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Apple iPhone police censor South Park

Schizophrenic puritans

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Apple has blocked the creators of South Park from selling an iPhone app based on the long-running cartoon series.

According to a BoingBoing post, the blog site's "friends at South Park" said that "We first announced our iPhone App back in October, after we submitted the Application to Apple for approval. After a couple of attempts to get the application approved, we are sad to say that our app has been rejected."

The reason? The content was "potentially offensive."

South Park? Potentially offensive? Who knew?

Earth to Apple: South Park's rowdy rudeness is exactly why it has been a raging success since it first stuck its finger in our collective eye a dozen years ago.

The gatekeepers of the App Store have either been living in a cave since 1997 or are far more sensitive than the folks who approve the iTunes Store's movie and TV offerings. Apple is more than willing to sell you 12 seasons-worth of South Park episodes, as well as South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut (iTunes link), which could also be considered "potentially offensive" if you're Canadian, a fan of either Saddam Hussein or God, or a Jewish mother.

Apple's censorship is erratic, to say the least. Apple banned a jocular jubblies jiggler named iBoobs, but allowed two apps that essentially endorse the same juvenalia, Wobble and iJiggles - and then asked the Wobblers to remove any references to "boobs" and "booty" from their marketing blurb.

Boobs and booty may be bad in Apple's view, but it's perfectly fine for the iTunes Store to offer an entire line of audiobooks by Susie Bright (mildly NSFW) in which she discusses such arresting topics as why some poor fellow can't get off when his wife gives him head.

And although the Wobblers can't use the word "boobs," antediluvian comedienne Phyllis Diller is permitted to flog her book Men are Stupid...And They Like Big Boobs (iTunes link).

More serious is Apple's less boobaphobic puritanism. For example, last year it banned Infurious Comics' Murderdrome in a clear case of nanny-vendor censorship - another clearly inconsistent censorship decision, seeing as how such slasher flicks as the full Saw oeuvre are all readily available.

From our point of view, Cartman is infinitely cuter than the Jigsaw Killer.

Perhaps the reason for Apple's refusal to carry the South Park game is a simple case of economics. According to BoingBoing, the South Park app would allow iPhone and iPod Touch users "the ability to stream clips" of the show.

And although South Park clips - even full episodes - are available from the South Park web site, perhaps Apple simply doesn't want an iPhone-based clip player to supply content that it's getting good money for at the iTunes Store. ®

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