Thursday, April 17, 2008

Los Simpsons

Things are not going well for the Simpsons outside of Europe and the United States. Apparently the Venezuelan government recently threatened to punish a television station for exposing kids to the show by replacing it with Baywatch Hawaii (they ended up doing it). Stuff got worse south of the border because Argentina also got angry because of some unfavorable dialogue on the show.

Apparently Carl (the black character on Los Simpsons) while having a conversation about political candidates made a comment that went something like this:

"I'd really go for some kind of military dictator, like Juan Perón...When he 'dissapeared' you, you stayed dissapeared."

To Americans who know their world history this wouldn't be strange as we know the famous dictators of history which includes people like Samuel Doe, Adolf Hitler, Idi Amin, Fulgencio Batista and Juan Perón.

Mr. Dictator President himself Juan Perón.

Madonna as Eva PerĂ³n in the film adaptation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Evita (1996).

Madonna as Juan Peron's  wife in the1996 movie- musical Evita.

 

As the Washington Post explains most Argentineans don't think of a Perón as a dictator and they don't blame him for 30,000 missing dissidents after his death. Apparently they hated the reference to Madonna and Evita too. Basically, the Simpsons failed at crossing the cultural threshold. Even in Brazil they pissed off some people too.

People are sensitive about the images of their nation and its equally upsetting to see someone mock our own people who we might feel positively about despite negative international opinion.

When I put this in context of the future I think about Cuba. What happens when Fidel "leaves." Will Cubans become offended and try to protect his image? I'm sure there will be a lot of disagreement about his role in history (especially from the U.S.). How do we judge the revolutionary of leaders of the past when moral standards and impressions of leaders differ from country to country.

Washington Post

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