The Apotheosis of Apu

John Schneider—the actor who played Bo Duke in the beloved ‘80s TV series, “The Dukes of Hazzard”—is not Southern. He was born in New York, not Hazzard County, Georgia.

He imitated the accent, played the hayseed.

Schneider says he “borrowed a dilapidated pickup truck, put on a big ol’ country accent and funky hat” to secure the role. He showed up for the audition wearing boots and an old T-shirt, in full Good Ol’ Boy Mode. “I hadn’t shaved and went in toting a beer. I don’t know whether they believed it or not, but they liked it.”

Where is the woke outrage?

It’s currently focused on Hank Azaria, who for decades voiced the beloved character Apu in the hugely popular animated television comedy, “The Simpsons.”

Now he is doing the mea culpa tour . . . for imitating an Indian accent and for not being the same race as the character he voiced.

The woke consider Azaria’s work—and even the character Apu, himself—“offensive.”

“It is now practically a slur”—according to Azaria, who learned it is because the woke told him so.

But how is it? 

Apu’s character is a hard-working, first-generation immigrant with a Ph.D. who owns his own business—a go-getter in the best American tradition. 

He is contrasted with the show’s lead character, Homer Simpson—a lazy, bumbling, opportunistic, boozing slob who barely made it out of high school. But that’s OK. That’s funny—because Homer’s character is white and the person who voiced him—Dan Castellanta—is also white.

Perhaps Azaria  should have voiced Apu speaking the King’s English instead of accented, American English—though in that case the woke would be outraged over the lack of “authenticity.” Should Apu have spoken Hindi, then? 

We’re supposed to pretend that dialects and accents don’t exist—and can never be funny.

Unless, of course, they’re Southern bumpkins. And, in the recent past, a Fran Drescher here or there. 

The Daily Wire reported that the voice of Apu had a sit shiva at his son’s high school, where he apologized to one of his son’s classmates, apparently of Indian descent—who had never seen the show—for his voicing of the fictional cartoon owner of the Kwik-E Mart.

He’s never seen the show but knows what Apu means,” he said.

“All he knows is that is how his people are thought of and represented to many people in this country.”

How he knows it is an interesting question, given this kid has never seen—or heard—it.

Rather, he has heard of it.

In other words, he’s heard the woke condemn it.

Maybe he heard Joe Biden talk about it?

“I really do apologize,” Azaria said. “It’s important. I apologize . . . for my part in creating and participating in that. Part of me feels like I need to go to every single Indian person in this country and personally apologize.”

“And sometimes, I do.” 

It is a good thing the great tenor Luciano Pavarotti isn’t around anymore. The woke would probably be howling over his assuming the role of Othello, who wasn’t Italian.

And Robin Williams—who isn’t an old lady but played one (brilliantly) in “Mrs. Doubtfire.” 

In the future, only ethnically/racially/sexually correct singers/actors and so on will be allowed to portray characters, sing songs, and so on. 

Unless they aren’t Southern

Wokeness only goes one way.

It is also humorless, orthodox, and totalitarian.

It demands obedience to a dreary superficial sameness. All must look alike, sound alike; hold the same views—those views to be decreed, by the Woke. The deeper things that make us individuals with individual stories rather than cardboard cutout archetypes of a one-dimensional collective based on the color of our skin, the accents we have or the place our ancestors hailed from must be effaced by crying, offensive!

Azaria’s Apu is not a blackface routine—though Azeria himself has been gaslit and virtue-shamed into believing himself guilty of participating in exactly that.

He describes attending “seminars”—i.e., browbeating sessions—at which he “learned”—i.e., was told—that it is “hurtful” for white actors to play (or voice-over) nonwhite characters and that his voicing-over was also demeaning to people of East-Asian descent.

This is an incredibly superficial accusation. One Azeria touched on himself—but missed the significance of—when he talked about the offended high school kid who told him he’d never actually watched “The Simpsons.

If he had, he’d know that Apu was presented as a real person with a real story—and who was funny because of his authentic humanity. To characterize this as degrading is as nonsensical as attacking “The Dukes of Hazzard” as a whiteface minstrel show.

One of the hallmarks of a totalitarian culture is having to walk on eggshells all the time—for fear of offending orthodoxy and the power it has to “cancel” offenders who aren’t guilty of anything, except being unorthodox. 

John Cleese—the British actor famous for his skit work on the Monty Python series back in the 1970s—knows how serious this business is and what is at stake. After “apologizing” for all the fun he made of English people with funny accents—he said: “Everything humorous is critical. If you have someone who is perfectly kind and intelligent and flexible and who always behaves ‘appropriately’ they’re not funny . . . they have to set the bar according to what we are told by the most touchy, most emotionally unstable and fragile people in the country.”

It’s worse than that, actually. The woke are using touchy, emotionally unstable, and fragile people—to advance an agenda that will end up canceling more than TV shows.

At least it will if people continue to apologize for “offending” them.

About A.J. Rice

A.J. Rice is CEO of Publius PR, a premier communications firm in Washington D.C. Rice is a brand manager, star-whisperer and auteur media influencer, who has produced or promoted Laura Ingraham, Judge Jeanine Pirro, Donald Trump Jr., Monica Crowley, Charles Krauthammer, Roger L. Simon, Steve Hilton, Victor Davis Hanson, and many others. Find out more at publiuspr.com.

Photo: Michael Nagle/Getty Images

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