickly countered by Cartman explaining that although Kyle has red hair, he does not have light skin and freckles, therefore is not a “Ginger”, but is instead a “Daywalker.” Kyle objects further by stating, “This is a bunch of crap. This isn't a presentation. It's a hate speech. People aren't creeped out by 'Gingers'”. It is here that another student replies, “I am.” Cartman then complains to the teacher that the interruptions are distracting, to which Mrs. Garrison responds by telling Kyle to not interrupt. This is analogous to a society in which people in authority turn a blind eye to prejudice, especially when there seems to be some consensus of thought.

Eric begins his conclusion with his claim, “The 'Gingers' gene, like vampires, is a curse and unless we work to rid the Earth of this curse the 'Gingers' could envelope our lives in blackness for all time.” Since Eric has not given us any evidence of “Gingers” being like vampires other than their lack of tolerance to the sun, this statement seems to be a bit of a slippery slope. Clearly this is a logical fallacy that a critical listener would easily recognize. “It's time that we all admit to ourselves,” he continues, “that 'Gingers' are vile and disgusting.” By making the assumption that his audience agree with him, Cartman's arrogance puts him at risk of alienating the classmates that are yet undecided. Finally, while projecting a picture of ginger comedian “Carrot Top,” Cartman concludes, “I will leave you with this. If you think that the ginger problem is not a serious one... think again.” Once again, he assumes that everyone shares his negative opinion of “Carrot Top,” but we cannot conclude that this is the case.

Although this speech is nontraditional, it is a good example of the Toulmin model. Eric Cartman provides us with all of the elements including claims, grounds, warrants, backing, and rebuttal. Although Cartman may have lost some of his audience due to logical fallacies and assumptions of their opinions, less critical listeners were likely moved by his presentation. Additionally, the producers of South Park were successful in addressing the issue of prejudice in an insightful and comedic way.