In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing disease to spread.
As Cartman chooses to believe the repeatedly debunked myth concerning a link between vaccines and autism, he asks his mother if getting his shots is really worth the risk of ending up “artistic,” “like Jimmy,” or, “like Token.”
Cartman’s characteristically hateful, ignorant comparison highlights something disturbing about the anti-vax conspiracy theorists - the (imaginary) threat of autism is considered worse than the threat of death.Mike Madrid at Medium:
As Randy continues his obnoxious celebration of ill-gotten wealth, he finds himself ostracized by the townspeople, along with Liane. As the two share their grievances, claiming that they are only doing what’s right for their family, both manage to reduce an issue that affects the entire community into a story about themselves.
But the two have a sudden change of heart and decide to make amends, Liane hilariously taking a vaccine for her squealing son, and Randy finally reconciling with Towlie. ‘Tegrity Farms is now sticking to its values, and so, it seems, is South Park.
At a time of historic political polarization, the anti-vaccination movement has accomplished something unprecedented: It has united the left and right fringes of the political spectrum.
The anti-vaccine movement is a curious blend of anti-government sentiment on the right and a revolt against all things “big” on the left. This toxic cocktail has spawned a new form of populism built on institutional distrust and conspiracy theories about governments and corporations, as well as a convergence of race and gender politics.
Two clear characteristics define the movement: growing moral isolationism disguised as a strong belief in freedom, along with an overwhelmingly white and female activist base.