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Michael Sommerville
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Posted: 07 May 2018 at 2:24pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Michael Roberts, my definition of a joke is obviously different than yours. I was discussing stereotypes. My comment on faux outrage was in placing so much blame on the character of Apu. Maybe I used the wrong word, I will concede that. You also enforced my point that it is all subjective. You have your experience I have mine. You feel yours is more valid. That does not make you right or wrong it is just how you feel. If I agreed racial jokes were worse that would have no value because I am not an affected minority?  I agree a man can not experience what it feels like physically to be pregnant but there are a lot of male OBGYNs that have valued opinions. If you as a minority have an opinion on what it is like to be white in America does that have value? Neither of us knows what it was like living in Nazi Germany for that average person but with research can we have a valued opinion? There are many things that contribute to a valued opinion, not just personal experience.

Maybe I can not see your point of view because I have never wished something because people would treat me differently. I honestly do not care. I know who I am as a person and that is what matters. Of course there are words and jokes that I would not use because I think they are offensive but I do not think every racial. sexist, fat, religious, etc joke is offensive. In life there are degrees and audience that everyone takes into account. That is why many comedians do not do shows at College and Universities anymore.

I think your question "Would I be incorrect in feeling that way?" is what I am getting at. No, you are not incorrect because it is your feeling, just not everyone need feel the same. 
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Michael Penn
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Posted: 28 October 2018 at 5:21pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

'The Simpsons' reportedly dropping Apu amid debate over character:

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John Byrne
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Posted: 28 October 2018 at 7:27pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Diversity—or is that controversy?

The idiocy, of course, is that on a show populated entirely with caricatures, Apu causes offense by being... a caricature.

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Brian Hague
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Posted: 28 October 2018 at 8:36pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Apu causes offense by being a racist caricature and a servile bootlicker, which, hey, God knows I don't watch the f*cking show, I do not believe Groundskeeper Willie has ever been shown to be. Nor has Black caricature Mungo Cleveland, or Mexican caricature Sombrero Rodriguez, or Asian caricature Yoyo Mathgenius... Oh, wait, none of those exist. 

In a world filled top to bottom, inside and out with caricatures... the only one targeting specific racial characteristics other than Willie is... Apu.

But yeah. No difference.

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Neil Lindholm
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Posted: 28 October 2018 at 8:39pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

I guess Dr. Julius Hibbert and Drederick Tatum are gone next, since the voice actor is white. Next will be Groundskeeper Willie, for being an offensive stereotype. Hans Moleman is blatant agism, and Cletus, the slack-jawed yokel is offensive to Southerners. 

Or, as it has been said over and over again, if you don't like the show, don't watch it.  
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Neil Lindholm
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Posted: 28 October 2018 at 8:44pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Calling Apu a servile bootlicker is completely ridiculous. He is a friendly shopkeeper, and liked by everyone in the Simpson's universe. Is he a caricature? Sure. Everyone on the show is. That's kind of the point. 
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 28 October 2018 at 9:50pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

The kids getting beaten up and pushed around by apes chanting, "Thank you come again! Thank you come again!" should just not watch the show. That will fix everything.

There's a novelty album of Simpsons characters and in Apu's song, "Working 24 Hours a Day" he politely cooperates with the gunmen robbing his store, politely requesting that they use the nylon rope to tie him up since it is so much more comfortable on his wrists, and sending them off with his customary, "Thank you come again!"

Nothing servile there. He's just being "friendly." We're apparently all agreed that Apu's critics need to just shut up and go make his supporters a tasty microwave burrito. 

I don't care who voices the character. Middle Eastern people are not in the room when these funny-funnies are being written or performed. They do not have a voice in the creation of this ongoing racist diatribe. 

I think the actual idiocy is in finding any of these asinine old jokes funny. "Oh, look. The policeman's eating a doughnut. That's so-o-o-o funny. Because policemen like doughnuts! Get it? Get it? Wow, what comedy genius thought to put that in there? Because I got that one!"

I guess Rog doesn't really mean it when he tells us at the top of the page to care. It's okay. I never thought he did.

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Brian Hague
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Posted: 28 October 2018 at 10:00pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Hey, Neil, as soon as a Scot makes a thoughtful and well-observed documentary outlining the harm Willie is doing to his community, interviewing numerous people who question the validity of the same 30-year old joke being found funny by easily amused fans and telling stories of how his demeaning representation of their heritage is deeply offensive, I'll give that observation of yours a little more credence. Same with the yokel or the old man. Who, by the way, are not racist. Apu is. Way to sidetrack the discussion. 

People have made that documentary and called for this running attack on their dignity as a race to stop. And the response from their assailant, repeated here by those acting in the office of parrot, has been that people "pretend" to be upset about things these days. 

I'm not pretending, and neither are those asking that a stop be put to this.

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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 28 October 2018 at 11:40pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I guess Dr. Julius Hibbert and Drederick Tatum are gone next, since the voice actor is white. 

——

I think the bigger issue with Dr. Hibbert is that he’s a clear parody of Bill Cosby’s Cliff Huxtable.
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Sergio Saavedra
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Posted: 31 October 2018 at 9:23am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Homer Simpson must be offensive to white anglo-saxon male Americans. He is portrayed as an idiot. Perhaps they should drop him as well?
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Marc Baptiste
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Posted: 31 October 2018 at 11:14am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

The FAR LEFT strikes again!

Marc
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Joseph Greathouse
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Posted: 31 October 2018 at 12:53pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Considering the most of the people bothered by this decision can't actually identify where Apu is from (more specifically than just India), that indicates that Apu is indeed a stereotype. There is no such thing as a positive stereotype. 
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Jim Muir
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Posted: 01 November 2018 at 6:19am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Timely article in The Guardian, which I wholeheartedly
agree with.

Don't get rid of Apu
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Neil Lindholm
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Posted: 01 November 2018 at 7:15pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Excellent article JIm. 
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 02 November 2018 at 6:37am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

You wholeheartedly agree that Apu is your hero due his adherence to Hinduism, Jim? Of course you do. 

The Guardian? Yes, we should definitely look to British sources for how to deal with uprisings from the sub-continent.

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Jim Muir
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Posted: 02 November 2018 at 7:22am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Feel free to pick and choose from the article, Brian.

<<Yes, we should definitely look to British sources for
how to deal with uprisings from the sub-continent.>>

I'll give you a bonus point for your pithy soundbite, but
its amusing and somewhat telling that you're happy to
fall back on a little casual racism yourself to make your
point.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 02 November 2018 at 8:17am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Funny that racism is objectionable to you only when the targets are white, Jim.

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Rick Senger
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Posted: 02 November 2018 at 9:37am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

As far as stereotypes go Apu gets off light versus The Simpsons treatment of other "types" in my book.  Far from the lazy, slovenly, idiotic cop Chief Wiggum or the entirely politically calculated, morally bankrupt WASP Kennedyesque Mayor Quimby or the senile, selfish, dumb, entitled elderly white Grandpa Simpson or the younger selfish, dumb, lazy white Homer or the loud-mouthed, money-grubbing Jewish Krusty The Clown or the murderous Italian mobster Fat Tony and his five or six similarly stereotyped Italian cronies and dozens of other stereotyped characters Apu is a hardworking, productive, highly spiritual family man who does a lot of positive things for his community and is beloved by almost everyone who knows him.  Unlike most other characters represented as deeply into their religion like Rev. Lovejoy or Ned Flanders, Apu never takes a holier-than-thou attitude and doesn't throw his religion in others' faces.  As Simpsons characters go, I'd probably rate him as one of the more well-adjusted and "normal" characters on the show.

Comic Book Guy pokes fun at a specific "type" all of us have seen in comic book stores at some point but I've never taken him as being some sort of proxy for all comic book fans or store owners.   Lunchlady Doris isn't a blanket representative of all cafeteria workers to me; she's just one "type" that we've all probably encountered during our elementary school days.  That's long been my view of Apu, as well.  He's not the sole representative of his entire race and religion (in fact they've shown his wife, who seemed nice and "normal" IIRC, as well as other relatives of his.)

If anything Apu is one of the least morally questionable or unlikable characters on the show.  Has he ever picked up a hotdog that fell on the floor and put it back on the roll-o-matic wheels?  Sure.  That doesn't make him a bad representative of Hinduism or India.  It makes him a human with flaws like every single character on the show.  Yeah, he's got an exaggerated, goofy voice and he's a stereotyped character.  Like almost every single character on the show.  That's what The Simpsons does and always has done.  Sometimes it's done it better (the first eight or so years) and sometimes worse (the mostly crappy last 22 years) but the show's tone hasn't changed almost since its inception.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 02 November 2018 at 12:02pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Well said, Rick.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 02 November 2018 at 1:47pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Being amiable, polite, and well-intentioned doesn't render Steppin Fetchit any less racist. It is, in fact, part of the problem with Apu. "Aw, Apu's okay with it! He knows we're just kiddin' around! Lookit how happy he is! He's a happy Hindu! Hey, Apu, go make me a hot dog! Lookit how happy he is makin' me that dog!"

And again, the fact that the show is populated top to bottom with lazy stereotypes A.) doesn't disqualify this one from being racist, B.) doesn't speak well of the audience's intelligence or taste, and C.) means you still would have lots and lots of these putz characters around if Apu did go away. 

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Rick Senger
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Posted: 02 November 2018 at 3:47pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

Sooo... stop watching?  I mostly did about 20 years ago.  I'm sad that the show is a mere shadow of its former clever, daring and actually downright insightful self during the first six or seven seasons but that's about it.  "The Problem With Apu" for me is that it's one racial group getting offended when every race / religion / creed gets satirized just as strongly or worse by The Simpsons.  Christians and Jews both get slammed 10x harder than Apu's Hinduism, which is treated respectfully in comparison.  Democrats and Republicans both get regularly destroyed.  Rich and poor, northern and southern, educated and not, every race gets made fun of without exception.

The "Steppin Fetchit" accusation would play stronger if Apu weren't, in fact, smarter than most all of the characters he encounters and politely uses that fact to his benefit.  He's not exactly a victim, taking advantage of his patrons' general ignorance and laziness and overcharging them zealously for it.  You might decide that's racist too but it's actually a feature of every successful convenience store... the fact that you generally pay more for the convenience.

As far as your other points, bemoaning the lack of taste and intelligence the television audience and saying the Simpsons is full of stereotypes just restates what I said.  The show is no longer worthy, absolutely.  But far from singling out Apu and treating him worse than other characters, Apu actually gets better treatment than most in my eyes.  The accent is over the top, yes.  But the actual behavior and content of his character is head and shoulders better than probably 90% of the other characters. 


Edited by Rick Senger on 02 November 2018 at 3:51pm
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 02 November 2018 at 3:55pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

"Steppin Fetchit"... he works in retail, being
subservient to customers is part of the job, no matter
what your race or religion may be.
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 02 November 2018 at 4:35pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply


 QUOTE:
That's long been my view of Apu, as well.  He's not the sole representative of his entire race and religion (in fact they've shown his wife, who seemed nice and "normal" IIRC, as well as other relatives of his.)

Does your view matter? I'm not trying to be glib or dismissive here. I'm talking about perspective.

Let's say that I create a female character. I show it to a group of 10 women, and 7 of them think the character is sexist for some reason I can speak about my intentions and say that I'm not sexist and didn't mean for the character to be sexist. I can wax eloquently about how /I/ think the character is positive and empowering. But does my view matter?

Should I consider that as a man in a society still struggling with sexism that I might be blind to some of the issues that women face? Should I consider that women, in that same society, might have a different perspective than me and a better understanding of what issues they face?
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 02 November 2018 at 5:22pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

All our views matter equally.  The Simpsons has slammed every aspect of everyone, including my race, gender, education, geography, religion and politics.  I choose to view it as light entertainment and not to take it personally.  Brian obviously has taken it personally for some reason.   He's allowed to have his views but just because I am not a Hindu or from India doesn't mean I can't observe how Apu is characterized on the Simpsons and compare it to how other races / sexes / religions / ad nauseum are characterized on the Simpsons and make a judgment.   I've expressed my opinion and I stand by it.  I'd also add that it's rather unrealistic to expect a show that almost entirely makes its comedic living on poking fun at stereotypes to make an exception for one particular ethnicity / religion and treat it with, what, totally balanced sensitivity, compassion and understanding?  That would also be pretty hypocritical, wouldn't it?


Edited by Rick Senger on 02 November 2018 at 5:28pm
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 02 November 2018 at 5:42pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Bill Collins wrote : "...he works in retail, being subservient to customers is part of the job, no matter what your race or religion may be."

Just as being subservient is part of the job of a personal servant, so Billy Batson's valet, Steamboat, can't possibly be racist, either. Thanks for clearing up these points for us, Bill.

And Rick, "every race" does not get "satirized" just as strongly or worse than Apu's. All of those other divisions you mentioned "getting slammed 10x worse," with the exception of the Jews, are not racial in nature. And where the Jews are concerned, it is the tenets of their religion and not their racial characteristics that receive comment. Not so with Apu. 

It is also worth mentioning that no group of Jews, police officers, Scotsmen, Democrats, Republicans, butchers, bakers, or candlestick makers have come forward to decry their representation on The Simpsons. Indians have. 

As Michael points out, it's not up to Whites to decide when they're being offensive and when the injury being done to others is sufficient for them to give a damn. The fact is that a number of those being made fun of here are offended and have said so. They have asked for change. 

Dismissing their concerns, diminishing the impact of their complaint, and simply deciding you know better than they what is and what is not called for is one aspect of what people mean when they talk about White privilege and entitlement. 

"Oh, sorry. Am I standing on your throat? Well, I happen to think you're getting plenty of air, so no. I'm staying put, right where I am. Thanks for speaking up though. See? Plenty of air." 

You don't get to decide whether they're offended. I'm glad you feel Apu's getting a fair shake, but it is not up to you. And Groening's high-handed, entitlement-besotted dismissal of the issue, that members of the Indian community are merely "pretending," makes him a colossal sack of sh*t.

Listen to Apu's detractors. Don't simply assume you've got this and there's nothing of any concern taking place. Worst case scenario, you have one less Simpson character on the show. Truth be told, his critics aren't even calling for that. More likely, by allowing an Indian point-of-view into the writers' room and on the air after profiting from the mockery of them for thirty years, the show becomes (Oh, God, no. Can't have that!) better written. 

From what I've seen, it couldn't get much worse.


Edited by Brian Hague on 02 November 2018 at 5:45pm
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