“Respect my authoritah!” – said the drunk on a power trip Cartman in his shiny glasses riding a police bike.
He is the satire of all that is corrupt, low, self-centered and opportunistic and spoiled in this world, but softened to a point where you cannot judge him because he’s just a little boy, which in turn gives the makers of Southpark infinite freedom to tell the truth trough comedy. You’ll laugh even though what they are portraying is mostly not funny, but this laugh will be a comic relief of the reality finally decompressed by the truth. You never laugh as hard as you do when the joke is “Funny ‘cause it’s true”. Although Cartman goes around demanding everyone, from his friend’s dad to a snake, to respect his “authoritah” the nugget of truth here is that he’s carrying a police rod as well – and he always has to use it – because a power demanding respect for noting and with no merit needs to revert to force to get the respect it demands.
What they get in this way is not respect, it is fear of being reprimanded for not showing respect you don’t feel because it was not earned, but the power that demands instead of earns doesn’t care if it really isn’t respect, as long as it gets its way. Fear is close enough if it gives the control over someone or something. This method is widely applied in the manipulation tactics of politics and marketing – “You should show me respect by voting for me or my party because if you don’t something horrifying will happen if my opponent wins.”; “You should buy this expensive purifier because tap water is toxic and you’re slowly killing yourself by not opening your wallet”… Fear is a great manipulator. Although its use is exenterated in Cartman’s case, it is not that far from reality. War is a way to control and gain respect through violence, all structures that threaten to take something away or make something difficult or painful, all relationships in which you’re loved only as long as you follow a certain protocol and never challenge the one that „loves”, all riots in the streets where “authoritah” and “freedom” of speech, conviction and choice is “protected” by clubs or teargas… they are the same in their core. They are demanding things that can only be earned.
Why wouldn’t representatives in the government bodies or companies, or organizations be chosen based on their credentials and not the number of times they manage to infiltrate your day with their face? Why wouldn’t you create products that are so good, useful and appealing that you don’t need to manipulate your customers by fear. This will never be fully implemented because everything that needs your attention to exist has become very god at understanding how vulnerable you really are to being manipulated by primal emotions, and how utterly easy it is to shower you with cheap “entertainment” of the senses so you’re never calm enough to revise your initial reactions.
Don’t be naïve, don’t be afraid, don’t just accept everything you see as given, some things cannot be demanded… well they can, but the demand doesn’t have to, nor should it be, gratified.