Skip to comments.What’s wrong with stereotyping? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ It’s much Apu about nothing…
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 Apus accentvoiced by the Greek-American actor Hank Azaria sounds like a white guy doing an impression of a white guy making fun of my father.Kondabolu has earned some ridicule. A comedian who can't laugh at "himself" in cultural caricature?
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 its as boring as a Sunday in Cincinnati. The camera then pans to a framed portrait of Apu on Lisas bedside, in which hed inscribed an exhortation to the young vegetarian: Dont have a cow! Predictably, the critics went bovine, accusing The Simpsons of treating Mr. Kondabolu with disdain.
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 Apus accent is inauthentic. Does it matter? Hes a caricature, like everyone else in the showmost notably Homer Simpson, an exaggeratedly feckless, underemployed blue-collar white guy who guzzles cheap beer at midday. He is coastal Americas archetype of a Trump voter, although he first appeared 31 years ago.
But the quintessence of Apuand the fundamental flaw in the critique of his characteris 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 culturein parallel with the culture of his South Indian roots. He honors his origins by marrying his harridan mothers choice of bride, and his American friends celebrate the Indian wedding. He had been Springfields most sought-after bachelor, becausecaricature 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 youre 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) Read more at floppingaces.net...
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.
Stereotyping works because there is always an element of truth.
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
Well, I don't consider Greeks to be white people, or even human, so this conflict has solved itself.
It’s not a stereotype. Most Indians actually do speak with an Indian accent.
A lot of noise on the /CS line?
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.
Sort of like profiling.
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