The world can take a note from Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons. In an interview with USA Today, he responded to the recent backlash surrounding Apu, the show’s Indian character, who social justice types claim perpetuates stereotypes.
In the interview, he said of the accusations: "I’m proud of what we do on the show. And I think it’s a time in our culture where people love to pretend they’re offended."
The best approach is to shrug off the outrage and let the fuming snowflakes stew in their anger and self-importance, like spoiled children who throw a tantrum when they don’t get ice cream for dinner. It’s their problem after all. They’re the ones who are so disturbed. Starbucks botched it by giving in. Universities throughout the country have done the same. It never works. Nothing is ever good enough.
Although Apu has been a mainstay on the show for decades, his identity became a problem after documentary filmmaker Hari Kondabolu made an entire film accusing the show of racial stereotyping. As to be expected, the social justice warrior types who’ve been most offended know very little about The Simpsons. Otherwise, they’d see the cultural richness that the character Apu has been given over the years. He’s struggled with very real issues. He is by far one of the most nuanced characters on the show, and that’s saying a lot.
He is by far one of the most nuanced characters on the show, and that’s saying a lot.
But that isn’t good enough for the social justice warriors. They’d argue, as they have, that it’s cultural appropriation to use a white actor to voice Apu, as voiced by Hank Azaria, one of the most impressive voice actors of our time. Then, once an Indian actor replaced Azaria, they’d argue that the Apu character needs a name change, a different backstory, a new job—notice that all of these notions are themselves premised on stereotypes.
Once again, the progressives are signaling virtue for a community other than their own. It’s funny that they don’t have a problem with the character Cletus, who’s based on the stereotype of a poor white redneck with a litter of toothless children, most of whom run around the trailer park with shotguns.
Or the Scottish stereotype used to form Groundskeeper Willie, or the stereotypes of police, with the over-sized, donut-eating Chief Wiggum, or politicians, like the corrupt, womanizing Mayor Quimby, with his perennial ribbon and his thick Boston accent. The Fat Tony perpetuates Italo-American stereotypes about organized crime. Grandpa Simpson is ageist. Marge Simpson’s status as a housewife perpetuates outdated gender roles.
Where are all the vegan, atheist, Latino-pixie-kin-non-gender-binary-Costa Rican pansexuals who teach feminism as they make your coffee?
And, hey! Where are the transgender characters? Better yet, where are all the vegan, atheist, Latino-pixie-kin-non-gender-binary-Costa Rican pansexuals who teach feminism as they make your coffee? You can bet that even that wouldn’t be good enough.
The message is clear: Buckling to demands and outrage only increases the demands and intensifies the outrage. What we’ve learned is that the SJWs never get enough. And Groening did the right thing by not bowing to their bullying. If they’d gotten their way with Apu, they’d have gutted every cartoon they could get their hands on. They’ve already largely succeeded in condemning certain books and movies.
What’s next? And doesn’t this sound familiar, historically speaking?