An Unfunny Joel Stein Walks Into Some Cow Dung

…because he’s in his hometown of Edison, NJ. Get it? EDISON IS THE HOME OF A LOT OF INDIAN IMMIGRANTS! And they have overrun the township, what with their red dots, and zany, octopus-like deities and of course, their cows! Indians worship cows! And Edison is full of Indians! So there are cows in Edison, and the cows take dumps, and this unfunny columnist named Joel Stein really stepped in it, because the nasty brown shit (and by nasty brown shit, I mean “Indian”) is everywhere! The brown shit is unavoidable! ISN’T THAT HILARIOUS? WHY AREN’T YOU LAUGHING? Don’t you get it? That paragraph is humorous! I have bludgeoned you about the head with my clever humor! And if you don’t “get” it, you are excessively thin-skinned, like…like…an eggshell plaintiff!

What’s that you say, Desis? You weren’t impressed with Stein’s comedic stylings? Why…if you’re outraged, then that’s GREAT because it means Stein’s humor is EDGY. That’s what great comics do! They challenge you! They inspire your eyebrows to raise up like they’re furry, arched extras in a Petey Pablo video!

You didn’t think it was funny, at all? Well, chin up, dear Mutineers. Neither did I.

And that’s because, it wasn’t.

When I first ventured online today, I had a dozen tweets, emails and FB messages waiting for me. They all contained the same link to TIME magazine, a publication I adored as a child. My interest? Piqued. I started to read.

Let me tell you what I liked about the essay which all of you wanted me to read, first: the title. I loved the B-52s in high school and I love lifting blog titles from song titles. Clearly, Stein was referencing “Private Idaho“, which was a bit before my time (released: 1980) and to my INDIAN ears, a bit annoying. I preferred a single from a full decade later– “Deadbeat Club“. I used to put it on a lot of my mix tapes. Sigh.

Now that we got THAT out of the way, let me tell you what I disliked about Stein’s “meditation” on immigration. See what I did there? Huh? Huh? INDIAN STUFF, AGAIN!

Every. Thing. Else.

Let’s get started, shall we? But first, to really do Mr. Stein justice, I’m going to light some incense, play a “Jai Ho” remix, and nosh on some curry– but daintily! I don’t want to stain my exotic silk costume, which I bought in…of all places…Edison. What are the odds, right? Oh, wait…according to TIME magazine, the odds are very good that my Indian garb is from Edison. The whole place is infested with Patels. Did I mention there’s a dot on my forehead? I’m a dothead! Wheee! Oh, but I am getting ahead of myself (I am waggling my head as I type that. If you’re reading this, switch to an “Apu” voice, would you? Thanks, you’re a doll. I mean, you’re an Aishwarya!)

I am very much in favor of immigration everywhere in the U.S. except Edison, N.J. The mostly white suburban town I left when I graduated from high school in 1989 — the town that was called Menlo Park when Thomas Alva Edison set up shop there and was later renamed in his honor — has become home to one of the biggest Indian communities in the U.S., as familiar to people in India as how to instruct stupid Americans to reboot their Internet routers.

HAHAHA! Stein just called Americans “stupid”. Doing this protects him from any accusations of racism or bias, because he made fun of himself! And he said he was pro-immigration, so he’s nice, too. See how that works? What are you saying? It DIDN’T work? Oh.

Hmmm.

Maybe that’s because it was made by an American! Ooooh, BURN! Like a VINDALOO! And you can’t get mad at me, because I’m an American, too! Huzzah for humor insurance!> My town is totally unfamiliar to me. The Pizza Hut where my busboy friends stole pies for our drunken parties is now an Indian sweets shop with a completely inappropriate roof. The A&P I shoplifted from is now an Indian grocery. The multiplex where we snuck into R-rated movies now shows only Bollywood films and serves samosas. The Italian restaurant that my friends stole cash from as waiters is now Moghul, one of the most famous Indian restaurants in the country. There is an entire generation of white children in Edison who have nowhere to learn crime.

Aww, more self-deprecation! It almost makes you miss the utterly bizarre reference to the mithai place’s “inappropriate roof”. How, may I ask, is a roof ever inappropriate? Did it forget to wear its knickers? Does it have the F-bomb painted on it? Better yet, is the roof fornicating with something? Perhaps a chimney? Oh, yeah…you’re a nasty roof, aren’t you? You’re bad. You need to be punished.

Or wait– did Stein mean inappropriate like that inebriated White parent who showed up to my conservative private school and slurred about what he’d like to do to all of us young girls in our pleated skirts? If so, that’s a TERRIBLE roof. A dangerous one, even. Also, you can’t get mad at me for sharing that anecdote which makes Whites look bad, because I was in it. Or it was funny. Or something. What? “Humor” is Stein’s excuse. He’s American, possibly Jewish, and he finds himself far too clever– just like me! STOP BEING THIN-SKINNED, EGGSHELL PLAINTIFF.

I called James W. Hughes, policy-school dean at Rutgers University, who explained that Lyndon Johnson’s 1965 immigration law raised immigration caps for non-European countries. LBJ apparently had some weird relationship with Asians in which he liked both inviting them over and going over to Asia to kill them.

I’ll be damned. This hack was actually funny for a change. I’m going to agree with my colleague Amardeep and declare that this bit works. If only the ENTIRE ARTICLE worked as well. Also? EDISON IS FULL OF DOT-HEADED NERDS WHO WORSHIP PENISES. What? I was worried you’d forget. You suffered through that Stein piece, you’re probably used to being bludgeoned with such sentiments every 30 seconds. I’m just trying to be considerate, y’all. Why do you have to be so Indian about everything? Why can’t you be dishonest and White, and not change everything, and not take over the businesses where I learned to be a petty thief and…and…stuff? NOTHING SHOULD EVER CHANGE, DAMNIT. IT’S JOEL STEIN’S WORLD AND WE’RE ALL JUST LIVING IN IT.

After the law passed, when I was a kid, a few engineers and doctors from Gujarat moved to Edison because of its proximity to AT&T, good schools and reasonably priced, if slightly deteriorating, post-WW II housing. For a while, we assumed all Indians were geniuses. Then, in the 1980s, the doctors and engineers brought over their merchant cousins, and we were no longer so sure about the genius thing. In the 1990s, the not-as-brilliant merchants brought their even-less-bright cousins, and we started to understand why India is so damn poor.

Sorry, Mutineers– I’m going to have to ask you to stop reading this blog and look away for a moment. I love you too much to let you watch what happens next. Tearing someone a new arsehole is a brutal, violent act and you shouldn’t have to see that. Now go. Study some maths while I take care of this, nah? Acha, beta.

Removes hoop earrings

Which are 22K

Smears vaseline on face

Gets to stompin’ in stiletto heels

“YEAH, you accidentally racist, hypocritical JERK! You pee sitting DOWN in MY HOUSE! And it IS my house! I’m Indian! THAT’S WHAT WE DO, MF! WE BUY HOUSES! WITH RESPONSIBLE MORTGAGES! WHICH WE PAY OFF EARLY! BIATCH!”

Oh, sorry, little ones. Didn’t know you were already back from mastering “Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos”. Drink some Bornevita, kozhandai. What’s that? You want Horlicks, instead? Why are you laughing? Because it sounds like “whore-licks”? Really? Well, at least that’s funnier than the pap Stein wrote. Now nom this Parle-G and get out ma face. Mama’s got WORK to do! That and the next part is ugly. I know. AGAIN.

Eventually, there were enough Indians in Edison to change the culture. At which point my townsfolk started calling the new Edisonians “dot heads.” One kid I knew in high school drove down an Indian-dense street yelling for its residents to “go home to India.” In retrospect, I question just how good our schools were if “dot heads” was the best racist insult we could come up with for a group of people whose gods have multiple arms and an elephant nose.

Joel,

though I’ve pretended to give you an episiotomy in this post, I want to say that I actually don’t care enough to mind that you exist. I could have overlooked this entire fustercluck if you hadn’t composed the paragraph above.

Why? Why did you write that?

Do you think it’s funny when someone talks about negotiating a great deal and they exclaim, “I jewed them down to almost nothing!” If you do think that’s funny, you’re pathetic because you know what? I find “Jewed” offensive. And I constantly call it out, just like in high school, when I’d wish people “Happy Holidays” whenever I was out shopping with my Jewish best friend, who wilted a little inwardly at the absent-minded “Merry Christmas”‘ wished at two young girls who, truthfully, looked more like a Hindu and a Muslim than an Indian Christian and a Persian Jew.

I don’t like the term “Jewed” because it’s ugly. It trades in the worst stereotypes and assumptions about an entire group of people who don’t deserve to be disrespected and diminished by what is, at best, lazy phrasing and at worst, anti-Semitic poison, casually slipped in conversations like a roofie in our collective drink. Joel, I believe in the dignity of all people. I understand that words are powerful and that stereotypes are the preferred weapon of the uninformed and uncreative as well as the malicious and bigoted.

You “question” the quality of Edison’s schools because you think “Dot Head” was a mediocre epithet? Would “dotbusters” have been more suitable? Yeah, I know, wrong place. They slaughtered a “Dot Head” for the crime of being Indian over in Jersey City, not your precious, quondam white Edison.

I don’t give a shit.

The biggest problem I have with your inane, imbecilic piece is that it isn’t funny. Not even close to it.

I don’t think you are a racist. I truly don’t. But I do think that you don’t get it. That you fancy yourself to be far more “edgy” and “hilarious” than you actually are, because this…this TIME article is not funny. And this paragraph is exactly why I maintain such a position. You failed.

Isn’t all comedy offensive? Sure, a lot of it is. See: Chappelle show. I laughed four separate times during that consummately offensive video. Do you know what the difference between your “race com” and Dave’s is? Dave is funny. He is deft, artful, smart but most of all– he is Funny.

Your neighborhood racists’ inability to devise a better slur “for a group of people whose gods have multiple arms and an elephant nose” is neither funny, nor edgy. It’s disrespectful, ignorant and not even entirely accurate. What about a person with two arms and a prominent nose who lights a menorah? Because India has those, too. What thrilling invective should be hurled their way?

Unlike some of my friends in the 1980s, I liked a lot of things about the way my town changed: far better restaurants, friends dorky enough to play Dungeons & Dragons with me, restaurant owners who didn’t card us because all white people look old. But sometime after I left, the town became a maze of charmless Indian strip malls and housing developments. Whenever I go back, I feel what people in Arizona talk about: a sense of loss and anomie and disbelief that anyone can eat food that spicy.

This paragraph started off with so much promise; relatively speaking, that means you hadn’t stepped in shit up to your ankle. Then, you had to go there. Arizona, there. And no one even noticed your bizarre suggestion that “all white people look old”, because you had invoked the one state where your humor would play well.

So, the immigrants came and ruined everything, did they? With their “charmless” businesses which helped prop up Edison’s economy, even as they denied the township’s children opportunities to be junior thieves. I forgot to ask– what tribe are you a part of? You couldn’t possibly be the descendant of immigrants if you hold such exclusionary, retrograde views, so I’m assuming you are one of the only real Americans, because if you’re not an indigenous person, that would make you a giant, flaming hypocrite. And if you were an indigenous person and you held these views, well, I’d understand you a bit more but I’d still think you were a dick.

But enough about you, let’s talk about– you. Your piece, and specifically, those housing developments. Ugh. Who wants those. Better to have urban prairie, like Detroit or something. Also, you forgot to mention “curry”. Because all Indian houses smell like it, so surely these residential developments which you regret all exist under a puff of garam masala, yes? No? Head waggle, so? The whole reason the food is spicy is because of that curry cloud of powdered spice, wafting overhead, a reversal of the filth which orbits little Pig Pen’s feet.

You feel a “sense of loss” that your neighborhood isn’t a shrine to your memories of it? Join the damned club, accidental racist. The rest of us just accept that such evolution is a part of reality; we understand it, we don’t blame immigrants for it. And finally, what were you thinking, writing a column on Immigration and invoking “Arizona” within it, with your sympathies? Oh, right. Edgy.

Unlike previous waves of immigrants, who couldn’t fly home or Skype with relatives, Edison’s first Indian generation didn’t quickly assimilate (and give their kids Western names). But if you look at the current Facebook photos of students at my old high school, J.P. Stevens, which would be very creepy of you, you’ll see that, while the population seems at least half Indian, a lot of them look like the Italian Guidos I grew up with in the 1980s: gold chains, gelled hair, unbuttoned shirts. In fact, they are called Guindians. Their assimilation is so wonderfully American that if the Statue of Liberty could shed a tear, she would. Because of the amount of cologne they wear.

Okay, at this point, it’s 1am and I’m exhausted.

What the blood clot? Skype has been around for all of seven years. My parents arrived over thirty years before that. They didn’t have Skype but they did give their kids “Western” names because the “West” doesn’t have a monopoly on Christian nomenclature, you fucking fuck. And plenty of those immigrants who came in the late 60s DID assimilate, probably because they were 35 years ahead of Skype, but that’s irrelevant. You have TWO ethnic groups to insult now. The sad thing is, the whole “Guindian” phenomenon merits discussion and could spawn a whole other post, one which explores identity and emulation and NOT bad, racist attempts at wit.

And speaking of the “R”-bomb:

-despite your (apparently) being a member of a “minority” group
-just because you are not usually, actively racist
-even if it wasn’t your intention to sound so racist
-though you may have an Indian friend or three, who kissed your ass and boot-licked their way through some compliment of your…work…

IT WAS RACIST.

It was also ignorant, small-minded, cringe-inducing, embarrassing (for you) and classist. So please, in the future, just…desist.

I’ll let some of my beloved friends and readers school you as to how and why you stepped in it.

Erstwhile guest blogger (2006!) Maitri let Stein HAVE IT, in a missive to me. See?

Even if this were a simple observation on Joel Stein’s part of how his town has changed economically through the decades, he could have done it a bit differently. Case in point: “In retrospect, I question just how good our schools were if ‘dot heads’ was the best racist insult we could come up with for a group of people whose gods have multiple arms and an elephant nose.” Like these attributes of Hindu gods are insult-worthy. With this, Stein gave up the protection of self-deprecation and crossed that line. Why is it still so easy to do so?

Time Magazine ought to know better.

Said Brian, who was the FIRST of 26 of you to contact me about this:

To write an article in a publication such as TIME, that highlighted epithets (which the author himself thought weren’t creative or offensive enough) used to degrade children growing up in a country already feeling different is in bad taste.

Mimosa wrote:

Stein…starts to delineate how his town has fallen from a supposed “good old days” nostalgia, a place that was allegedly superior to the present. The associations made with Indians – their food, culture, and other ethnic practices – are framed as inferior to the ways of the gloried past. Racism is the belief that “race” itself determines human traits and capabilities, and that this quality is what pre-dates what is superior vs. inferior. By focusing on the way these “invaders” have deteriorated in the interim (strip malls filled with Indian grocery stores, movie theaters featuring only Bollywood films, gods and goddesses with their multiple arms and elephant noses), he takes a position of dominance, a position that there is only one narrative to be spun out of this hometown. Such a position is allied with the “raghead” comments stemming from the South Carolina GOP gubernatorial race, whereby GOP primary candidate Nikki Haley and President Obama were attacked for their supposed religious affiliations (nevermind that the rhetoric was completely flawed and ignorant).

But really, what bothers me about this piece, why it didn’t strike me as satire, is that it seems to assume that there really is a dominant narrative out there, i.e. that “white” culture is where it’s at. Assimilation is not an option, it’s a requirement for these rude new aliens – but of course, that assimilation is on the dominant narratives terms.

So…if any of your friends missed this hullabaloo in the Sepia orchard, just send them Mimosa’s thoughts. That way we deprive this fucker of page views. Our outrage has made this…uh…”story”…both the “Most Read” and “Most Emailed” links on TIME.com. Ugh. We are rewarding his stupidity.

Mihir buzzed this:

…so basically he is saying Indians are ok if they fit into his neat little white upper middle class template, and maybe stay under, say 20% of the population. In other words he’s ok with Oak Brook or perhaps Naperville but hates Devon Avenue. It’s unfortunate that he believed that Edison would forever be like 1989…the race/class-infused nostalgia just seems immature to me for a supposedly educated writer.

Of course he’s saying that. There are even Desis who say that. They just have the good manners and education to know that they are elitist douchebags and they keep that shit on lock. They don’t clutter up a once venerable magazine with their snobbery. Also? EDISON IS LIKE, FULL OF INDIANS! And you thought I’d forget…

Said Aditi, whose family, like mine, has subscribed to TIME for years:

Reading it made me feel defensive and frustrated at how mocking Indians has become such an easy target–the SNL skit a few months ago, Text ‘n’ Talk for PCS, Sanjeev the web designer in some insurance– without requiring anything to be actually funny. Just mock the accent, our immigrant ambitions and our gods….the Arizona reference was straight up Ridiculous.

And lest you think this is a bunch of minorities whining about getting their feelings hurt, read this, from Rachel Kipp, an editor in Philadelphia.

“If it’s satire, but nobody laughs, then it’s not satire.”

Maybe since Rachel isn’t Indian, Joel will value her words more! I know one thing– don’t ever change, Rachel. No, seriously, don’t. Because if you do, Joel Stein will write a bad column about it, for TIME.

My friend RR did an excellent job of conveying how many of us felt after reading this, via my FB profile:

I have to wonder, if a similar article was written about Latinos or African Americans if TIME would have the balls to publish it? If they did, wouldn’t all hell break lose? Wouldn’t this be something that NPR and everyone else would be talking about? Is it because Indians are too small a minority and too “passive ” to actually fight back? Some how I feel like the nerdy Indian kid in high school all over again.

Meanwhile, over on Twitter, AngryBrownGirl drew my attention to the next phase of this drama:

Did you guys check out Joel’s FB post? Apparently not expecting such a reaction? Give me a break!

It’s true; his Facebook page was updated with a status message which…wasn’t helpful. See for yourself:

Didn’t meant to insult Indians with my column this week. Also stupidly assumed their emails would follow that Gandhi non-violence thing.

Someone in the bunker thought that was so amusing, they felt sorry for Stein. I just gloated over the “stupid”, since his entire column was. Also? Edison. Indians. Lots of. Oy, I’m tired.

I’ll let Maitri fire off some parting shots for me, because she’s a hot geologist with a way with words and her ire isn’t just aimed at Stein– she’s gunning for some of you. Watch out now:

Yet, still, hitherto, even at this point, I can dismiss the whole article as noise. What really cooks me here is not Stein’s provincialism or even how easy it still is to use Indians as the butt of jokes. It’s the Indian-Americans, the ones who keep their heads down, “adjust” and don’t make waves, who will tell us not to be so sensitive and to shrug it off. “Let them say what they want. We should not internalize these things and let them bother us. Grow a sense of humor.” Because of their being doormats, it is easy for the Steins of the world to give ink to the Wholly Unnecessary. They make it so easy to do so. No more. I’m an American. The residents of Edison have been Americans for longer than Stein’s had a column. They don’t need this. Fuck you if you CAN take a “joke.”

Word. This born-American citizen is over and out. Let the wild rumpus begin.

395 thoughts on “An Unfunny Joel Stein Walks Into Some Cow Dung

  1. PS on June 30, 2010 4:11 PM · SAALT (and sometimes I agree with their positions and sometimes I don’t) has issued a response

    PS,

    Thanks for the link. The response was short, but well thought-out. It appears this group has backbone I signed the petition and I hope others will as well. Just as today it’s hip to be the Indian that tells the others that they’re “overreacting”, hopefully one day we’ll respect the Indian-American who is assertive and stands up for the rest of us.

    A simple comparison with the Jewish community. Not too long ago, a celebrity made a joke saying a bad photo of hers (which ended up showing her nose as huge), was that of a Jewish cousin, or something to that effect. Now if there were about Indians, our engineering/scientific-oriented leaders would say “What’s the big deal? We do have big noses. She wasn’t saying that was a bad thing. It’s not racist. C’mon!”. Instead, this celebrity tearfully apologized and in a heartfelt way — in part due to collecting action from the Jewish community. The lesson learned by broader society was important. Scientific types have a hard enough time with subtext, that to put them in charge of policing something so abstract (to them) as a cumulative impact of demeaning stereotypes is a mistake. We have the wrong hands at the wheel.

  2. Stein’s satire is definitely less racist and offensive than the many references to ‘little eyed’ people and ‘kallos’, uttered without even a blink, that I hear many Indian gatherings, especially if they have recent immigrants. Grow up.

    And when they get to print their thoughts in Time magazine as a paid columnist, you will have a point.

  3. brown girl @ 239

    on the whole the column IS positive – as positive as a satirist such stein could be.

    See this is the bit I don’t get that comments like yours have used to justify the tone of the article. You say that if the piece is satire then it’s not racist at all. It simply can’t be. So the author’s negative perspective is positive through that loophole. Your definition removes out the possibility that satire can be racist through the meaning and intent of the words used. Whether the satire is funny or not.

    @ brown girl #199 – On the point that we should stop whining – I do disagree, if only because that mentality – that complaining is ‘whining’ or that it is best to shut up and be a spectator when insults are thrown at us – is exactly what has made us an easy target as a community.

    I agree with this response. We’re not just being targeted as a community but as individuals too. You don’t have to take action if you don’t like the article. You can let others do the work for you, and that’s fine as long as you support what they’re doing, at least that’s how I feel. But what if it’s a personal situation you’re in, like a real estate matter, or visa-travel or work related? Then it’s an individual problem. It’s yours. How do you fight your battles then? Is it whining if you take action, in other words stand up for yourself? Or are you one of the fortunate ones who generally has someone to take care of it for you, someone else to bail you out?

  4. “Anna’s rant gave me a headache. That’s offensive.”

    Would that it had hurt your fingers. If you’d like to critique writing styles, do it in good faith constructively (and preferably via email). Otherwise you’re all noise, no signal.

    Keep your comments productive, people. Invalidating others- not productive. Leveling ad hominem attacks- not productive. Anti-semitic conspiracy theories? Not productive AND unwelcome. Etc.

  5. . Not too long ago, a celebrity made a joke saying a bad photo of hers (which ended up showing her nose as huge), was that of a Jewish cousin, or something to that effect. Now if there were about Indians, our engineering/scientific-oriented leaders would say “What’s the big deal? We do have big noses. She wasn’t saying that was a bad thing. It’s not racist. C’mon!”. Instead, this celebrity tearfully apologized and in a heartfelt way — in part due to collecting action from the Jewish community. The lesson learned by broader society was important. Scientific types have a hard enough time with subtext, that to put them in charge of policing something so abstract (to them) as a cumulative impact of demeaning stereotypes is a mistake. We have the wrong hands at the wheel.

    You were thinking of Halle Berry appearing on The Tonight Show. The actual joke was cut from the broadcast, but the studio audience heard it, and word got out. To her credit, Berry immediately apologized, saying that what seemed funny between close friends and associates fell flat in the context of appearing as a guest on a late night show.

    Reminds me about one time Wanda Sykes appeared on Politically Incorrect, and when something related to Jews came up, she actually jumped up and said something to the effect, “I’m in show business, I’m not saying a damn thing about Jews!”

  6. Instead, this celebrity tearfully apologized and in a heartfelt way — in part due to collecting action from the Jewish community. The lesson learned by broader society was important.

    Yeah I vaguely remember that. I’m glad you signed the petition. I don’t think though that the Jewish community is solidified in their responses on issues. In fact, like the Indian community, I just had this impression that the Jewish community had an “argumentative” culture like Indian culture…meaning that there’s a lot emphasis on analysis, arguments, seeing different perspectives, etc overall in their culture. I see very diverse voices that express themselves say for an issue like the Israel and Gaza and since Israelis and many countries that Jewish communities have a relatively free press, like India, those expressions do come out. There were Jewish people who were actually apologists for the holocaust and the prejudice they experienced…I just remember this from books I had read on the history of europe, etc. Anyways it’s my opinion and of course not based on any polling that’s been done. :)

  7. (4) It was a monstrously failed attempt at satire/humor, and there is zero excuse for Time Magazine not having properly edited this horribly mangled, slapped-together pice

    Mihir,

    Doesn’t matter whether it failed or not. When a standup comedian is performing, do you really think comedians give two sh*ts whether the butt of the joke laughs? All they hope is that that person doesn’t heckle him or complain to the manager. And that’s exactly the idle response Stein is expecting from us – and he’ll get it.

    LOL- you’re offended at classism. “Why is he faulting us about enjoying a few samosas in a less than posh restaurant!! Waah” Something tells me if you got muggged: beaten, had your wallet and watch stolen, and the mugger called you an ashole as he left, you would be hung up on being called an ashole. Talk about missing the big picture. Gosh darnit- yes we wear too much cologne, and most of the other Indians are stupid to the point of inviting poverty, and yes we don’t fit in (and don’t try), but gosh darnit — we have insecurity at not being portrayed as consumers of upmarket too!

  8. “It is not surprising to me that Abhi doesn’t see the remarks as particularly offensive. He grew up in Michigan. I am familiar with the culture of Michigan/Minnesota/Wisconsin, et cetera. These are white majority states. Humor such as this is very common and may be hard to spot because it is practically ubiquitous”

    While Abhi may not find this particular article offensive (which is completely his prerogative), please don’t blanket the entire Midwest into a group of South Asians who will allow ignorant and racist non-South Asians to get away with shit like this. I grew up in Michigan and attend the University of Michigan, where we have an extremely active group of South Asian students who work to prevent bigotry like this. If you had any idea of the culture of Michigan, obviously you would know that South Asians don’t sit back and allow racial “humor” to just happen because we live in a white majority state.

  9. I’m going to say something a bit controversial but given the nature of this thread, I suppose that won’t be a problem. I am going to engage in massive stereotyping, so brace yourself (and for those wanting to scream hypocrisy, I can explain why it isn’t)

    I brought up the incident of Halle Berry; that is not the best example, but it is an example. If you observe the behavior of the Jewish community, and don’t be deceived- they are highly organized, what they have learned from centuries of living amongst white people is that they have to constantly set boundaries. Why? The West is aggressive and opportunistic to the same degree that the East is consensus-oriented. The notion of a soft target is far more relevant amongst white people. Its why Rumsfield would say, “Weakness is provocative”. It is. To them. What the Jewish community has done is progressively set these boundaries further and further out to the point that whites understand very clearly that if they get to thinking about insulting Jews in any fashion, they will pay in one way or another (it might be being compelled to apologize, it might be losing your job, etc.) And it has worked. It hasn’t worked due to magic or chance, but rather to organized action based around central principles- the most basic of which is – if you don’t set boundaries with white people, expect to be demeaned, ridiculed, attacked, humilliated, and generally thought less of than if you asserted yourself and stood up. You don’t stand up violently, but you do hold them to account and take action. Basic assertiveness.

    Indians haven’t learned this. The very same Indian nerds in school who were pushed into walls growing up and who, lacking a constructive way to deal with, simply ignored it and grew up to be scientists now often lead our community and, having not learned anything outside their field of specialty, hope to employ the same “denial” techniques against attacks at them and their community in adulthood. It won’t work. It has never worked. Instead, embarrassed of their refusal to be assertive, they fall back into complacency and justifying lack of action and even to taking offense as a higher virtue of maturity. We are better off examining the practices of communities who HAVE succeeded at pushing back at prejudice, then relying on faulty instincts.

  10. i am embarrassed to think that this was published in ‘TIME’…but then maybe this is their ploy to get publicity any which way..this guy is an insipid, sad, white cockroach..we should put a red dot on him to give him some color..he wishes Edison was crime-infested with the likes of him rather than have some hard-working (oh, no!!!) Indians bring some economy back into the neighborhood…i remember Edison being run-down and creepy; perhaps during the time when the likes of Mr. Stein was shoplifting, etc…so he rather have good ole’ scrawny white kids running around and being ‘cute’ miscreants than see a brown face…got it.

  11. jagr721,

    What you said is not controversial, it is nonsensical. The reason Berry apologized so quickly is because Jews are prominent in show-business, and that is what she works in. If Berry was saying the same joke at a gathering of hunters, the joke may still fall flat, but there would be less of a rush to apologize because there are probably fewer Jews are hunters.

    As for the rest – ask the Chinese, Japanese & Koreans if they settle their matters through consensus. Sri Lanka’s civil war did not end through negotiation. Asia’s history is extremely violent (remember Partition?)

    As for the idea that stereotyping or mocking Indians carries no penalty – Exhibit A – George Allen.

  12. Racial insensitivity is fair game in my mind as long as its funny. Unfortunately for Stein he isn’t funny.

    Yoga Fire,

    I have written your letter to Stein below:

    Please Suh, i couldnt help but notice your column about indians was on the mark about us looking like guidos and slapping on too much cologne. also we have made a mess of things in edison- especially how ugly and charmless place has become. sorry about that!!! but i also noticed you being a tad bit racially insensitive, if i can say that, and i apologize in advance if i have gone too far, but i don’t have a problem with that per-se, just wondering if you could perhaps make the racist humor funnier, you know. not just funny but ha-ha funny. then we are square in my book. thanks in advance- yoga fire

  13. The reason Berry apologized so quickly is because Jews are prominent in show-business, and that is what she works in.

    No, its not because the majority of people in Hollywood are Jews, but that the Jews in Hollywood would take action based on the offense, and not write it off, ignore it, or waste all day on a commenting thread. The only point I was making was that a verbal sanction is meaningless unless there is some motive force behind it.

    (remember Partition?)

    No I don’t since I wasn’t alive. But I read about it, and about the British role behind it. I never said Asians weren’t violent, genius. I said that in everyday interactions, in basic social behavior, there are different standards amongst Indians and Western white people. They are comfortable with dishing it out, taking it, and giving it right back. It requires thicker skin and more assertiveness. That’s all.

    As for the idea that stereotyping or mocking Indians carries no penalty – Exhibit A – George Allen.

    George Allen lost because liberal and moderate whites found the offense so blatant, they couldn’t ignore it. Indians pat ourselves on the back for the Allen incident when we were merely spectators. The POINT is for all the subtler forms of prejudice that don’t involve someone YELLING a slur, we can’t rely on the majority population to stand up for ourselves. And Stein’s column falls into that category.

  14. I’d guess the “inappropriate roof” would be the standard Pizza Hut roof, which looks kind of odd on anything other than a Pizza Hut no matter what color you paint it. (I’m guessing here, not having seen that particular Pizza Hut in the last 20 years. But there’s a converted Pizza Hut a mile from here with the standard roof and it has looked rather odd ever since the place stopped being a Pizza Hut.)

    That said, his entire rant is burningly out of touch. I grew up down the road in Piscataway and also graduated in 1989 so I know a bit about how it was back then. So it was hardly shocking to hear that Edison now has a large Indian population with gasp shops to cater to the “new” demographic. You see, Piscataway, just down the road, has had a significant Indian population since at least the 1970s. On the other side of Edison, Iselin has had a large number of Indian-oriented shops since at least the late 1980s. (I can’t speak to the demographics; the stores were little more than interesting scenery on the way to Woodbridge Mall.)

    So either Mr. Stein really is as stupid as he appears or he’s “just” terribly blind to the world around him.

  15. Wow. Well I live in a part of Michigan that has a ton of Indians for most of my life and don’t understand what the big deal is. This kind of shit happens all the time. Sometimes people like to say that “Ram doesn’t exist”, sometimes people make movies about stoners, sometimes people make ridiculous movies about Kali Ma, and sometimes they do stuff like this.

    I just don’t understand why a rant like this was even necessary. It almost seems disingeuous.

    I mean the guy was making of Hindu Gods and Guindians and Anna jumps up and gets offended. Really? I find that difficult to believe even if it is typed in caps lock.

    Joel Stein has written controversial pieces before. That’s what he does. New Jersey was part of the joke and he even makes references to himself stealing. How is that cover? He clearly did not mean this as a bigoted piece of writing.

  16. jagr721,

    I said that in everyday interactions, in basic social behavior, there are different standards amongst Indians and Western white people. They are comfortable with dishing it out, taking it, and giving it right back. It requires thicker skin and more assertiveness. That’s all.

    Right, that is why lines and traffic are so orderly in India, while in the U.S. line-cutting is the norm and no one bothers to observe red lights.

    If you want to argue that Indians should be less accommodating to having their culture lampooned, then make that argument. Don’t put forth some phoney-baloney sociological explanation for why it is so. If you want to go that route, look up books that reference the Hindu rate of growth,

    George Allen lost because liberal and moderate whites found the offense so blatant

    There was nothing blatant about it, since no one knew what a macaca was. He lost because Indian-American groups would not let the issue just go away. Allen had no history of saying anything critical of Indians, yet that lack of bad blood did not inhibit IA’s from giving him hell.

  17. It was funny. Although, not quite as funny as when Russell Peters openly makes fun of Chinese people by taaalking rike dis though.

  18. An incomplete taxonomy of Western satire:

    Great satire: Sinclair Lewis, Evelyn Waugh, Tom Sharpe, PG Wodehouse OK satire: Dave Barry

    Stein’s piece’s satirical merit does not even put it on the board. Its failure goes beyond the ending of clauses with prepositions (seriously, how can someone write some of those sentences and not cringe?). While reading the article, I wasn’t particularly offended––even if the author is put off by the slack-and-teva combo that he sees in Edison, he’ll let Raj, who, just like him, wears deodorant and drinks Smirnoff Ice, attend poker night, right? The self deprecation was a nice gesture, but not enough to make up for the author’s ability to find humor in his classmate terrorizing middle-aged women and children (were pogroms that funny? His Judaism serves as nice collateral, but making fun of Jews is so tired!). What rankles me the most is that this person is paid handsomely to write this sort of sloppy, insincere drivel. I had no clue who he was until this giant uproar.

    The cultural jibes are unremarkable. Remarks about “spicy food” do not register with me as far as humor or offense are concerned.

    Also, in the end, satire should be used for the greater good, not to whine about there being no “there there”. Indians (for example, the whisky-drinking sophisticate who still holds onto caste prejudice) are, in reality, great fodder for satirization by someone knowledgeable and sincere. What is the goal Stein is arguing for? “End Indian immigration to Edison?” He doesn’t do it too well.

  19. I just don’t understand why a rant like this was even necessary. It almost seems disingeuous.

    Back it up, Elroy. If you’re going to call me out for being disingenuous, have the decency to describe why.

    Disingenuous is one of my favorite words, so I don’t take your leveling of it lightly. It means “Not noble”, “dishonorable”, “undignified”, “unworthy”, “artificial” and “deceptive”, among other things. So do explain exactly how I or my post are any or all of those things, when you don’t even know me.

    I mean the guy was making of Hindu Gods and Guindians and Anna jumps up and gets offended. Really? I find that difficult to believe even if it is typed in caps lock.

    Yes, really. Why is it so difficult for you to believe that the co-founder of a site– whose very creation was inspired by stories of discrimination– would find this offensive?

  20. Don’t put forth some phoney-baloney sociological explanation for why it is so. If you want to go that route, look up books that reference the Hindu rate of growth,

    There is a sociological explanation for it. Are you that stupid to assume all cultures are the same? Don’t answer that (read Sowell’s take on cultural capital instead) The behavior that may have worked in India will not work in America. New society, new rules.

    There was nothing blatant about it, since no one knew what a macaca was. He lost because Indian-American groups would not let the issue just go away. Allen had no history of saying anything critical of Indians, yet that lack of bad blood did not inhibit IA’s from giving him hell.

    No one knew what a macaca was?! I am laughing so much, I am composing myself here to try to type this. Allen really used some stealthy, dog-whistle racially coded language there! Very subtle indeed! LOL. I follow politics and about a hundred Dem blogs talked about this right after it happened – needing no provocation by Ind-Am groups. Again, for blatantly idiotic and obvious racial slurs — the majority doesn’t need any organized action to spring into action. They are attuned to overt racism and squash it like a bug. That is PRECISELY why racism and bigotry have become less obvious and masked in more subtle forms of hostility…that is…more like Joel Stein’s.

  21. That paragraph about the not-so-bright people almost had me really heated up. Then I remembered having been to the garden state once, and realized that the number of geniuses of ANY race who would willingly relocate to New Jersey must be vanishingly small.

  22. This was a stupid attempt at humor by Joel Stein.

    But I just wish the same anger being shown here in the comments, the South Asian community would have at the south asian honor killings in Toronto, or the young South Asian men in Vancouver behind the gay hate crimes giving the whole community a bad name, the over 10 000 plus young women in India who married desi men in the west only to have the men use them to get money for a dowry and then divorce them and ruining the lives of many young girls.

    Heck Faisal Shahzad did not get as many angry comments on this website a couple of months ago, then Joel Stein is getting right now.

  23. Heck Faisal Shahzad did not get as many angry comments on this website a couple of months ago, then Joel Stein is getting right now.

    What does Shahzad have to do with the price of gold in Denmark, or the writing ability of a well-paid columnist for Time?

  24. “1) There was no “humor” tag on this post. It wasn’t an “attempt” at anything. Joel Stein was the one who made the “attempt at humor”, not me.”

    sorry, i automatically assumed that this was an attempt at a response in the same vein as the TIME article – feeble humour. but you’re right, there was no “humor” tag, and this guy really needs to be taken seriously and responded to in all seriousness.

    oh, and Russell Peters is booooooorrrrriiinnnnng. had to get that off my chest.

  25. That paragraph about the not-so-bright people almost had me really heated up. Then I remembered having been to the garden state once, and realized that the number of geniuses of ANY race who would willingly relocate to New Jersey must be vanishingly small.

    Rakesh,

    I understand where you’re coming from and your joke was actually reasonably funny. But I think we should resist the temptation to try to laugh along with Stein when as the butt of the joke, we are being laughed at.

  26. There is a sociological explanation for it. Are you that stupid to assume all cultures are the same? Don’t answer that (read Sowell’s take on cultural capital instead) The behavior that may have worked in India will not work in America. New society, new rules.

    You fail to show that Indian have not adopted to their new society. Indeed, Indians in the U.S. seem to quickly discard old world notions of who can eat off of which plates, who is the proper person to clean the bathroom, quickly abandon culinary and alcohol restrictions. The only reason you have not seen Indians react more forcefully to Stein-like idiocies is because they are rare, and usually limited to a dimwit politician, lonely blogger, or a guy who shares his thoughts on a bathroom wall. Stein is eliciting this reaction because it is Time magazine, not High Times.

    No one knew what a macaca was?

    That’s right. Look back – the first couple of days was spent simply trying to figure out what the word meant. In the rich vocabulary of racial slurs, macaca is not an American word. It is an import from French North Africa, courtesy of Allen’s mother’s side of the family. If Allen said the less common kaffir or schwartze, he would have been quickly called about because there are still enough people in the U.S. who know those words.

  27. Isn’t it usually college newspapers where some closeted racist asshole decides to vent everything under the guise of “it was satire – CAN’T YOU GUYS TAKE A JOKE!?!” I gave up reading Time some time ago and this just validates my decision.

    Great smackdown and it was not too long, too impassioned or anything but just right.

  28. KXB – we are off on a tangent, taking the unscenic route to oblivion. I’ve debated these side-issues to my satisfaction, and I think you have as well. As I said, we Ind-Am’s have a wonderful knack for getting sidetracked.

  29. KXB – we are off on a tangent, taking the unscenic route to oblivion. I’ve debated these side-issues to my satisfaction, and I think you have as well. As I said, we Ind-Am’s have a wonderful knack for getting sidetracked.

    Agreed.

  30. >Racial insensitivity is fair game in my mind as long as its funny. Unfortunately for Stein he isn’t funny. Yoga Fire, I have written your letter to Stein below: Please Suh, i couldnt help but notice your column about indians was on the mark about us looking like guidos and slapping on too much cologne. also we have made a mess of things in edison- especially how ugly and charmless place has become. sorry about that!!! but i also noticed you being a tad bit racially insensitive, if i can say that, and i apologize in advance if i have gone too far, but i don’t have a problem with that per-se, just wondering if you could perhaps make the racist humor funnier, you know. not just funny but ha-ha funny. then we are square in my book. thanks in advance- yoga fire

    And with this Abhi and I have been lumped into the same side of an argument.

    We’ve gone through the looking glass here people.

  31. But I think we should resist the temptation to try to laugh along with Stein when as the butt of the joke, we are being laughed at.

    I don’t really mind being laughed at by morons. Being morons, their opinions don’t carry much weight with me. Why are you letting them get to you?

  32. I don’t think Stein is a racist so much as he’s an unfunny hack.

    What he’s trying to do, as evidenced by the “I understand how people in Arizona feel” is trying to empathize with teabaggers. What Stein’s column shows, since I doubt he’s ever had an original thought in his life, is how everybody in the media feels compelled somehow to “understand” the new racism. Stein assumes that teabaggism is “normal” for America. So he sucks up to it.

    In some ways this makes it worse. If only the hardcore racists are writing columns like this, then American is probably still a more or less tolerant place. But when unoriginal hacks like Stein feel somehow compelled to prove how “normal” they are by race baiting, that means that the cancer has metasticized pretty far.

  33. I know this is a bit off the subject, but I was born in Arizona 60 years ago. So a few facts are in order. Arizona did not become a state until 1912. Prior to that, Arizona, like major swaths of the US, including Texas, New Mexico, California belonged to Mexico. Needless to say, previously to that Mexico and the entire US and Canada belonged to aboriginal peoples. About 25% of the land area in Arizona is reservation land.We white people are the interlopers of the entire country. For all of my childhood, I grew up in parallel with the Mexican culture, eating tacos, enjoying all of it. Many Mexican-American persons in Arizona at the time of statehood held property, elected office, judgeships, etc. Some of their descendants attended school with me. Most of the white people in Arizona are transplants, very few of us were born in the state. For Joel to say that he knows how the people of Arizona feel is a hugely grotesque statement about the entitlement of white interlopers, and I weep for my country and my former home state that it has come to this.

  34. is trying to empathize with teabaggers

    He’s an edgy Jewish liberal writing for Time. The last thing he’d want to be found guilty of doing is empathizing with teabaggers.

    that means that the cancer has metasticized pretty far

    As you likely know, hardcore racists aren’t the problem. They were in the past, today they are largely confined to whining about how a mexican gardener didn’t defer to them sufficiently on Stormfront. Yes, they act occasionally and sometimes brutally but they are background noise to the dominant form of bigotry today which is largely camoflauged as something else such as “satire” leading with “I’m going to be politically incorrect here and say…”.

  35. 121: FACT 1: This article was not racist.

    Hmmm…. I suppose people are entitled to their opinion about what the word ‘fact’ means. :-)

  36. I don’t really mind being laughed at by morons. Being morons, their opinions don’t carry much weight with me. Why are you letting them get to you?

    Stein isn’t a moron. He’s a lot of things but he’s not unintelligent. Some people label others a ‘moron’ the minute they disagree with something they have to say. I’ve always found that to be a cop-out.

    I am letting them get to me? I have enough social awareness to know that unchallenged racial stereotypes, however untrue, in the mainstream press will redound to our disadvantage, and that’s why we ought to confront them. I am in the wrong for doing so? Its not good enough for to say to myself “he’s a moron” and leave it at that when 4M other people are exposed to Stein’s writings, perhaps more with the Internet. The costs of inaction are relatively high even though dismissing it eases your conscience. For instance, when are you and a bunch of your smelly Indian friends going to stink up another joint besides Edison? You already ruined that town with your graceless sweet shops and non-English language movies- depriving the town of whatever “authentic American” culture it once possessed.

    Sound strange to your ear? These attitudes can become prevalent. Don’t kid yourself and think that refusing to take offense to Stein’s column will somehow prevent as much.

  37. That’s what gets me, how unaware of recent history one has to be in this case, a person who appears “Mexican” in Arizona may have family in the area from before the area was even a part of the country, and some dude who got to Arizona yesterday is going to consider if he thinks he’s got reasonable cause to ask for his documents? And if homeboy is out on a jog and didn’t bring his wallet he’s SOL? Is this a wrong reading as to what could result?

  38. That’s what gets me, how unaware of recent history one has to be in this case, a person who appears “Mexican” in Arizona may have family in the area from before the area was even a part of the country, and some dude who got to Arizona yesterday is going to consider if he thinks he’s got reasonable cause to ask for his documents?

    you’re confusing arizona, which doesn’t/didn’t have a large community of pre-mexican american war population of hispanics, which new mexico, which did/does. sorry for being a tool about that, but when criticizing people for being ignorant let’s get the details right.

  39. If he thinks that Edison was run better by white people (back in the day) than by brown people – then yes, I think this hack qualifies as racist. Anna is this was reddit, you would be upvoted.

    If you replaced Indians with another group I’m sure more people would be concerned about it.

    He peaked on best week ever.

  40. FWIW, I’m from central Jersey. I graduated from Rutgers in the 1980s. And I know Edison quite well.

    What strikes me about Edison is how LITTLE its changed from the 1980s. It’s a suburban housing tract bordered by Route 1 and the Turnpike. It’s always been charmless. The shops look almost exactly the same as they did back then. The Indians just took over the already existing strip malls and changed the lettering a bit.

    The only thing that’s really changed is that they’ve closed the Ford assembly plant. Had it not been for the Indians moving into town, the property values would have simply collapsed. They pretty much saved Edison.

  41. Yes new Mexico much more so, but the assumption is its also literally possible in Arizona. I’m willing to be corrected if there is no one in Arizona for whom the above could be true. If that’s the case let me know, it would be something I did not know

  42. A simple FAQ on Joel Stein’s “My Own Private India” http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1999416,00.html

    Q: Is Joel Stein a racist? A: No, he is a bigot. Let’s use the colloquial understanding (rather than stale dictionary definition) of both terms to explain. Colloquially, we consider someone a racist when they harbor ill will towards people of color. They hold views of their own racial superiority. Instead, we may call someone a bigot when they demonstrate uninformed, ignorant opinions, often stereotyped in nature, of other races. They may be fine people otherwise, generally holding “charitable” view towards minorities, often trumpeting their liberal credentials. Nonetheless, they are not above demeaning racial stereotypes. Joel Stein fits into this category.

    Q: Was “My Own Private India” funny? A: Measuring something intangible and subjective like humor is for the most part, fruitless. Oh sure you could say that Chris Rock tends to be funnier than Sinbad or Dane Cook. But is there any point of debating whether or not Sinbad is funny? The good thing in this case is that whether or not Stein was funny is besides the point. We can discuss the merits of the stereotypes he used, independent of whether or not the content was humorous, well written, intelligent, etc.

    Q: Why was Stein’s commentary bigoted or offensive? A: Criticism centers around his assertion that later Indian immigrants are more representative of all Indians as a people. He characterized them as stupid and perhaps their backwards nature explains why India is impoverished. Most would disagree that India’s poverty stems from the inherent stupidity of its people; some would trace it to colonialism and other factors.

    Q: There was NOTHING bigoted or offensive about Stein’s piece. A: Denial is not argumentation. If you weren’t offended by certain speech, that doesn’t mean the piece isn’t offensive or bigoted. For example, you may simply be tone-deaf or conflict averse. Or you may be a math whiz who has the emotional intelligence of a lemur. People have described why Stein’s comments about Indian lack of intelligence leading to poverty are bigoted. They have explained how it is a demeaning stereotype based on an untruth and a simplistic generalization. If you disagree, as an adult would tell a child, use your words and explain why so. Telling people to “move on”, “grow up”, “stop being sensitive”, “stop making mountains over mole hills” are all intellectually challenged attempts to avoid debate.

  43. unless they actually call us a macacca – and at that point, we hardly need any rallying.

    Actually, according to the stated definition of ‘Racism’ referring to someone as ‘Macaca’ (or more accurately ‘pretending to think someone’s name is macaca’) is not precisely ascribing racial superiority or inferiority to anyone. So, I guess it must not be racism.

    Heck, I am sure it even counts as thigh-slapping humour among some old boys – which long familiarity with said old boys is necessary to appreciate.

    Maybe it was just that it was said by a Republican – and not a certified Time humorist – that spared all the outrage from being a ‘whiny rant’.

    (Better stop before the ‘comments policy’ comes into force ;-) )

  44. OK, I don’t feel this needs to be justified, but as of the 2000 census 27.9% of Arizona population was Hispanic, with 64.3% of these native-born citizens. Add to the bucket tons of the brown skinned native people, who will be treated the same way. Don’t forget, shortly after 9/11 a Sikh gas station owner was murdered for being one of those “ragheads.” The racists don’t really care about any of the details, brown skin is enough.

  45. ANNA – I find it somewhat disingenuous because it seems like faux outrage over something that doesn’t even matter. Maybe its the proportion that confuses me the most.

    Indians and Hindus are made fun of in many, many ways, but no one (and rightfully so) lifts a finger for it and now, a guy, who clearly is not a racist makes a funny (yes, I said it) article about how Indians saved Edison from becoming a ghost town and you have to write a giant rant about it?

    1) He is self-deprecating. I don’t see this as a cover for anything. If you read his other articles, he is consistently so. He refers himself as stealing from stores previously but people not doing so from Indian stores. Why is that a bad thing?

    2) “In the 1990s, the not-as-brilliant merchants brought their even-less-bright cousins, and we started to understand why India is so damn poor.”

    Yeah, okay – its not exactly nice. But its a joke – can you take one? Why the hell are people bringing up post-colonialwhogivesashit when he’s clearly making a joke about the reality that India is poor.

    3) I’m not sure what kind PC utopia you live in, but people do use derogatory terms to refer to other races quite a bit. Like he said, Dothead really isn’t that bad. And he insulted the school system and called the kids stupid. I don’t see where the outrage is coming from?

    This kind of reaction is reminiscent of all the Muslims who get offended over everything and can’t take a joke. I mean is anybody really offended by this? Don’t people like Arundhati Roy and Aravind Adiga say the same things about cows and people shitting in the streets, and people mindlessly worshiping idols, blah blah blah…

    Like I said… its disproportionate faux outrage. It’s not racism.

  46. @286:

    Actually I find that mocking ignorance works better than whining about being disrespected. If you have to go around begging for respect you sure as hell aren’t going to get it. At best you’re going to have people walking on egg-shells to spare your delicate feelings, but that’s not what respect looks like.

  47. 866 550 6934 I just called Time Magazine and told them what I think, maybe we all should.

  48. This kind of reaction is reminiscent of all the Muslims who get offended over everything and can’t take a joke.

    Let’s make a deal then.

    If Helen Thomas gets her job back, I’ll stop being offended by Stein. Didn’t they pretty much say the same thing?

  49. “Yeah, okay – its not exactly nice. But its a joke – can you take one?”

    Why in the hell are you saying it for him Keshav? It’s. Not. A. Goddam. Joke. Is not a joke. Should not get a pass as a joke. And parsing the difference between “bigoted” and “racist” is ridiculous. Here’s a guy with white privilege shitting on the town because it’s not the lily white paradise he pretends to remember (if satirically) growing up. He’s not joking. He’s taking a crap on the town and its current (ethnically and racially diverse) population and hiding under the mantle of “it’s just satire, folks!” And the comparison to Arizona just drove that home. Pretending that it’s all about the spicy food (which none of us white folk want to smell OR eat, doncha know!) is part of the game.

    Please don’t let him get away with it.