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'The Simpsons' finally addressed the controversy surrounding Apu, but missed the point.

This isn't about offense or political correctness.

In November 2017, comedian Hari Kondabolu released a documentary called "The Problem With Apu."

The TruTV feature was a pretty powerful look into the life of Kondabolu and other South Asian actors who've struggled to sidestep the stereotype of "The Simpsons"' Kwik-E-Mart proprietor, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon (a character voiced by Hank Azaria).

Throughout the documentary, Kondabolu tries and fails to get Azaria to agree to an on-camera interview about the character.


Nearly five months after the film's release, "The Simpsons" finally issued a response of sorts — though it's still unclear whether they actually understand the issue.

In the April 8 episode "No Good Read Goes Unpunished," Marge is seen reading a story to Lisa, struggling to update an outdated passage for the modern age.

"Well, what am I supposed to do?" Marge asks.

Lisa responds, rolling her eyes, "Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect... What can you do?"

[rebelmouse-image 19476301 dam="1" original_size="500x281" caption="All GIFs from "The Simpsons."" expand=1]All GIFs from "The Simpsons."

The shot pans out, showing a photo of Apu next to Lisa's bed.

"Some things will be dealt with at a later date," says Marge.

Lisa responds, "If at all." The two look directly at the audience. The segment seems to be a clear dismissal of Kondabolu's criticism.

The entire point of "The Problem With Apu" was to use pop culture as a starting point for a larger discussion about representation, not to urge for the censorship of past works.

Anyone who's actually seen the film knows that Kondabolu's hope was to see more authentic portrayals of marginalized people so that inaccurate and stereotypical versions are no longer the primary cultural point of reference.

In other words, the stereotypical Apu wouldn't be so bad if there were other diverse South Asian voices and characters in the media. "The Simpsons" didn't create the problem, but they could help solve it by taking steps to add additional characters that better represent and humanize those who are underrepresented.

The show's response suggests that won't be happening.

"If you only have a handful of images, and that's what defines a large group of people," Kondabolu said in an interview around the time of the documentary's release, "then each time you have a negative image or you go after that particular group, that's a big thing."

"We just have to control our stories to the best of our ability," he said. "That part's on us. I think that we need to call out portrayals when they are inaccurate, when they are homophobic, when they are transphobic, when they're racist and sexist, and when there's fundamental things about them that are not true about an experience."

Kondabolu is not "offended" by Apu. That needs to be made clear.

The backlash to the backlash (which, sadly, seems to be a thing these days) over Apu seems to hinge on the argument that people are just too easily offended these days, or something about "PC culture run amok!"

"Imagine getting butthurt about a cartoon character," one person tweeted at Kondabolu.

Again, though, it's not about offense.

People are disappointed the show wouldn't so much as engage in this discussion without distorting it to be about "political correctness." Kondabolu didn't call for Apu's banishment, for him to be scrubbed from past episodes, or anything of the sort. He simply wanted to have a discussion about the role pop culture plays in our lives and how we see others.

The reason people are upset with how "The Simpsons" responded is that they sidestepped the issue altogether and tried to reframe it as being about offense. It's not.

W. Kamau Bell, host of CNN's "United Shades of America," broke down why he stands with Kondabolu in trying to have these tough conversations.

We can never stop having discussions just because they're challenging, and we can never allow issues of representation be reframed as unimportant. This discussion matters — and Kondabolu was brave for trying to start it.

Bell's entire Twitter thread is worth reading, but these three tweets sum up the argument well:

"The Simpsons" may have dropped the ball on their response, but that doesn't mean Kondabolu and others will give up in the fight for better, more accurate media representation.

"Freddie Mercury" by kentarotakizawa is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Fans are thrilled to hear Freddie Mercury's iconic voice once again.

Freddie Mercury had a voice and a stage presence unlike any other in rock music history. His unique talents helped propel the band Queen to the top of music charts and created a loyal fan base around the world.

Sadly, the world lost that voice when Mercury died of AIDS at age 45. For decades, most of us have assumed we'd heard all the music we were going to hear from him.

However, according to Yahoo! Entertainment, remaining Queen members Roger Taylor and Brian May announced this summer that they had found a never-released song they'd recorded with Mercury in 1988 as they were working on the album "The Miracle."

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Hotel is giving away 10 all-expense-paid trips to help rebuild Patagonia hiking trail

Post your video entry by March 15 for a chance to do some good while exploring one of the world's most stunning ecosystems.

Las Torres Patagonia

Torres del Paine National Park

In the far southern reaches of South America, Patagonia beckons adventurers with its striking landscape. Rugged mountain peaks, deep valley vistas, pristine lakes, virgin forests, coastal cliffs and more combine to make this semi-arid land a paradise for nature lovers and photographers alike.

If you've ever seen a photo like this…

hiking trail next to a lake in patagoniaHiking trail at Torres del Paine National Park in PatagoniaLas Torres Patagonia

…and thought, "I have to go see that turquoise water for myself," now's your chance. Las Torres Patagonia is offering an all-expense-paid trip (including airfare) for 10 lucky winners to travel to Torres del Paine National Park in Chile and stay at the all-inclusive Las Torres Patagonia hotel for five days.

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According an American expatriate who shared the story of his ER visit in a Taiwanese hospital, Americans are being taken to the cleaners when we go to the doctor. We live in a country that claims to be the greatest in the world, but where an emergency trip to the hospital can easily bankrupt someone.

Kevin Bozeat had that fact in mind when he fell ill while living in Taiwan and needed to go to the hospital. He didn't have insurance and he had no idea how much it was going to cost him. He shared the experience in a now-viral Facebook post he called "The Horrors of Socialized Medicine: A first hand experience."

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Lamb Chop and Mallory Lewis are creating nostalgia in Mellennials

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The kids show aired from 1992 to 1997 on PBS, with Shari passing away just a year later. But turns out everyone's favorite squeaky voiced lamb wasn't done bringing people joy. Shari's daughter Mallory Lewis has taken up her mom's throne as Lamb Chops handler and the internet couldn't be more thrilled to see the duo.

Mallory has the same fiery red curly hair that her mom did and has brought Lamb Chop, Charley Horse and Hush Puppy back out to play. To the delight of Millennials, the sassy lamb is still just six years old and gets Mallory into some tricky situations when trying to explain things to the puppet.

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Validation and Hope vs. Toxic Positivity

A Helpful Chart to Explain the Difference Between Support and 'Toxic Positivity" was originally published on The Mighty.

There's no denying that positivity can be powerful. I know when I'm struggling with anxiety and negative thoughts, if I can hold onto an ounce of hope — that I'll make it through, that I'm not defined by my thoughts, that I'm not as bad as my brain is making me out to be — I can cope a little better.

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How 5 diabolical parents called their kids' bluff in hilarious ways

The next generation is in great, if diabolical, hands.

Photo by Phuong Tran on Unsplash



Recently, blogger Jen Hatmaker had a funny conversation with a friend about parenting:

"My girlfriend told me the greatest story. Apparently her 11-year-old also wanted to be a grown up this week and, in fact, not only did he treat his siblings like despised underlings, but when asked what he wanted, he said: 'I want the authority to be in charge of them and tell them what to do, because they deserve it!'


Well. My girlfriend and her husband are NOT AT ALL MESSING AROUND with parenting. Calmly, evenly, they granted his request to be a grown-up for a week by pulling him out of camp (the underlings still got to go, because they are 'such children') and sending him to work ALL DAY EVERY DAY with his dad. He has to get up early and shower and make breakfast for everyone. He has to kiss the underlings before he goes to work and tell them to have a great day and that he loves them. He has to work on a typing project during his office hours. He only gets to eat what his dad eats, because eating like a grown-up is not nearly as fun as eating like a kid.


Want to be an adult? Fine."

Photo via iStock.

Hatmaker's post went viral, with thousands of parents chiming in with their own stories of tough love, both giving and receiving.

The responses were hilarious, poignant, and a sign that the next generation is being parented by extremely capable, if not a little bit diabolical, hands.

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