Author Topic: Apu is offensive!  (Read 460 times)

Offline Munch (OP)

Apu is offensive!
« on: November 16, 2017, 06:57:30 AM »


http://www.nme.com/news/tv/new-documentary-asks-simpsons-apu-offensive-racist-stereotype-2159199

"The Problem with Apu' airs this weekend

Quote
A new documentary sets out to investigate the impact of The Simpsons character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon – and how widely he’s considered to be an offensive stereotype to people of Indian and Asian descent.

Set to premiere this weekend on November 19 on truTV,  The Problem With Apu follows comedian and Simpsons‘ fan Hari Kondabolu as he interviews figures from the world of entertainment including Aziz Ansari, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Maulik Pancholy, Sakina Jaffrey, Whoopi Goldberg and Kal Penn to look into the problematic nature of iconic shop-owner.

“Kids in the playground would always mimic the accent and say ‘Thank you, come again!’ or ‘Hello, Mr Homer!’” Kondabolu told the BBC. “Sure, growing up in New York City everyone tries to be funny. If you grow up there you learn to make jokes and how to make comebacks, but it’s hard to counter an accent – what’s your comeback for an accent?”

He continued: “The Simpsons is an important work of art that has influenced so many, including myself. Apu was the only Indian we had on TV at all so I was happy for any representation as a kid. And of course he’s funny, but that doesn’t mean this representation is accurate or right or righteous. It gets to the insidiousness of racism, though, because you don’t even notice it when it’s right in front of you. It becomes so normal that you don’t even think about it. It seeps into our language to the point we don’t even question it because it seems like it’s just been that way forever.”

Speaking of the stereotypical traits that Apu has been loaded with, Kondabolu said: “He’s defined almost entirely by his job. But he also happens to have eight kids, a joke about India having so many people, and he has an arranged marriage via this weird matchmaking system that’s almost like football draft picks.

“And even though some may defend Apu with ‘Well, he’s a small business owner, and he’s a key part of the community and he’s loved,’ he’s still so limiting, because he’s never grown. I mean, some Simpsons characters have changed – some have died, Flanders became a widow. But the only Indian in town has always been a convenience store owner.”

White actor Hank Azaria has voiced Apu since the ’90s – a portrayal which Kondabolu describes as “a white guy doing an impression of a white guy making fun of my father.”

Elaborating on Apu being voiced by a white actor, Kondabolu told NBC: “To imagine a white dude doing that voice, that was a torment. It was like bullying from behind the screen.”


In a clip from the documentary, Azaria himself that’s Apu’s voice and manner may be considered offensive.


“Right away, they were like, ‘Can you do an Indian voice and how offensive can you make it?’” he said of early auditions for the part. “I was like: ‘It’s not tremendously accurate, it’s a little stereotyped,’ and they were like: ‘Nah, that’s alright!’”

Responding to critics at the trailer’s conclusion, Kondabolu added: “I realise some of you think I’m some annoying, PC, social justice warrior that’s very sensitive and you’re probably thinking ‘come on snow flake, let it go’. Well I have let it go – for 28 years.”

I think the first comment made at the bottom of the article says it all. Simpsons uses stereotypes and makes fun of EVERYTHING!



Yet, the only character this guy takes offense to, is the Indian stereotype. i would even say Apu more of a well rounded character on simpsons then many of the examples above, because he has a character arch and progressive story. To say this guy misses the point of what the simpsons is as a show entirely is an understatement.

« Last Edit: November 16, 2017, 07:04:02 AM by Munch »

Offline Baruch

Re: Apu is offensive!
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2017, 07:09:49 AM »
Some people love to be offended.  I piss in their general direction.
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Re: Apu is offensive!
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2017, 07:41:04 AM »
« Last Edit: November 16, 2017, 07:43:52 AM by _Xenu_ »
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Re: Apu is offensive!
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2017, 07:45:46 AM »
Click this link once a day to feed shelter animals. Its free.

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Offline SGOS

Re: Apu is offensive!
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2017, 08:04:18 AM »
Everyone is made fun of in the Simpsons.  No one gets a pass.  It's part of the show's appeal.  Do Indians take offense when the show makes fun of Christians, rednecks, politicians, or scientists?  Part of the humor is that Indians seem to gravitate to owning convenience stores.  The Simpson's is a stereotype of the stereotype.  Don't tell me you haven't noticed that an unusual number of Indians run convenience stores.  Perhaps a better stereotype would be a humorless doctor who never does anything stupid, but that wouldn't be as funny.

Online Shiranu

Re: Apu is offensive!
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2017, 10:45:30 AM »
To be fair, I can completely see how it's an offensive character. On the other, if they are offensive to everyone equally... then it really seems like tough shit for them.

I think we shouldn't go out of our way to be offensive, but at the same it is a genre of comedy that is likely not going away any time soon.

It is different though between white people making fun of fellow white people and white people making fun of minorities they have oppressed for generations. It's easy as a white person to say get over it, but it's really not that easy.
Om Mani Padme Hum

Re: Apu is offensive!
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2017, 12:19:49 PM »
Quote
“And even though some may defend Apu with ‘Well, he’s a small business owner, and he’s a key part of the community and he’s loved,’ he’s still so limiting, because he’s never grown. I mean, some Simpsons characters have changed – some have died, Flanders became a widow. But the only Indian in town has always been a convenience store owner.
Unlike Groundskeeper Willie, Super Nintendo Chaumers, Comic Book guy, Lenny, Carl, Burns, Moe...

Also, Apu does have some hidden depth to him.  He's consistently caring and (when not hawking crappy convenience store items) pretty honest.  And compared to other Springfield characters, he's one of the most level-headed characters around.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2017, 12:25:47 PM by Hydra009 »

Re: Apu is offensive!
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2017, 12:22:47 PM »
It is different though between white people making fun of fellow white people and white people making fun of minorities they have oppressed for generations. It's easy as a white person to say get over it, but it's really not that easy.
But most people on the Simpsons are yellow, not white.  :P

Offline Munch (OP)

Re: Apu is offensive!
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2017, 01:46:02 PM »
The thing is, simpsons is a cartoon, with real world settings, but its still a cartoon, meaning it operates on cartoonish logic. Its also a parody, opening itself to modern day humor. If you take stuff that happens in shows like simpsons, south park, family guy and rick and morty serious enough to consider it 'offensive', then your missing the point of parody entirely.

Think about the humor George Carlin once gave on on stage, ahead of its time, and he pretty much took the piss out of everything and everyone. Its comedy, and in comedy if you without making fun of a certain group because they get offended by being mocked, then they deserve to be mocked all the more for it. Being thinned skinned that comedy offends you means you need to grow some. If you can't laugh at yourself, then your pretty much a no hope case.

Re: Apu is offensive!
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2017, 02:28:28 PM »
I like this Simpsons gif:








People who can't stand being made fun of shouldn't make fun of others.
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Online Shiranu

Re: Apu is offensive!
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2017, 03:53:23 PM »
Except not really.

As a society, we have agreed that certain ethnicities are not in taste to make jokes about; for example, jokes about "those" blacks in the hood by a white guy is racist, same joke by an African American isn't. That's just the way society works.

Humour and comedy does not have an inalienable right to be offensive; society and the consumer decides what is acceptable. And I don't see any logical reason for comedy to be hateful or offensive for offense sake. I love Carlin, Pryor, 9/11 and Holocaust jokes... but if society said the last two weren't acceptable in society because they only serve to shock and not to actually make a point, I don't think anything of value would be lost.

It comes down to how "free" freedom of speech should go, and ultimately that all comes down to culture; for every argument that it should be completely free, there is a just as logical and valid reason why it should be restricted. So at the end of the day all i can really count on is what harms the least amount of people and think that is what we should aim for.

Being rude and not understanding one another may be the norm, but that doesn't mean it's how it should or has to be.

Edit: And I don't mean that in that I personally think this is offensive; problematic? Certainly. But offensive? That's not my place to decide. It does further a derogatory stereotype though, and as I said... that is inherently problematic.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2017, 04:09:07 PM by Shiranu »
Om Mani Padme Hum

Re: Apu is offensive!
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2017, 05:01:17 PM »
I wonder what Dopender thinks of this.
We 'new atheists' have a reputation for being militant, but make no mistake  we didn't start this war. If you want to place blame put it on the the religious zealots who have been poisoning the minds of the  young for a long long time."
PZ Myers

Online Mr.Obvious

Re: Apu is offensive!
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2017, 05:36:23 PM »
As a society, we have agreed that certain ethnicities are not in taste to make jokes about; for example, jokes about "those" blacks in the hood by a white guy is racist, same joke by an African American isn't. That's just the way society works.


Well, I gotta say, honestly, that sounds awful and racist.
I'd rather not live in that society.
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Online Shiranu

Re: Apu is offensive!
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2017, 06:25:29 PM »
Well, I gotta say, honestly, that sounds awful and racist.
I'd rather not live in that society.

How?

Look at it from an African Americans perspective: The people who enslaved generations of your ancestors, who fought tooth and nail to deny you civil rights, who continue to pass laws and regulations that keep you poor or murdered in the street to either gangsters or policemen are making jokes about your poverty and way of life... I don't think it is even remotely a stretch to see how some African Americans can find that offensive.

I don't understand how white people always find a way to make it all about us. That is not even remotely racist to think that the differences in social power makes it okay for a group to make jokes about themselves but not as acceptable for the oppressor to make jokes about them.

It would be like a Chinese man making a dark joke about Nanking and a Japanese man making the same joke, or a Congolese making a joke about the Belgian Congo and then a Belgian making the same... you may think it's horrible that they can't both say the same thing, but that's like finding the rising of the sun horrible.

Making it okay to casually joke about oppressed minorities makes any meaningful dialog about actually helping them near impossible. Comedians like Carlin are fine, because at the end of the day his jokes were about bringing awareness to an issue. But just a random joke like, "lol those Indians with their gas stations!", "ching chong ding dong I r Chinese" and "Lolol black people and grape juice, amirite?" bring nothing to the table and have no real reason to be defended.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2017, 06:29:08 PM by Shiranu »
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Offline Baruch

Re: Apu is offensive!
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2017, 06:41:51 PM »
Everyone is made fun of in the Simpsons.  No one gets a pass.  It's part of the show's appeal.  Do Indians take offense when the show makes fun of Christians, rednecks, politicians, or scientists?  Part of the humor is that Indians seem to gravitate to owning convenience stores.  The Simpson's is a stereotype of the stereotype.  Don't tell me you haven't noticed that an unusual number of Indians run convenience stores.  Perhaps a better stereotype would be a humorless doctor who never does anything stupid, but that wouldn't be as funny.

Futurama ... a Jewish doctor who is shellfish ;-))
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