Free Republic
Browse · Search
Bloggers & Personal
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

What’s wrong with stereotyping? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ It’s much Apu about nothing…
Flopping Aces | 04-15-18 | Wordsmith

Posted on 04/17/2018 9:57:41 AM PDT by Starman417

I quit watching The Simpsons years ago. Not due to anything in particular. Just lost interest (plus I've not had a working television for almost the last 20 years, now).

Recently, a comedian kicked up some brouhaha over one of the Simpson characters in a documentary: Apu, a Hindu Indian immigrant stereotype in that he has a thick Indian accent and owns/runs a convenience store. (Gee, so unrealistic, right?)

The Simpsons volleyed back:

Mr. Kondabolu accuses the makers of “The Simpsons” of racism and laments that Apu’s accent—voiced by the Greek-American actor Hank Azaria —sounds like “a white guy doing an impression of a white guy making fun of my father.”

In response, the show gave viewers a scene in which Marge Simpson reads her daughter Lisa a bedtime story so stripped of all political incorrectness that it’s “as boring as a Sunday in Cincinnati.” The camera then pans to a framed portrait of Apu on Lisa’s bedside, in which he’d inscribed an exhortation to the young vegetarian: “Don’t have a cow!” Predictably, the critics went bovine, accusing “The Simpsons” of treating Mr. Kondabolu with disdain.

Kondabolu has earned some ridicule. A comedian who can't laugh at "himself" in cultural caricature?

Hari Kondabolu's documentary can be viewed here.

In the documentary, an interviewed actor, Utkarsh Ambudkar, acknowledges that The Simpsons stereotypes EVERYONE. Every character is a walking stereotype. Why should an Indian character be the exception, just because you are Indian? According to Utkarsh and Hari, it's because in American pop culture there is no other Indian representation out there. So all the other ethnic, religious, political, gender, and occupation stereotypes get a pass from Hari who was a big fan of the show; but he- a comedian by trade- can't feel his funny bone being tickled by Apu? That he was bullied growing up as an Indian-American on account of the Simpson's character?

Is the name racist? Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. The last name is ridiculously long and based on nonsense stereotyping. I mean, "Kondabolu" would have been less offensive, since it's real, right? After all, The Simpsons isn't meant to be a caricaturized, fictional universe, poking fun at everything, right?

Hari then goes on to dissect where the first name of "Apu" comes from. Matt Groenig says it comes from the "Apu Trilogy", a series of three Bengali films directed by Satyajit Ray. Vogue film critic John Powers describes the character of Apu as a "multi-dimensional human being who grows living through pain and tragedy and beauty." Powers takes issue with the name of the film hero to be associated with the Apu of the Simpsons' store clerk as a "huge diminishment". Really?!

In the world of The Simpsons where every character is a walking, breathing stereotype, and where the town is filled with a huge ensemble cast of recurring characters, Apu has been fleshed out into a very multi-dimensional character that rises above the stereotyped packaging. And he is heroic. His story is the success story of American immigrants in a good, positive light.

He is as American as Gulab Jamun:

Let us accept that Apu’s accent is inauthentic. Does it matter? He’s a caricature, like everyone else in the show—most notably Homer Simpson, an exaggeratedly feckless, underemployed blue-collar white guy who guzzles cheap beer at midday. He is coastal America’s archetype of a Trump voter, although he first appeared 31 years ago.

But the quintessence of Apu—and the fundamental flaw in the critique of his character—is that he is both foreign and very American. Apu is lovable in his familiarity: the stalwart, law-abiding proprietor of a 24-hour shop who, through his hard work and desire to succeed, enhances the neighborhood community. He gives idle teenagers a place to buy Squishees, and dads a place to pick up diapers and beer at 2 a.m. He represents the American trajectory of immigrant success and assimilation.

Apu is not a cultural separatist but an American, with American friends of all ethnicities with whom he shares a common culture—in parallel with the culture of his South Indian roots. He honors his origins by marrying his harridan mother’s choice of bride, and his American friends celebrate the Indian wedding. He had been Springfield’s most sought-after bachelor, because—caricature alert!—he has an advanced degree and his own business. He also drives an eye-catching Pontiac Firebird.

His accent apart, Apu is a Midwestern pillar. Would the critics really have him speak like the other characters in the show, as if to say you’re not American unless you sound like someone from Des Moines? Are all caricatured accents racist? Should we ban “foreigners” from comedy shows altogether?

Political correctness and issues of free speech sometimes cuts across political lines, seeing liberals such as Andrew Sullivan and Bill Maher coming to the defense of the Simpsons. Al Jean,

(Excerpt)

TOPICS: Politics; Society
KEYWORDS: apu; simpsons

1 posted on 04/17/2018 9:57:41 AM PDT by Starman417
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Starman417

Do they have a “Windows” rep ever call the Simpsons? Just sayin’. They are always Paki or Indian. Not my fault they fit the stereotype.

2 posted on 04/17/2018 10:09:22 AM PDT by ozaukeemom (9/11/01 Never Forget. Never.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Starman417

Stereotyping works because there is always an element of truth.

3 posted on 04/17/2018 10:29:36 AM PDT by Bonemaker (invictus maneo)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Starman417

I’m Italian, therefore I am offended by all their Italian characters being in the mafia. They don’t get mad, they get stabby and have lots of bottomless pits to throw the bodies into. /s

4 posted on 04/17/2018 10:58:49 AM PDT by Trillian
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Starman417
"...Apu’s accent—voiced by the Greek-American actor Hank Azaria —sounds like “a white guy doing an impression of a white guy making fun of my father..."

Well, I don't consider Greeks to be white people, or even human, so this conflict has solved itself.

5 posted on 04/17/2018 11:08:08 AM PDT by T-Bone Texan (Idiocracy is here, and it votes democrat.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Starman417

It’s not a stereotype. Most Indians actually do speak with an Indian accent.

6 posted on 04/17/2018 11:21:39 AM PDT by Telepathic Intruder
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Starman417

A lot of noise on the /CS line?

7 posted on 04/17/2018 6:11:04 PM PDT by GingisK
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Bonemaker

Yes. It makes life more efficient and workable.

As long as one does not extrapolate based solely on a stereotype, it is viable.

The left demonizes it while committing that very fallacy.

8 posted on 04/17/2018 7:48:10 PM PDT by YogicCowboy ("I am not entirely on anyone's side, because no one is entirely on mine." - J. R. R. Tolkien)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: YogicCowboy

Sort of like profiling.

9 posted on 04/18/2018 6:18:57 AM PDT by Bonemaker (invictus maneo)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Bloggers & Personal
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson