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Thread: The Problem With Apu: a documentary

  1. #1
    Mankind is my Business AW Moderator RichardGarfinkle's Avatar
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    Jan 2012
    Walking the world

    The Problem With Apu: a documentary

    Hari Kondabolu a stand-up comic has created a documentary about the consequences of the stereotypes portrayed in the Simpsons' character Apu. There's an article about this in the Guardian.

    It's a distressing discussion of how casually and insularly created characters can aid in causing actual harm to actual people.

    But by the time Kondabolu was in middle school, Apu became something more sinister: a stereotype that gave school bullies carte blanche to pick on him. In the eyes of classmates, Kondabolu became an Apu. And his parents, who had immigrated to the US from India, became Apus too.
    In the film, Kondabolu deftly analyzes what Apu meant then and now, and the ways offensive depictions like these materialize primarily because they’re assumed to be benign. “Apu reflected how America viewed us: servile, devious, goofy,” he says. “A white dude created a stereotypical Indian voice, and a bunch of white writers in the room laughed at said stereotypical Indian voice, and this led to the creation of my childhood bully and a walking insult to my parents.”

    This dynamic, in which ethnic stereotypes and homogenous writer’s rooms create a kind of feedback loop of racial insensitivity, explains why Kondabolu, whose routines are incisive and hilariously scornful, saw the appeal of standup, which allows him to bypass Hollywood’s overwhelmingly white bureaucracy.
    Undermine Pedantic Dadaism.

    Now on Smashwords

  2. #2
    Moderator AW Moderator Maryn's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
    I did not shoot the deputy
    He was the guest on The Daily Show on, ah, shoot, I forget. Quite recently, like the last three or four shows. (We record it to watch later.) I'm eager to see the documentary. I wasn't familiar with him or his stand-up work, but he made some very good points about being of Indian lineage in the US, while being low-key funny at the same time.

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  3. #3
    Joker Groupie Celia Cyanide's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    probably watching DARK KNIGHT
    I love his standup. Can't wait to see this.
    my IMDB page:

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    I have been nominated for Best Supporting Actress In A Short Film at The International Filmmaker Festival Of World Cinema London (SPOILER ALERT: I won!)


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