Fantasy Football - Footballguys Forums
Sign in to follow this  
Joe Bryant

Article - People Upset Over People Upset Over Simpson's Apu Character

Do You Agree With The Author's Point?  

55 members have voted

You do not have permission to vote in this poll, or see the poll results. Please sign in or register to vote in this poll.

Recommended Posts

This article hits on some things in our society and some points here on how we manage the forums. Wondering what you thought.

TL:DR - the writer sums up his point in the final paragaph:

Quote

You're not offended? Great. Sincerely, that's awesome. We should all be so lucky as to enjoy our faves without baggage. But you know what? People other than you are offended, and their feelings are valid too. Stop and consider their perspective and their basic humanity before your next angry tweet. You might be surprised by what you learn.

 

Full article:

Quote

 

The problem with the outrage around 'The Simpsons' Hank Azaria and Apu

by Adam Rosenberg

Hank Azaria's done with Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, and there's a lesson in the inevitable backlash that followed his announcement.

The veteran actor behind many of the popular characters on The Simpsons confirmed that he's no longer voicing Apu during an appearance at the Television Critics Association press tour on Friday. It's not clear what that means for the character – Fox has no comment at the moment – but Azaria was clear about how his own role will change.

"What they’re going to do with the character is their call,” he said, according to /Film. "It’s up to them and they haven’t sorted it out yet. All we’ve agreed on is I won’t do the voice anymore." During the same appearance, Azaria also said this was a "mutual decision" that "we all agreed on."

There's some important background here for anyone who doesn't know it. Apu, the character, has been the subject of conversation and criticism ever since the The Problem with Apu started making the rounds back in 2017. 

In the documentary, comedian/writer Hari Kondabolu and director Michael Melamedoff explore the character and his legacy as a racial stereotype. However you might feel about Apu personally, the documentary led to still-ongoing discussions about representation, stereotypes, and microaggressions that continue to unfold even now.

As I was looking through the news around Azaria's latest comments and the subsequent fan backlash, I noticed a common complaint pop up again and again. It's not a new idea. In fact, if you've been following this whole discussion since 2017, you've probably seen it before. 

It goes like this: "Well I'm X, and I'm not offended by this character who is clearly a joking riff on X." Here, have some specific, intentionally unlinked examples culled from various social media posts:

"Scots don't get annoyed at Dan Castellaneta voicing Groundskeeper Willie"

"The Simpsons features a FULL CAST of stereotypes, including but not limited to Bumblebee Man, Groundskeeper Willie, Üter, Fat Tony, Luigi, Comic Book Guy, and Cletus. Why single one stereotype out?"

"I’m black and I always felt they were pretty equal opportunity with stereotypes."

"I'm Indian and I'm not offended by Apu."

Maybe you share this opinion. And hey, if you yourself are not personally offended by anything on The Simpsons, that's great for you. But that's not the point. All along, the issues brought to light in the documentary have centered culture as a whole, and the mainstream mindset that made space for a caricature like Apu.

In short, this isn't about you. 

The Problem with Apu doesn't just shine an unflattering light on this lingering thing that, in the the view of many, has been rendered inoffensive through familiarity and longevity. The documentary resonates because the long-simmering issues that Apu represents are so widely relatable. 

Anytime you watch an old Seinfeld or M*A*S*H episode (or any other show) and think "Woof, that hasn't aged well," you're tapping into exactly the kinds of frustrations Kondabolu and Melamedoff highlighted in 2017. Why do you think the documentary is still having an impact two years later? In this era of the 24-hour news cycle, controversies can come and go in the space between heartbeats. Yet the discussion The Problem with Apu opened up goes on.

This isn't about you.

So Azaria is stepping away from the character, in what he characterized as a unanimous behind the scenes decision. The move doesn't erase Apu or the many episodes that feature him from the show's history. It doesn't mean you're no longer allowed to be a fan of the character. We don't even know yet if Apu is going away entirely, but whether he does or not, it's not an attack on you, personally.

And yet, so much of the backlash is framed in personal terms. There are crowds of people shouting at the injustice of it all, since they themselves aren't offended. They're unwilling (or unable) to consider the wider landscape of feelings and responses; they just know that something they like is changing and that change is beyond their control. So they they shout their grievances into the wind.

I'm not here to suggest that anyone's feelings of disappointment aren't valid. Apu is popular, after all. He's been on the show for a long time, he's been at the center of some beloved episodes, and the twists and turns he's taken as a character are among The Simpsons' more positive portrayals. But I also think moments like this can lead to some worthwhile self-reflection for all of us.

I'm hardly the first person to call out selfishness on the internet. Setting aside the bad faith trolls who just like to watch the world burn, internet backlash is often an inescapable result of the way we consume information online. Free of context, it's easy to make assumptions about intent. And most of us will reflexively try to square our understanding through the lens of our own beliefs.

That's why in situations like this, I think it's more important to listen than it is to react. Firing off an internet comment is easy and without risk. You vent your frustration into the void and move on with your day. But in the process, you also help to reinforce a noisy feedback loop.

That doesn't help anyone. I've said this before, but the internet is an engagement machine. It doesn't differentiate between signal and noise; it simply latches on to key words and phrases, and then some algorithm uses that data to decide what you should and shouldn't see. That's how backlash gets weaponized; trolls use the noise to flood every zone and drown out the signal, or the thoughtful, complex heart of any discourse.

I've got no illusions here. Talking about the mechanisms of backlash isn't going to eliminate all the bad takes. But I think this whole situation with The Simpsons and Apu offers a perfect illustration of how our frequently subconscious selfishness can infect what would otherwise be a nuanced, healthy discussion. 

You're not offended? Great. Sincerely, that's awesome. We should all be so lucky as to enjoy our faves without baggage. But you know what? People other than you are offended, and their feelings are valid too. Stop and consider their perspective and their basic humanity before your next angry tweet. You might be surprised by what you learn.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks so much for posting this article. I think it hits at maybe the central dilemma we are going through as a society: most people on all sides would agree that a big reason why Donald Trump was elected was a result of a backlash against political correctness. Certainly it wasn’t the only reason but it was significant and it continues to be a big reason for his supporters. 

I laughed at Apu. I’m not ashamed of that. My grandparents probably laughed at Amos ‘n Andy (the #1 comedy radio show in the 30s and 40s that cruelly stereotyped blacks) and they wouldn’t have been ashamed of it either. But we progress as a society and I think it’s better that we live in a society where we don’t stereotype people for race, culture, ethnicity, etc. 

But on the other hand I do understand the resentment. Why are we (white people, white men, etc) always being told we should feel guilty about this or that, every problem in society is our fault?  I don’t feel this way myself (what can I say, I am a bleeding heart liberal Jew, not to stereotype but guilt was spoonfed to me for breakfast instead of oatmeal), but I get it. All I can say this that this resentment, as justifiable as it might feel to have, is no good. It’s poison to the person that has it and to society as a whole. Of this I am convinced. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a truism in comedy, and it’s important to remember in my opinion when dealing with stereotypes and “laughing at” rather than “laughing with” in comedy: Always Punch Up (fascinating acronym given the subject, in my opinion.) And more importantly than that: Never Punch Down.

There was a long time in this country when it could be considered at worst punching laterally to go after an immigrant store owner with a stereotypical Indian accent. Especially from a “working man’s perspective show” like The Simpsons. Or Roseanne or Married With Children or All In The Family.

In the current era, punching immigrants for being immigrants is punching down, in my opinion. Almost exclusively. It makes a great deal of sense to stop that.  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Poll needs a “I just don’t care” - seems like people just want to be outraged, talk about outrage or make fun of people for being outraged.  It’s exhausting.  I no longer care.

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, AAABatteries said:

Poll needs a “I just don’t care” - seems like people just want to be outraged, talk about outrage or make fun of people for being outraged.  It’s exhausting.  I no longer care.

Yep, if this weren't the complaint then the same people would just find something else to complain about.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Henry Ford said:

There is a truism in comedy, and it’s important to remember in my opinion when dealing with stereotypes and “laughing at” rather than “laughing with” in comedy: Always Punch Up (fascinating acronym given the subject, in my opinion.) And more importantly than that: Never Punch Down.

There was a long time in this country when it could be considered at worst punching laterally to go after an immigrant store owner with a stereotypical Indian accent. Especially from a “working man’s perspective show” like The Simpsons. Or Roseanne or Married With Children or All In The Family.

In the current era, punching immigrants for being immigrants is punching down, in my opinion. Almost exclusively. It makes a great deal of sense to stop that.  

I don't think the Simpsons ever mocked (or "punched") Apu for being an immigrant.

Yes, his cultural differences were exaggerated for the purposes of comedy. But in that context it was no different than sitcoms like "George Lopez", Margaret Cho's "All American Girl", or the recent show "Fresh Off The Boat". All those shows juxtaposed different cultures for comedy purposes, sometimes in stereotypical ways. Do we give them a pass simply because they happened to be produced by the cultures that they (lovingly) mocked? That would be disingenuous, IMO.

The Simpsons have a long history of exaggerating cultural differences for the purposes of comedy. I do think it's fair to say that Apu was more stereotypical than some of the other characters on the show -- for example, the show has gone out of its way to keep the most prominent black characters from becoming stereotypes -- but I don't think that means that they were punching downward.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, [scooter] said:

I don't think the Simpsons ever mocked (or "punched") Apu for being an immigrant.

Yes, his cultural differences were exaggerated for the purposes of comedy. But in that context it was no different than sitcoms like "George Lopez", Margaret Cho's "All American Girl", or the recent show "Fresh Off The Boat". All those shows juxtaposed different cultures for comedy purposes, sometimes in stereotypical ways. Do we give them a pass simply because they happened to be produced by the cultures that they (lovingly) mocked? That would be disingenuous, IMO.

The Simpsons have a long history of exaggerating cultural differences for the purposes of comedy. I do think it's fair to say that Apu was more stereotypical than some of the other characters on the show -- for example, the show has gone out of its way to keep the most prominent black characters from becoming stereotypes -- but I don't think that means that they were punching downward.

You don’t think mocking a stereotypical Indian immigrant accent is mocking immigrant status?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Henry Ford said:

You don’t think mocking a stereotypical Indian immigrant accent is mocking immigrant status?

No. The show is pretty consistent about using the same type of accent for immigrants (Apu), citizens (Apu's children) and non-immigrant Indians alike (i.e., various characters in India). Has nothing to do with their immigrant status.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, [scooter] said:

No. The show is pretty consistent about using the same type of accent for immigrants (Apu), citizens (Apu's children) and non-immigrant Indians alike (i.e., various characters in India). Has nothing to do with their immigrant status.

:mellow:

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, [scooter] said:

I don't think the Simpsons ever mocked (or "punched") Apu for being an immigrant.

Yes, his cultural differences were exaggerated for the purposes of comedy. But in that context it was no different than sitcoms like "George Lopez", Margaret Cho's "All American Girl", or the recent show "Fresh Off The Boat". All those shows juxtaposed different cultures for comedy purposes, sometimes in stereotypical ways. Do we give them a pass simply because they happened to be produced by the cultures that they (lovingly) mocked? That would be disingenuous, IMO.

The Simpsons have a long history of exaggerating cultural differences for the purposes of comedy. I do think it's fair to say that Apu was more stereotypical than some of the other characters on the show -- for example, the show has gone out of its way to keep the most prominent black characters from becoming stereotypes -- but I don't think that means that they were punching downward.

Also worth noting that when Apu's immigrant status is used for comic effect, it's usually to mock American xenophobia, not immigrants.  (At least through the golden age of the show -- I have no idea what happened to this character after season 11 or 12 or so).  In other words, Apu is mostly a "punching up" character.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Haven't seen The SImpsons in awhile.....but it's my remembrance that Apu's character was pretty fleshed out and had become non-caricature.  He just wasn't the "THANK YOU!...COME AGAIN" one note that he was for the first few years.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let the past be the past.  I don't like it when comedy is expected to placate people's feelings.  If anything I always found Apu to be a sympathetic character with a lot of depth.  The impression I got was never that the Simpsons writers were trying to reinforce a negative stereotype.  It might not be politically correct but demographics and accents are a real thing that exists in the world whether people like it or not. 

Although I love the Simpsons and Apu, so I'm very biased.  

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m offended that Notre Dame is still the “Fighting Irish.”  It’s disappointing that nobody is defending the micro-aggressions I experience during college football season when Notre Dame is on TV.   (mostly joking)

IK and ren already did a better job of conveying my feelings than I could.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I mean it's a cartoon.  If this issue is what makes you lose sleep at night, things can't be that bad. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If a person with no particular opinion about immigration sat down and watched the first 10 seasons of The Simpsons, would they walk away with a more negative view toward immigrants or a friendlier view toward immigrants?  Is there even any debate about this?  

Edited by IvanKaramazov

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with the author that people shouldn’t be upset over other people being offended over the character.

There are all sorts of other questions and conversation that can be had about Apu but I’ll just focus on the question asked.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also think the issue is important taking a bigger picture. In other words, I see this not so much about Apu.

I see it as how do we handle opinions different than our own? Especially in the area of being offended.

If you know me, you know Mr. Rogers is one of my heroes. He was obviously the king of being sensitive to others. 

Also if you know me, you know I believe the idea of "It's not all about me" is a big thing. I think we, especially me, can all use a lot more humility and selflessness.

I do wonder though about if we get to a point as the author seems to be suggesting.

Quote

You're not offended? Great. Sincerely, that's awesome. We should all be so lucky as to enjoy our faves without baggage. But you know what? People other than you are offended, and their feelings are valid too. Stop and consider their perspective and their basic humanity before your next angry tweet. You might be surprised by what you learn.

I don't know we'll ever get to a point where nobody is offended. And this feels a little bit like "you're allowed to express your opinion. As long as it doesn't conflict with mine". 

It's an interesting discussion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Setting the specific issue of Apu aside, I strongly disagree with the author's casual assumption that other people's feelings of offense are valid.  Sometimes people get offended over things that are dumb and we shouldn't give their offense any weight.  It's unfortunate that they're offended and I hope they can get over it, but I don't care otherwise.

For a good example of this sort of thing coming from the other tribe, consider people who get touchy over people saying "Happy holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas."  They're free to be offended should they choose to go that route, but I don't care and I don't assign any validity to their offense.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, IvanKaramazov said:

Setting the specific issue of Apu aside, I strongly disagree with the author's casual assumption that other people's feelings of offense are valid.  Sometimes people get offended over things that are dumb and we shouldn't give their offense any weight.  It's unfortunate that they're offended and I hope they can get over it, but I don't care otherwise.

For a good example of this sort of thing coming from the other tribe, consider people who get touchy over people saying "Happy holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas."  They're free to be offended should they choose to go that route, but I don't care and I don't assign any validity to their offense.

Thanks. I think this bigger picture view is more interesting to me. 

I personally struggle with it. I want to be sensitive and compassionate to people who don't think like me. But it does feel like we can get to a spot where any criticism will be offensive. Not sure where it goes. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, MAC_32 said:
4 hours ago, AAABatteries said:

Poll needs a “I just don’t care” - seems like people just want to be outraged, talk about outrage or make fun of people for being outraged.  It’s exhausting.  I no longer care.

Yep, if this weren't the complaint then the same people would just find something else to complain about.

Outrage is the modern day Macarena.  You’re either all in on it or SUPER over it.  Mark me squarely in the latter.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m a little upset at the people getting upset over the people who are upset by this.

  • Laughing 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am old enough to remember people complaining about The Simpsons making fun of Christianity.

30 years later, The Simpsons have done more to promote positive Christian role models than any other show on network television.

And I think they've done the same thing with Apu and Indian culture.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Comedy heavily relies on stereotypes and making fun of those.  This is about a decade old but was probably the most watched YouTube comedy routine of the year.  

Anjehla Johnson Nail Salon.

Is it ok for a Hispanic-Native American woman to make fun of Vietnamese women?   I really don't know where the line is.  There is some criticism out there, but for the most part people are OK with it.   It seems like it matters the race, sex, and orientation of the person saying, the race, sex and orientation of who it is about, and what was said and perhaps even the intent and circumstances.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, IvanKaramazov said:

Also worth noting that when Apu's immigrant status is used for comic effect, it's usually to mock American xenophobia, not immigrants.  (At least through the golden age of the show -- I have no idea what happened to this character after season 11 or 12 or so).  In other words, Apu is mostly a "punching up" character.

Mostly.  For some that isn’t outweighed by the blatant stereotype of a comic immigrant accent and a stereotyped job. Which is worth listening to. 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, jon_mx said:

Comedy heavily relies on stereotypes and making fun of those.  This is about a decade old but was probably the most watched YouTube comedy routine of the year.  

Anjehla Johnson Nail Salon.

Is it ok for a Hispanic-Native American woman to make fun of Vietnamese women?   I really don't know where the line is.  There is some criticism out there, but for the most part people are OK with it.   It seems like it matters the race, sex, and orientation of the person saying, the race, sex and orientation of who it is about, and what was said and perhaps even the intent and circumstances.  

Which is because of, in my opinion, the distinction between punching laterally or up as opposed to punching down. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, Joe Summer said:

I am old enough to remember people complaining about The Simpsons making fun of Christianity.

30 years later, The Simpsons have done more to promote positive Christian role models than any other show on network television.

And I think they've done the same thing with Apu and Indian culture.

The stories themselves with Apu are generally great.  The character itself bothers some people. Which is a perspective that has some value. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, jon_mx said:

Comedy heavily relies on stereotypes and making fun of those.  This is about a decade old but was probably the most watched YouTube comedy routine of the year.  

Anjehla Johnson Nail Salon.

Is it ok for a Hispanic-Native American woman to make fun of Vietnamese women?   I really don't know where the line is.  There is some criticism out there, but for the most part people are OK with it.   It seems like it matters the race, sex, and orientation of the person saying, the race, sex and orientation of who it is about, and what was said and perhaps even the intent and circumstances.  

If a Vietnamese-American was offended by that, I would not get upset at that Vietnamese-American.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, Juxtatarot said:

If a Vietnamese-American was offended by that, I would not get upset at that Vietnamese-American.

The only article of the day I saw criticizing it was in the heavily Vietnamese-populated Orange County paper.  Then around 2017, there were a few others.

Here is an excerpt

When shown the clip for the first time, several manicurists from various salons said it wasn’t so funny on the other side of the spa chair. At the Tustin Happy Nails salon (one of the largest nail salon chains in California, with more than 40 locations), two of the seven nail technicians watched for less than a minute before abruptly getting up.

“I don’t need to see the rest of this to understand what she is doing; I’ve had enough,” said one manicurist.

None of the dozen or so manicurists interviewed said they found the video entertaining.

“It’s really offensive and makes a mockery out of the hard work we do,” said Lien Do, who’s been doing nails for more than 10 years. “It’s not glamorous work but we have pride, too. It’s not right.”

Edited by jon_mx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't watched the Simpsons in years, but I remember Apu being a bit of a stereotype caricature. Honestly, as a believer, I was more annoyed with the characterization of Ned Flanders(except for where his body was jacked. That's totally true, at least in my case), but I feel if people are offended, scale it back or change it. Comedy can appeal to everyone, but I also feel we should be able to laugh at ourselves at least a little.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I partly think we should be sensitive to others being offended, and partly feel like folks in general shouldn't have to cater to anyone who says they're offended.

We've left behind a long history of folks not being sensitive to others who are offended so it's made sense to swing more in the other direction as a society.  I do wonder now if it's not time to swing the pendulum back a bit the other way.  When the pendulum was swinging and hit "trigger alerts", I feel that's a good time to let it swing back the other way a bit.

No specific issue with the Apu decision either way.  Good character, I see how folks could be offended although I don't see it as offensive, and I don't really care one way or another about the outcome.  The broader social discussion though is important.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
32 minutes ago, Henry Ford said:

Which is because of, in my opinion, the distinction between punching laterally or up as opposed to punching down. 

I understand this in theory. I think what gets troublesome is it's on everyone to place the person on a scale to determine if they are "above" or "below" the other person.

The example of can a "Hispanic-Native American woman to make fun of Vietnamese women" is sort of what I mean. I'm not really comfortable placing them on the scale to say who is "above" the other. And I know that's not exactly what you're saying @Henry Ford but when the talk is punching up or punching down, I'm not sure how you get around it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Joe Summer said:

I am old enough to remember people complaining about The Simpsons making fun of Christianity.

30 years later, The Simpsons have done more to promote positive Christian role models than any other show on network television.

And I think they've done the same thing with Apu and Indian culture.

I agree 100%, and I was thinking about posting something along these lines.  One of the things that made this such a great tv show is that it was satirical, but not cynical.  It poked fun at everything, but was generally affirming of "American values" circa 1990.  Your point about Christianity is spot-on.  Sure, they made jokes about organized religion, but the Simpson family went to church on a regular basis, lived next door to a funny but sympathetic evangelical family, and Christianity is generally shown as a "normal" thing in Springfield.  In addition, other religions are acknowledged and generally treated with similar kid-gloves.  

George HW Bush famously said that families should be more like the Waltons and less like the Simpsons.  But The Simpsons strongly reaffirms the nuclear family.  Think of how fleshed-out Homer and Marge's marriage is.  We know their backstory, all the little bumps they've gone through, the birth of their kids, etc.  Their marriage has gone through rough spots, which is realistic, but you can't really envision them ever splitting up.  When Milhouse's parents divorce, we feel bad for Millhouse.  The Simpsons are portrayed as a family, not just a random assortment of individuals who just happen to live together, and in the end they have one another's back.

Finally, consider Apu's character.  What do we know about him?  He's hard working.  He's happily married and committed to his kids (admittedly, you might say he has a love-eight relationship with his kids).  He has a detailed knowledge of American history that makes Homer's look unsurprisingly oafish.  He practices the religion that we was raised in but is still clearly an American.  He cuts corners when it comes to food safety and isn't above a little price gouging, but this is portrayed as Apu being like every other small businessman.  He likes Jebediah Springfield and local traditions like Whacking Day.  Like many immigrants, he's more "American" than many Americans.  

It's hard to do satire in a positive, uplifting way.  The Simpsons nailed it.

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, Henry Ford said:

Which is because of, in my opinion, the distinction between punching laterally or up as opposed to punching down. 

Which means everyone can mock white males while white males can mock no one.   IMHO, that thinking is a big reason to the current divide in this country. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Joe Bryant said:

I understand this in theory. I think what gets troublesome is it's on everyone to place the person on a scale to determine if they are "above" or "below" the other person.

The example of can a "Hispanic-Native American woman to make fun of Vietnamese women" is sort of what I mean. I'm not really comfortable placing them on the scale to say who is "above" the other. And I know that's not exactly what you're saying @Henry Ford but when the talk is punching up or punching down, I'm not sure how you get around it. 

I’m not either. Which is one reason I see that as kind of a lateral as opposed to up or down. But I don’t really have a scale in mind for those specific groups. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, jon_mx said:

Which means everyone can mock white males while white males can mock no one.   IMHO, that thinking is a big reason to the current divide in this country. 

I think everyone can mock everyone else, I just don’t think it’s necessarily funny.  
 

What’s the purpose of mocking people? Because just being mean isn’t really one that’s worthwhile or funny. If you’re speaking truth to power or advocating for societal change, comedy has a use. A good one. What socially redeeming reason does a rich white man have for mocking a poor black woman for being poor and black and a woman? Is there comedy in that?

Edited by Henry Ford

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't see how anybody can watch The Simpsons and think that Apu is being held up as a subject of mockery.  That's such a wild mis-reading of the show.

The Simpsons is not South Park.  It's not attempting to be some sort of anti-PC "truth teller."  It's major characters are mostly fleshed-out human beings who we're supposed to like and relate to.

Edited by IvanKaramazov
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Henry Ford said:

I think everyone can mock everyone else, I just don’t think it’s necessarily funny.  
 

What’s the purpose of mocking people? Because just being mean isn’t really one that’s worthwhile or funny. If you’re speaking truth to power or advocating for societal change, comedy has a use. A good one. What socially redeeming reason does a rich white man have for mocking a poor black woman for being poor and black and a woman? Is there comedy in that?

I did not suggests it was socially redeeming to mock anyone.  It is your scheme that seems to accept it.

  

Edited by jon_mx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, jon_mx said:

I did not suggests it was OK to mock anyone.  It is your scheme that seems to accept it.

  

Of course it’s okay to mock people.  What kind of comedy do you watch?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Henry Ford said:

Of course it’s okay to mock people.  What kind of comedy do you watch?

It is this hierarchy of who can hate and mock who that I have an issue with.  Mocking and insulting racial generalizations are either OK or they are not.  

Edited by jon_mx
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, jon_mx said:

It is this hierarchy of who can hate and mock who that I have an issue with.  Mocking and insulting racial generalizations are either OK or they are not.  

Why?

Edit: and, again, I’m not saying it’s not “okay” I’m saying it’s not funny. 

Edited by Henry Ford

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/19/2020 at 12:50 PM, Henry Ford said:

You don’t think mocking a stereotypical Indian immigrant accent is mocking immigrant status?

No.

Next question

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, jon_mx said:

It is this hierarchy of who can hate and mock who that I have an issue with.  Mocking and insulting racial generalizations are either OK or they are not.  

I understand your point about mocking/comedy although I disagree.  However, hatred is different.  It’s never OK for someone to hate all men, all white people, all Christians, etc.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, IvanKaramazov said:

I don't see how anybody can watch The Simpsons and think that Apu is being held up as a subject of mockery.  That's such a wild mis-reading of the show.

The Simpsons is not South Park.  It's not attempting to be some sort of anti-PC "truth teller."  It's major characters are mostly fleshed-out human beings who we're supposed to like and relate to.

Stories like this make me appreciate how South Park makes fun of everyone and never backs down.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/19/2020 at 7:17 PM, jon_mx said:
On 1/19/2020 at 6:32 PM, Henry Ford said:

Which is because of, in my opinion, the distinction between punching laterally or up as opposed to punching down. 

Which means everyone can mock white males while white males can mock no one.   IMHO, that thinking is a big reason to the current divide in this country. 

Can I get a chart of this "hierarchy" you guys are talking about?  Unless I've missed something, I haven't seen any context towards what the hierarchy would be to determine if it's either "punching up or punching down" other than this.  And it seems to me it's generally believed that "white males" are on top of that hierarchy.  I have a couple questions depending on if I am interpreting this correctly.  Is this what you're saying jon?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/19/2020 at 7:44 PM, jon_mx said:

It is this hierarchy of who can hate and mock who that I have an issue with.  Mocking and insulting racial generalizations are either OK or they are not.  

We don't live in a vacuum. Context, as always, is monumentally important.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Without wading through most of this:

- the character clearly caricatures prominent ethnic stereotypes.  This is unarguable.

- The US entertainment industry has long been rife with this kind of thing.

- there has been a history of where cultural differences were a source of humor and had a tone of good natured ribbing as opposed to intentional denigration.

- there has also been a history of cultural differences being a source of denigration and dehumanization.

I think some aspects of Apu’s character are denigrating and the character needs to be retired.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I lament the future where we cannot laugh at ourselves and cannot experience outrage at others.  We are going to lose insight into our humanity.  Some will say our humanity will have evolved to a higher level.

 

If I recognize Apu do I also recognize myself? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I never found this mean-spirited.  I get that others might.  of course many of those oth4ers are in the business of feeling outrage so that they can excoriate others for their insensitivity and then control those others through shame. they need and enjoy that control, that dominion.  They do not represent forward evolution, just the basest impulses we have long known, though they posture otherwise.  for others, perhaps they are helping me with my growth.

  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.