Simpsons creator Matt Groening again addressed the issues surrounding one of the show’s characters, Apu, which is thought by many to be an offensive stereotype. Groening has previously commented on the situation saying, “People love to pretend they’re offended.” During an interview with The New York Times, the outlet asked Groening to elaborate on that statement, here’s what he had to say.
“That wasn’t specifically about Apu. That was about our culture in general. And that’s something I’ve noticed for the last 25 years. There is the outrage of the week and it comes and goes. For a while, it was, believe it or not, kids were stealing quarters out of their mothers’ purses in order to go to the video arcade, and that was going to bring down civilization. No one even remembers that, because that lasted a week. I think particularly right now, people feel so aggrieved and crazed and powerless that they’re picking the wrong battles.”
Groening also mentioned he believes the conversation surrounding Apu is now “tainted”.
“It makes me feel bad that it makes other people feel bad. But on the other hand, it’s tainted now — the conversation, there’s no nuance to the conversation now. It seems very, very clunky.”
I’ve watched The Simpsons since its inception, I was the same age as Bart when the show began. having watched the show for many years, I would agree that Apu is a caricature (kind of hard to argue that he isn’t), but it’s not like he is the only one on the show. Do people really think Groundkeeper Willy is an accurate representation of the average Scottish person? Or that Ned Flanders represents how every devout Christian acts? What about bee suit guy? An accurate portrayal of hispanic actors? I think not. In my opinion The Simpsons spread the offensiveness around pretty evenly.
While I understand how the character can be offensive, I also to an extent agree with Groening that society seems to come up with something new to be offended by on what seems like a weekly basis.
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Source: The New York Times