Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Simpsons, how dare you?

As a promotion for the upcoming movie, the Simpsons guys have changed twelve 7-elevens into Kwik-E-Marts. The Kwik-E-Mart products include Buzz coca-cola, Krusty-O’s cereal and Bart’s favorite comic called Radioactive man. But the most anticipated product, Duff beer did not make it to the shelves. The reason being (you are not going to believe this) the movie is PG 13. You would think that people would be outraged by this promotional move but there have been no protests so far. The Simpsons controversy is about Apu.

In Simpsons TV show, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon or Apu, is an Asian Indian immigrant who owns the Kwik-E-Mart and sells overpriced merchandise to Americans who complain about the prices but buy the stuff anyway. The Springfield residents are often shown to be verbally abusive to Apu and sometimes even trash the store. Despite the ridicule from customers (to avoid losing business?) Apu never fails to say the customary, “thank you, come again”. Naturally, as a part of the real life Kwik-E-Mart theme you are given the same greeting by Indians dressed like Apu. This has offended some Indians who say “no thank you” to this irksome campaign.

Being America’s news leader, CNN quickly picked up this story and asked hard hitting questions like, “Considering the profits, is stereotyping people as a part of a promotional campaign really offensive?” One responsible angry Indian voiced his protest on CNN by expressing his disgust at being represented as Apu. The protestor stated that the promotion would have never dared to cast an Ahmed in the same role and concluded that it is downright racism. Due to time constrains most part of the interview did not make it on air. Nevertheless CNN thwarted the possibility of racist propaganda by featuring cheerful Indian staff playing the role of Apu in the real life Kwik-E-Mart. This was followed by a happy Kwik-e-mart (Indian) owner who said that his business has been booming since he did the Simpsons makeover to the store and is more than happy to say “thank you, come again and again” if it meant more business. Thus, CNN established from this incisive coverage that the Indians are in fact not offended and are more than happy to cash in on the profits that this promotion is bringing in.

But is this campaign really racist? The answer is no according to some (liberal know-nothings who have nothing better to do than watch such distasteful TV shows) people. The Simpsons supporters say that there is no insinuation of one race/ethnicity being superior to another on Simpsons and that the show has always mocked racial stereotypes on TV without a racist agenda. But the outraged protestors insist that the racist motivations are transparent and evident from their movie promotion.

The protestors urge Indians to be seriously offended and if possible take a day off from work in protest. Join in the fervor. The protestors have come up with a (not so catchy) motto, “equal mockery of all races every time a racial stereotype joke is cracked or no racial stereotype mocking jokes at all”. Some protestors have demanded Simpsons promotions to be extended to Italian restaurants and as a part of the promotion, ask the waiters to dress like Fat Toni and his mafia gang and threaten customers who do not pay a handsome tip.


Geetali said...

The protestors urge Indians to be seriously offended

parikrama said...

Many Happy Returns of the day Cryss ben.. (boley toh advance booking mein Heppy B'day)

Drunken Master said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cheti said...

The need for political correctness has reached such absurd limits that - when some one is politically correct , it looks as if they are the most aware of any sort of discrimination or bias or racism and by being politically correct they are infact being biased, discriminationg or being racist !

Crystal blur said...

Long time no see...cracked any jigsaw puzzles? :)

Boley toh thenk you!

You know who,
Why typing and then deleting b4 others reading?

Haha...yup you have to pick lesser of 2 evils...which is...?

Manish said...

Imagine being a desi employee asked to put on an Apu costume, an Apu nametag and repeat 'thank you come again' in the accent they mock on the show.

Twisted DNA said...

You know, I could swear I left a comment on this one! Who ate my comment?! :O

So will these protesters be offended if I tell them I am not offended by Apu at all? Really, these protectors should:
1. Grow up
2. Get a sense of humor
3. Get a life

Crystal blur said...

As Miranda Priestley in Devil wears Prada says,"We all have a choice and we all make our own deals". The desi employees who are participating in the promotion also have a choice. That's all.

twisted dna,
It wasn't me who ate it...I swear. The protestors will be seriously offended and they will offensively defend their position because as everyone knows, offense is the best defense. Wait what did I say now?

Ravishankar Hirisave said...

Came here through TDNA's blog.
Nice post. As a Simpsons' fan I agree that the creators mock everybody and dont just stereotype Indians. I think its a great idea to promote the movie through Kwik-E-Marts, and people should be part of the fun and enjoy rather than kick up a controversy. If anything, people should be mad that Springfield,VT got the premier and not Springfield,IL like it truly deserves:).Also saw photos on Flickr. Very beautiful pictures.
Keep posting.