Over a year and a half ago I wrote my first post for Pickled Politics, entitled â€˜Much Apu About Nothingâ€™ and it concerned my love for Springfieldâ€™s favourite shopkeeper. I sought to explain why I feel Apu is a positive character, having heard opinions against him. This has proved easily to be my most widely-read post.
Recently a publicity campaign for the upcoming Simpsons movie has developed into a contentious issue in America and Ultrabrownâ€™s Manish has quickly become the go-to man for all things Apu. What Manish probably doesnâ€™t realise that it was his view of Apu that inspired my article; I wanted to highlight how the British perception of Apu is so different from the American. So I figured I should chuck my two cents in, but Iâ€™ll try not to duplicate my reasons for being an Apu fan this time.
The recent â€˜Apu controversyâ€™, having made national American and Indian news, may have started as a debate about the ad campaign, but it has grown into a new dissection of Apuâ€™s character.
It is thus fundamental to separate the 7-Eleven issue from related discussion. Examining the former first, Manish has, in several posts, argued succinctly why this promotional strategy irks him. Central to my defence of Apu has always been his context. The Simpsons parodies all its inhabitants and Apu is not a racist stereotype but a rounded, human figure.
This advertising campaign removes Apu from that context. Apu, like all the caricatures in Springfield, exists on two levels. Every character has a superficial exterior, which personifies a stereotype; they also have a rich personality which undermines all of those clichÃ©s.
In Pickled Politicsâ€™ short life, Sunny has carved out an erudite niche with intelligent posts on important topics. So I figured the best thing to do with my first post was to write a daft post about The Simpsons. I hope the reasons why will become clear.
Bloggers often begin by stating their credentials on their topic of choice â€“ so let me assure you, you will not find a more devoted fan of The Simpsons. Yet I write this with some trepidation as I recently had my impression that the world loves all things Springfield shaken.
As an Asian, Iâ€™ve always felt some affinity towards Apu. Apu Nahasapeemapetilon is the industrious convenience store-owner and one of the major cast characters, with several episodes revolving entirely around him. Growing up in my middle class corner of London, I have never felt that Apuâ€™s character could carry any negative connotations; however several American South Asian chaps recently expressed their intense dislike of Apu. I wondered why.