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Michael Sommerville
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Posted: 01 May 2018 at 2:13pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

My comment was not about a what if, it was about The Simpsons.  So only if a group voices their offence, and is heard, it is truly offensive? I think it is more the squeaky wheel gets the grease here. More often than not, when people find something offends them they just turn away.  

Here is a question, in what other role would an East Indian character have been a regular role on the Simpsons. The Simpsons, a show about a working class town with caricature people.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 01 May 2018 at 3:31pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

"So, the party's going great. Everybody's havin' a good time. The boss is finally actin' like a human being for a change, and we're all tearin' it up, and then Janice has to go and wreck it all 'cause someone grabbed her ass. Hey, Janice, it was just a joke, lady! Grow a f*ckin' sense of humor, why don'tcha?" 

One voice speaking out in the midst of a large group is called a "minority." It's interesting to read so many opinions saying those should not be regarded as important or paid any attention.

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Greg McPhee
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Posted: 01 May 2018 at 5:26pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

As a Scot I demand they drop Groundskeeper Willie, then.

Do we now criticise Balki from Perfect Strangers? Latka from Taxi?


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Michael Sommerville
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Posted: 02 May 2018 at 7:02am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Brian you keep making what if scenarios. This is about a character(s) on a specific show. If Raj on Big Bang was portrayed like Apu that I agree would be insensitive. Apu portrayed like Raj on The Simpsons would be a one and done character. The issue can be legitimate but I think when people side step the tone, satirical nature, caricatural people and intent of creators, they have picked the wrong show to build a argument on.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 02 May 2018 at 7:10am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

The internet, aka the Disinformation Highway, has created an environment in which anyone can take offense at anything -- and find swarms of followers to jump on the same bandwagon.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 02 May 2018 at 7:27am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Welcome to the vanilla world where everyone is scared to
make a joke,funny comment or satirical barb in case ONE
person takes offence.I am waiting for a Scottish
transgender person to take offence at Mrs Doubtfire and
get that on the banned list.
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Michael Sommerville
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Posted: 02 May 2018 at 7:43am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

I also question why Apu is considered so offensive. I admit I have no watched The Simpsons in a few years but from what I recall he was one of the less idiotic of the characters.  More grounded and taken aback at the others antics. Is his family business the kwik-e-mart part of the offense? The obvious exaggerated accent?

Too be honest he is a caricature of the Middle Eastern and East Indian people I come in contact with. I live in a mid-sized city in Western Canada, I would have what most call a blue collar job. In the franchised convenient stores I have been in here most if not all are owned and operated by Middle Eastern and East Indian Families. 

I know that these groups are as diverse as any other with jobs, but in my personal sphere of influence  that is reality. It is not wrong or right it is just a fact.
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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 02 May 2018 at 12:53pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Just out of curiosity,  has anyone else here watched the Apu documentary? If so, what are your thoughts specifically about how the argument is made in that doc?
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Michael Sommerville
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Posted: 02 May 2018 at 7:34pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Maybe I was coming from a place of ignorance because I did not watch the documentary. Now I have watched and stand by all i have said and seems to me to be even more faux outrage. Seeing the two main points of contention I was asking myself questions. The first "issue" was the accent, would Apu be more acceptable if the accent was toned down? Second was the actor, would the accent have been acceptable if played by an East Indian? Neither question was asked or alluded to that I saw. I see the people interviewed see the Apu character as one dimensional. Apu may be known but I find it hard to believe any one is a fan because of the accent and tag line. 
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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 03 May 2018 at 11:46am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

"In Bob We Trust" commentary on the Apu situation.

 This is the third part of his commentary, but the first two parts mostly go over what has already been discussed here.
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Michael Sommerville
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Posted: 03 May 2018 at 8:06pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

i really did not see anything new there. I understand that a group of people think this character defined who they were by others. The are entitled to those feelings but it does not negate other people feeling they are blowing it out of proportion. Why does society usually bend to the vocal minority?

I am a fat guy should I not wear a white collared shirt to my blue collared job anymore because people have called me Homer and Peter. Should I worry that those people think I am dumb, lazy or abusive to my children because of some TV characters. Do I not care about what people, who have no bearing on my life, say or think?  I was a fat kid too, asked to do the truffle shuffle and called Spanky. 

I would go out on a limb and say there is many more negative portrayals of fat people than most other groups. Just look to the Simpsons as an example. Where is the outrage?

People have become too focused on words and personal feelings they ignore intent. 
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 03 May 2018 at 10:20pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Why does society bend to the vocal minority? Because minorities are injured by the actions of society, and if the injuries are to stop, society must change. 

Being the fat kid in school is in no way comparable to being of an ethnicity that is mocked and disenfranchised. Being the fat guy in adult life doesn't net you anything, either. On the other hand, you can make yourself feel better about it all by simply having another Twinkie.

What? What? It's a joke. A joke, people. Why does everyone ignore intent?

Apu's characterization is based on race. Few others on the show are. There is no stereotypical Black Simpsons character grooving down the street with a boom box on his shoulder on his way to buy his usual meal of fried chicken and watermelon. There is no Mexican kid breaking into everyone's cars at night and doing sombrero dances at his parole hearings. We do have Apu, however, who speaks in a humorous dialect and works 24 hours a day in his convenience store, cheerfully being robbed and bowing to everyone's wishes. 

The humor is racially based. 

And has been for thirty f*ckin' years now. At first, he was just one cartoon among many, but the Simpsons has gone on to carry tremendous cultural cache and East Indian refugees now must carry this albatross around with them. Is it the worst thing that's ever happened to anyone? No, but we can put a stop to it and should. 

Apu is offensive. We know this because people have spoken out and said they find him so. That's the objective definition of offensive. That you can not and will not see the point of their complaint doesn't make them wrong. 

You've had your funny East Indian stereotype for a good long while now. You've enjoyed laughing at him and having him perform for you. Yes, it would be nice if ethnic stereotypes could sing and dance and entertain those of us with less determinate backgrounds forever, as is their perceived role in society. But now someone has spoken out, and yes, it's no fun being called out on having backwards, unenlightened values; It's no fun being told you're insensitive.

Do we have to listen to whiny SJW's every time they speak out? Not really, no. But this is racially based, and the fact that this portrayal has become so ingrained in our daily lives is exactly what makes it so harmful. There are few enough positive portrayals onscreen and none with the power to balance out the Simpsons' portrayal of Apu.

I'm pretty sure the producers are going to jump on this, and have the character become the focal point of protest groups on the show; have him deliver a heartfelt and moving apology for simply being what he is, and trundling off into the sunset with his family and a polka-dot bag tied to the end of a stick as music rises and there's not a dry eye in the house. And then probably have him back behind the counter next morning because he remembered a shipment of burritos and beef jerky was due in, and one must be on one's business if one is to run a business, yes, yes. 

The appeal of the Simpsons and South Park; the appeal of Trump is in large part due to the offense they offer. "You think I need to change? I don't care what you think. What do you think about that?" It's a visceral kick to tell off those who think they know better than you. F*ck them and the horse they rode in on.

But we're on a web site where the rainbow-colored logo literally reminds us to "care." We can do that here in the U.S. Part of what makes America great as a society and a culture is that we do embrace the voices of the minority and we do change in response to the concerns of those who call out for it. Change isn't surrender. Properly handled, it's advancement and represents an improvement in the lives of everyone. Change is also inevitable. So do we want to grab hold of it and steer in a direction that betters our lives, or do we look forward to next season's Rashid, the funny Muslim guy who really isn't here to blow anything up. No, really he isn't. By the by, you wouldn't happen to know of any flight schools in Springfield, would you? No, no. Just asking for a friend...

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