Kal Penn defends ‘Harold and Kumar’

Just want to make sure everyone sees Kal Penn’s reply to criticism of his film Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. (Or at least a comment by someone posting a long, careful defense under his name.)

A final scene IÂ’d like to clarify is the “Bag of Weed Dream Sequence”, in which Kumar fantasizes about, falls in love with, and marries a giant bag of weed. In a bout of post-marital financial hardship and depression, Kumar slaps the weed, calls her a “bitch”, and then apologizes… everyone should know that the scene is a parody of (and shot almost exactly like) a very famous scene in the Robert DeNiro film, “Raging Bull”.

It’s much like my point of view, though I missed the Raging Bull reference:

[T]he bit about slapping a bag of weed is intended to make fun of Kumar and is anti-domestic violence. Kumar is in an undershirt in a slummy apartment, chest hair showing, drinking crummy coffee. It’s enlightened society saying that Archie Bunker-like abusers are uncool troglodytes.

This all was prompted by Abhi’s post quoting South Asian Sisters’ criticism:

Harold and Kumar disappointed us. They represented Asian American men as being homophobic, spineless, sex-crazed misogynists.

Kal Penn’s site now has a new link to the anti-domestic violence org Narika and a page of links to progressive South Asian orgs.

28 thoughts on “Kal Penn defends ‘Harold and Kumar’

  1. I think that I speak for the South Asian Sisters when I say that Kal Penn’s response simply isn’t good enough. So instead of swallowing his disingenuous explanation, I propose that we strike back.

    I’m proposing the development of a production that will clearly contrast Harold & Kumar’s “homophobic, spineless, sex-crazed misogynists.” It will be inclusive of “working class” and “queer Asians.” The story will entirely do away with nerdy Asian-American women. Any “pretty” Latinas and “overly sexualized” white women will be excised of their overactive libidos. And anyone even hinting at a homophobic joke will be cut both figuratively and physically. The humor will not come at anyone’s expense and will work to build bridges, rather than create laughter.

    I’m still working out the details of this proposal, but I’ve come up with a concept poster that we can use when we approach investors: http://www.geocities.com/superjagjit/whiteCastle.jpg

    South Asian Sisters: Please send feedback as I want us to work together and have this ready to distribute by next summer!

  2. Jagjit:

    a) you forgot the handicapped (oops, “differently abled”) person! you anti-ablist!

    b) can I mirror that, giving you credit?

  3. jagjit, you have single handedly cracked up my whole lab. the most hilarious part was the wide eyed smile on the face of the “stupid dirty white racist bitch”. LOL for real…

  4. Thanks for all the feedback. The add is sad yet hilarious. Tell me, what exactly is it that is facist about your ad, or of South Asian Sisters? Were you just looking for something that sounded lyrical and rhythemic? I’m dying to know, because the word “facist” doesn’t make much sense in this scope. Expressing serious concern about issues/events/media that has an effect on our community doesn’t result in facism.

    You can call us whatever you want, mock us however you want, but, Bro, South Asian Sisters isn’t going anywhere. We’ll continue to call out sexist and homophobic media, and we’ll continue to be a part of YOUR community whether you like it or not.

    To everyone here, thanks for your energy and time, regardless of where your opinion lies. And thanks for all your opinions about South Asian Sisters. It’s good for us know exactly how much work needs to be done within the South Asian community… and this blog, sepiamutiny, is the perfect forum for that. Props.

    In Solidarity, Maulie Dass, South Asian Sisters.

  5. You can call us whatever you want, mock us however you want, but, Bro

    But…but…with that word you’re imposing your phallocentric paradigm on Jagjit! How do you know he’s a man? Just because he has a man’s name and a man’s style of writing doesn’t actually mean he’s a man. He could be a lesbian. Or some third or even fourth gender beyond the first two.

    One would think professional leftists would know better than to subscribe to heteronormativity and the oppression of gendered nouns. Next time, why not “Bro/Bra”, or even better “Bra/Bro” to be more inclusive about it.

  6. gc: instead of criticizing Maulie on the choice of ONE word, you ought to reread the comments and react to the points illustrated. It’s hardly worthwhile to criticize others on the choice of a single word, especially when the arguments made are something you should consider reflecting on.

  7. Jeez – South Asian Sisters. Kal Penn’s reply was amazing and so true. Many of us are too busy being pre-med students and “activists”, and it seems anytime someone tries to do something good for the community, we slam it. Let’s write a fuckin script instead of whining about someone who has worked so hard to try to make some sort of impact (anyone who’s read Kal Penn’s interviews in the past can tell he’s pretty down with the progressive movement). Hey Kal Penn – if you’re reading this and I actually write a good script that portrays people well, will you read it? -Manish

  8. how is that not what you’re doing with south asian sisters?

    the south asian sisters are not “doing something good for the community” by whining about kal penn’s movie (see jagjit above). they don’t get blanket credit for every one of their actions for one fundraiser. I’m pretty sure that silicon valley moguls and kal penn himself have donated more to charity than 5k, for one thing…

  9. oh, and by the way…

    it must be my horrible unsophistication talking again, but this yoni ki baat business reminds me of nothing more than the bit from ace ventura where he says: “I’d like to assssssk you a few questions”.

    pretty ludicrous that they’re serious about it. do they mime talking like carrey did? :)

  10. and i suppose h&k is much more defensible because it’s asian men rather than women appropriating the talk of pussy.

  11. and i suppose h&k is much more defensible because it’s asian men rather than women appropriating the talk of pussy.

    uh, no, the point is that THEY ARE JOKING while the south asian sisters are actually serious about the stories the yonis can tell.

    jim carrey did not use the pantomimed patter of his posterior to make a serious point about proctological protocols!

  12. jim carrey did not use the pantomimed patter of his posterior to make a serious point about proctological protocols!

    what an adept, admirable application of alliteration. i must appreciate it with ardour. ;)

  13. Um – it says that ‘Kal Penn now has a link to Narika’. I looked at his website a few months ago before “Harold and Kumar” and it was there with a bunch of anti-profiling and human rights stuff. Sorry to say, but looks like the south asian sisters had very little to do with that. Just trying to give credit where it’s due and stop all the whining and misdirected banter. Real action is where it’s at. Where’s Jagit’s script? Post when it’s ready, we’re all rooting for it and wanna read it!

  14. it says that ‘Kal Penn now has a link to Narika’. I looked at his website a few months ago before “Harold and Kumar” and it was there…

    That seems right, the Wayback Machine shows the Narika link was probably added in December ’03.

  15. Dude you guys seriously dont know him hez had the Narika links way way way back.I think you should research something before writing it down.Kal penn is really involved with the organizations way before he got famous.

  16. Jagjit, seriously, calm down. It’s just a movie. A very funny, very witty movie, but not one you’re forced to watch. If you don’t like it, or if you’re too stupid to understand what’s really happening in it, then don’t watch it. You are not entitled to any right to force other people to shut up just because you don’t like what they say.

  17. Democracy. People should be allowed to make whatever movies they want. Stupid feminist bitch.

  18. If you have a problem with the movie, or any movies that aren’t “politically correct”, then don’t watch them! Ever heard of the saying “ignorance is bliss”? This world is trying so hard to become politically correct, but there is always going to be someone or some group left out. I think that the writers made those characters so as to mock the stereotypes society has created. Instead of feeling offended because of the movie, you should feel glad that the writers brought those stereotypes to attention.

    And in regards to your poster; I can’t tell if it’s a joke, or if you’re serious about it. I want to laugh at it, but I’m afraid I will offend someone.

  19. [T]he bit about slapping a bag of weed is intended to make fun of Kumar

    It’s not intended to make fun of Kumar … you’re perceiving something onto it which wasn’t intended …

    You yourself said you missed the Raging Bull reference … rewire your perceptions and view the scene again …

  20. And anyone even hinting at a homophobic joke will be cut both figuratively and physically

    by Jagjit.

    I love that people might/will be “cut” physically. That’s the best remedy for everything, didn’t you know? If it isn’t right, violence will solve the problem! Yay violence!