If South Park teeters on the cliff’s edge of socially acceptable satire, then Ahmed and Salim has long since jumped off and smacked against the ground below. And that’s why we love the web. No matter how provocative or outlandish the political statement, all artists have a voice.
Ahmed and Salim, created by Israeli animators Or Paz and Tom Trager, warps the image of two sons of a Palestinian arch-terrorist with a series of strikingly lighthearted Abbott and Costello routines.
The brothers botch a bus-bombing when distracted by ice cream. Their father resolves a dispute over unrequited love of a Jewish girl by shooting her dead. It’s basically Team America or Achmed the Dead Terrorist, except in cartoon form instead of puppets.
In one episode since removed from YouTube, the father dreams he has become a “stinking Jewish rabbi,” and his sons do what they were taught to do when encountering a Jew: they shoot him in the testicles.
The purported funny, I think, is in the absurd mischaracterization: these iPod-toting, Wii-playing failed terrorists minimize the act of massacre as tantamount to a Western teenager’s daily chores.
But is there a larger political point to the ascription of silly Western values to a community that shares few of its freedoms or luxuries, or the minimization of a gruesome political act? If so, I’ve not yet figured it out. To me, this is sensationalism for the sake of attention alone. And it doesn’t do much to advance the cause of peace.
The creators apparently aispire to television distribution of their shocking, ephemeral, and yet clever news piece. Ha!