To Woke, or not to Woke. Mr. Apu on the Simpsons.

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cyberdad
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10 Aug 2022, 5:16 pm

Since Hank Azaria is stepping down why not replace him with an "authentic" Indian actor who can do an "authentic Indian" voice?

It's hard enough to actors of colour to get a job when you have white actors taking roles that they should have had a shot.



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10 Aug 2022, 6:49 pm

A woman does Bart's voice. Shouldn't that be controversially addressed?


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cyberdad
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10 Aug 2022, 7:33 pm

Joe90 wrote:
A woman does Bart's voice. Shouldn't that be controversially addressed?


That's just funny though, plus women are a minority in animation



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10 Aug 2022, 10:23 pm

cyberdad wrote:
Joe90 wrote:
A woman does Bart's voice. Shouldn't that be controversially addressed?


That's just funny though, plus women are a minority in animation


That's what's interesting about voice acting. If "Simpsons" had been a live-action sitcom, the actors who played Bart and Lisa would have been children and would long since have aged out of their roles. Because it's animated, the same two grown-up actors have been able to do it all these decades.

In animation, women frequently voice children, both boys and girls.

I can't say there's no discrimination in voice acting. People in that field would have to address that question. However, I will say there are a number of prominent voice actors of color. Another thing about voice acting is that many of the roles in animation are not human beings, so race isn't (or at least, shouldn't be) a factor in that case. The actress who played Young Nala in "The Lion King" (1994) is black and the actress who played the grown-up Nala is white and it makes no difference in the film. As for the human roles, sometimes voice actors of color have played characters of other races. Cree Summer, one of the all-time great voice actresses, played the white characters Penny from "Inspector Gadget" and Elmyra from "Tiny Toon Adventures." The Asian characters The Shredder from "Ninja Turtles" and the title character from "Samurai Jack" were both played by black voice actors, which is also considered controversial in animation discussion groups.



cyberdad
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10 Aug 2022, 10:43 pm

Hari Kondabalu's (the comedian who started the campaign to cancel Apu) original point is Azaria is a white man doing "brown face" to imitate an Indian accent.

However Indians in the US are a model minority and most would be too busy with career/business/study and have little time to invest in this issue and probably couldn't care less about Azaria/Apu.

Although some hindus (like Kondabalu) also are uncomfortable with the portrayal of hinduism on the Simpsons which isn't very flattering.



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11 Aug 2022, 2:04 am

Dox47 wrote:
Twilightprincess wrote:
Maybe because they think that would reflect badly on their complaints about “wokeness” - the pot calling the kettle black.


The show and the character long predate wokeness and the protests against it, the more likely explanation is that they found the character funny as they recognized his foibles from their own experience.

The more likely explanation is that the religious right found the Simpsons to be too crude and largely tuned out in the early 90s at the peak of “Bartmania”.

They also, bluntly, have far less reason to care. I doubt any Christian kids have people come up to them in the playground and call them Reverend Lovejoy. He just isn’t seen as symbolic of Christianity the way that Apu came to serve as a representative of Indians.



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11 Aug 2022, 2:11 am

cyberdad wrote:

However Indians in the US are a model minority and most would be too busy with career/business/study and have little time to invest in this issue and probably couldn't care less about Azaria/Apu.


Yes, most Indians in the US probably don’t think about this very much. That’s not because Indians are “busier” than everyone else, or whatever other racial stereotype you wish to use, it’s because nobody thinks about it very much.

The term “model minority” exists to criticise exactly the sorts of sentiments in your post.



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11 Aug 2022, 6:44 am

I wonder why it isn't racist when some American movies have snooty British butlers with no sense of humour, or making the father in an American family movie fall in love with an entitled British woman who happens to be a villain.

It's like America portrays British women as spoilt snobs and British men as snobs with no sense of humour and stand there sipping tea all day.

It may not be negative stereotypes but whether stereotypes about non-white cultures are positive or not it's still controversial. I never understand why. It's like a one-way street.


Actually it seems that if a man in a movie is an entitled control-freak it's usually classed as drama, but if a woman in a movie is an entitled control-freak it's usually classed as a comedy.


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Last edited by Joe90 on 11 Aug 2022, 6:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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11 Aug 2022, 6:46 am

Indian families in the US place much more emphasis on educational achievement than most other ethnic groups.

I’d have to say, in general, immigrants from most ethnic groups place a great of emphasis on having their children educated so they would become professionals.

Most people of the second generation do not place such extreme emphasis on this.

I don’t see this as being a “bad” stereotype.

Black people as lazy loafers is an extremely bad stereotype which is not based on what’s true.



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11 Aug 2022, 6:50 am

It’s because of history. Nonwhite peoples tended to be treated extremely badly within European-dominated places. Some people of European descent want to “even the score,” so to speak.

Of course, it’s much more complex than that—but that’s the reason there’s not as much backlash against snooty butlers as there is against oldfangled stereotypes about black people.



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11 Aug 2022, 5:13 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
The more likely explanation is that the religious right found the Simpsons to be too crude and largely tuned out in the early 90s at the peak of “Bartmania”.

They also, bluntly, have far less reason to care. I doubt any Christian kids have people come up to them in the playground and call them Reverend Lovejoy. He just isn’t seen as symbolic of Christianity the way that Apu came to serve as a representative of Indians.


Given that every character on The Simpsons is to one extent or another a broadly drawn stereotype, why is Apu uniquely problematic? It always seems to come down to "some kids used him as a way to tease Indian kids" (a white guy voicing him feels like something just thrown in for woke points), which is a weird argument to me as he's portrayed positively. There's a bit of a paradox regarding the accent, as if the character is supposed to be an immigrant he's going to need to have an accent or people are going to be very confused, yet it's impossible to deploy the accent in a way that no one is ever going to find funny and possibly tease people with similar accents about, something of a catch-22.

What's the solution here, Walrus? No accents? No immigrant characters? I'm not sure what the point of any of this is other than performative outrage for virtue points, as there's no satisfying solution for anyone.


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11 Aug 2022, 5:15 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
Indian families in the US place much more emphasis on educational achievement than most other ethnic groups..


Actually east Asians, Sri Lankans and Nigerians are more education focussed than Indians.

Nigerians make the authors of the bell curve theory look stupid.



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11 Aug 2022, 5:19 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
cyberdad wrote:

However Indians in the US are a model minority and most would be too busy with career/business/study and have little time to invest in this issue and probably couldn't care less about Azaria/Apu.


Yes, most Indians in the US probably don’t think about this very much. That’s not because Indians are “busier” than everyone else, or whatever other racial stereotype you wish to use, it’s because nobody thinks about it very much.

The term “model minority” exists to criticise exactly the sorts of sentiments in your post.


I'm married to one and my in-laws are typical of hindu families in Australia They do like being the model minority.

They have zero interest in public opinion of their respective communities except when they see hinduism being ridiculed they switch off the TV. Some of the in-laws have written to the minister about beef products in vegetarian foods. That's about as militant as they get.



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11 Aug 2022, 5:20 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
It’s because of history. Nonwhite peoples tended to be treated extremely badly within European-dominated places.


This is one of those occasions when I get to deploy a term I usually scoff at, in this case Eurocentric, as in that's a very Eurocentric view of the world that only focuses on the deeds and misdeeds of Europeans and their descendants. Non-white people are not somehow immune to normal human failings regarding tribalism and familiarity bias, and treating them as if they are is infantilizing them. It's particularly bizarre when we're talking about immigrants from majority non-white countries, particularly those who on average do better economically in America than native whites do.


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11 Aug 2022, 6:49 pm

Wake me up when the woke s**t is over.


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11 Aug 2022, 6:57 pm

Now folks......I am actually only offering an explanation as to why some stereotypes are cancelled, while others are not.

I offered the "Eurocentric" view because it happened in Europe and the New World under European colonial domination. Obviously, it happened in Asia and Africa, too----but I'm focusing more on Europe and the New World in this case.

It is absolutely true, especially in the New World, that people who weren't "white" were severely discriminated against for a very long time.

If anybody would know me, I am one who might be criticized for not being "woke" enough--and I have been. Basically, I "get it from both sides." But I don't care. I believe in what I believe in, regardless.

I am one who believes the past is the past----and that we must think more of the future, while acknowledging the past.

The reason why some children of immigrants have done better than people who have been here for generations----is because they worked their butts off.