Monday, October 08, 2007

An Open Letter to the Nations of the World regarding insults

I am sure by now everyone has heard about the joke about the Philippines on Desperate Housewives that led to a huge furor, and it reminded me of the controversy and lawsuit surrounding the Brazilian-based episode of The Simpsons.

Somehow I think these efforts are ill-advised. Yes, there may be some hurt feelings, and people may have been offended, but complaining and bringing lawsuits against the producers of television shows that made a statement or insinuation that you didn't like in a comedic way isn't the best course of action.

These communities should do what Canadians do... we don't get mad, we just get even.

Did you hear any stories about Canadians complaining about the episode of the show that took the family to Toronto and Bart and Milhouse joining the Canadian Basketball team, or that the Canadian kid Gordy in You Only Move Twice being in the slow class? Or Canadians being upset about being the theme of an Oscar-nominated song by the South Park boys?


What happens is our comedians and sitcoms take some shots back, and despite our reputation as being such nice people, we are absolutely merciless when it comes to the burn.

For example, the CBC sends Rick Mercer down to Washington or another major American city, and makes people on the streets look like idiots. We give it back as good as we get and aside from an incident involving Triumph the Insult Comic Dog in Quebec, we don't get all up in arms about jokes made at our expense. We just dish it back... because that's how you win a putdown contest. You just have to be funnier than the person or group insulting you, and in large part, we are succeeding.

I think this is a lesson for every community out there that gets pissed off about a little jibe on a television show about their country of origin... just burn America back and everything will be good. I mean, in real life, if you tease someone and they get all upset about it, you want to tease them some more, don't they?

Thank you to Semaj for the inspiration behind this post.


Lee said...

Australia didn't come off looking too good when the Simpsons came down here and whilst we may cringe I don't think as a country we were outraged. I think some countries need to toughen up a little, it's an animated television show (which could possibly also be said of Desperate Housewives - giggle).

By the way we don't sound the way the Simpsons had our accents.

Curse you simpsons (shaking fist)

Micgar said...

Matt, I think you're right about this. When I hear a joke about Mexicans/Hispanics by Sarah S or on some blog, I take it in context. Its a joke. Its different when its a "serious" thing-like a gov't spokesperson or a or a person who means actual harm.
I can turn the TV channel or click the back button on my PC also.
Our nation/world has become too sensitive to this type of thing.

MC said...

Lee: Well, that slow kid was described as the thickest Canadian accent that has ever appeared on television. I know the Australian accent isn't that thick except in the case of Judith Lucy. And I don't believe the PM is just lounging around on an innertube all day either.

Micgar: I just think it sort of plays into the conception that what is being said could be believed to be true... by protesting it, these groups seem to be lending the subject matter of the joke added weight by coming out so strongly against it.