SpongeBob' is a 'violent,' 'racist' colonizer, says University of Washington professor

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morvoran

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I know some of you reading this will reply, "Why post this nonsense?" or "How is this important in any way?". Well, just keep in mind that this story is about an article from a University of Washington professor. This is the kind of person who is teaching the people who will be in charge of our country in the near future while, with this mindset, allegedly pushing this type of agenda into those students' minds. This may seem to be a harmless little article expressing an opinion, but just know that young people are easily influenced by people in charge making this a, possibly, very dangerous situation.

I, personally, just see Spongebob as a sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea with his friends living his life as a Krusty Patty flipper. It's true that if he gets behind the wheel of a boat, he can be quite dangerous, but I had never thought he had any underlying motives.

Anyways, I'll just leave this here:

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Source: Here

"SpongeBob SquarePants," which celebrated its 20th anniversary on Friday, has millions of fans around the world, but one University of Washington professor is clearly not among them.

For a recently published academic journal, the professor, Holly M. Barker, wrote an article "Unsettling SpongeBob and the Legacies of Violence on Bikini Bottom," in which she offers a different take on the affable sea sponge.

"SpongeBob Squarepants and his friends play a role in normalizing the settler colonial takings of indigenous lands while erasing the ancestral Bikinian people from their nonfictional homeland," the article reads.

Barker calls SpongeBob's colonization of Bikini Bottom "violent" and "racist," and also claims that the cartoon is guilty of the "whitewashing of violent American military activities" against natives of the Pacific.

Barker's beliefs come from the idea that the show is set in a version of the real-life Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. During the Cold War, natives of the area were relocated and the American military used the zone for nuclear testing.

The area remains uninhabitable to this day. That history has given rise to fans' theory that Bikini Bottom is inhabited by creatures who owe their mutation to that testing.

Barker stated that as an "American character" allowed to inhabit an area that natives had no choice but to leave, SpongeBob showed his privilege of "not caring about the detonation of nuclear bombs."

Barker also points out the cultural appropriation of Pacific culture, with Hawaiian-style shirts, homes in the shapes of pineapples, tikis and Easter Island heads, and the sounds of a steel guitar perpetuating stereotypes of the region.

Even the theme song, according to Barker is problematic, as it denounces the area as one full of "nautical nonsense."

Barker understands that the writers likely didn't have colonization in mind when creating the show, but she's upset by the lack of acknowledgment that "Bikini Bottom and Bikini Atoll were not (the writers') for the taking."

Other issues for Barker: a perceived imbalance between male and female characters, and the name "Bob" representing an everyman rather than a culturally appropriate character

In the article, Barker claims that because of these themes, children have "become acculturated to an ideology that includes the U.S. character SpongeBob residing on another people’s homeland."

The article concludes with this: We should be uncomfortable with a hamburger-loving American community’s occupation of Bikini’s lagoon and the ways that it erodes every aspect of sovereignty.”

The journal in which the article was published is called "The Contemporary Pacific: A Journal of Island Affairs," and it is designed to publish pieces on "social, economic, political, ecological and cultural topics."

A rep for Nickelodeon did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment. Fox News' attempts to reach Tom Kenny -- who voiced SpongeBob Squarepants -- were unsuccessful.
 

billapong

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I stopped watching cartoons decades ago, but most do have underlying mature themes (to keep the adults watching it with their children from going batshit insane). I highly doubt the children watching the cartoons can pick up on the subtleties, but if the main message in each show is targeted at the children then that's a different issue.
 

AshuraZro

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Given its a university prof, I’m not bothered by this. You should be able to freely think and challenge ideas once you’re in university (not being able to would be a greater problem). There are plenty of folks out there on youtube and elsewhere coming up with all sorts of crazy head-canon for shows and other media. This sounds like a thought experiment given far too much credit. If it were high school or grade school I would be far more concerned.
 

guicrith

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Given its a university prof, I’m not bothered by this. You should be able to freely think and challenge ideas once you’re in university (not being able to would be a greater problem). There are plenty of folks out there on youtube and elsewhere coming up with all sorts of crazy head-canon for shows and other media. This sounds like a thought experiment given far too much credit. If it were high school or grade school I would be far more concerned.
I bet she actually believes it, I have met someone in person at a LGBT support group who was angry that Trader Joes was racist and culturaly appropriating for putting "Trader Mings" on there Chinese food packages, that group was just a bunch of these idiots making up victim points and getting them validated by eachother.
These people are actually fully fucking crazy, you cant argue with them because they are like religions zealots(this minority victim crap is like a cult at this point), everything you say is wrong and everything they say is just the word of god so they must be right.
Needless to say I no longer associate with any group the labels themselves as LGBT inclusive because its always this same cult shit, originally thought it meant just be nice and respect each other, that group red pilled me.
 

wiewiec

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I do not like when some people throw ideology to lot of productions, sth. like Disney do with their old films remakes or messing with old Marvel today's adaptations
 

billapong

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I do not like when some people throw ideology to lot of productions, sth. like Disney do with their old films remakes or messing with old Marvel today's adaptations

I'm not sure about you or other people, but when I watch a movie it's for entertainment and not to take stuff too seriously. It's nice to watch a movie with a positive message, but I watch a lot of horror flicks and I've never turned into a serial killer. I take the political messages in movies light heartily. Like the controversy surround Avatar and the message it contained about the environment. It was a nice sentimental message, but it didn't change any of my views.

I'm not sure if any of the Marvel movies convey a message as their stories are so horrid I don't think even if they tried it would work out that well. They are good for watching action scenes, but the story is on par with a Saturday morning cartoon.

Parents were worried about GI Joe and TMNT influencing kids to be violent and overall most people aren't affected in dramatic ways by simple entertainment. Take the Joker movie that was recently released. Certain groups were freaking out like it was the end of the world over a simple movie and nothing that they predicted happened.

I also agree with @AshuraZro that this is a college professor. While college kids do indeed come from a very Liberal school system with Liberal ideas I believe that once they are old enough to go to college they would have the maturity to not be influenced by this sort of college professor turned entertainment critic. However, if this stuff was being taught to grade school kids then just like most of the stuff that isn't reading, writing or arithmetic that they teach our kids these days I would have to include it on my list of stuff that shouldn't be taught to children. School kids could definitively benefit by bringing back teaching independent thinking skills and getting rid of the "everyone wins" crap plus common core (and for Christ sake stop trying to demand students vote for a certain political party and only that political party).
 

billapong

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I bet she actually believes it, I have met someone in person at a LGBT support group who was angry that Trader Joes was racist and culturaly appropriating for putting "Trader Mings" on there Chinese food packages, that group was just a bunch of these idiots making up victim points and getting them validated by eachother.
These people are actually fully fucking crazy, you cant argue with them because they are like religions zealots(this minority victim crap is like a cult at this point), everything you say is wrong and everything they say is just the word of god so they must be right.
Needless to say I no longer associate with any group the labels themselves as LGBT inclusive because its always this same cult shit, originally thought it meant just be nice and respect each other, that group red pilled me.

You don't have to like let alone accept anyone for who they are, especially intolerant groups of people hell bent on manipulating and controlling you for their own personal self interests. Just note that not all members of the group you mentioned are like that, but the majority of the younger ones that I've dealt with, especially the vocal ones that are present online do act like you say and there's nothing wrong with being your own person. What will likely happen anyway is that they tear each other apart from the inside out (which is what their intolerant way of life is going to end up doing to them, well, until they grow up and learn a thing or two).

The decision you made to separate yourself from them was probably the best thing you could have done and hopefully you find some people that aren't hell bent on destroying anyone that doesn't believe the way they do. There's plenty of fine people in this world and you've just manged to identify some that aren't. You shouldn't also feel the need to stay silent about this issue. I know it's taboo to simply point out negative things about the said group, but that just goes to show how intolerant they are and how they manipulate others into getting their own way. Good luck out there.
 
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erikas

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OK so is there anything left thats not racist? I'm pretty sure i could find these kind of arguments to prove that air is racist.
Also is it possible that this is one of those fake articles that they try to get published in order to make academia look bad (it already looks pretty bad tbh)?
 
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trlkly

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Looking at the actual linked abstract of the professor's article, I don't see anything all that unusual--if you are familiar with academia. What we have here is a certain type of academic reading of fiction. The professor is pointing out the underlying cultural messages in a work of fiction, under a particular reading. Such exists in all works of fiction.

What is not present is any threat to students under this professor (who may not even have any students). There's no indication she is teaching this sort of thing in class.

I can't see much purpose in this article or forum post because it would be un-American to remove someone from their job simply for having some weird idea they published that doesn't hurt anyone. We're all about freedom of speech. Imagine if you could get fired for your fan interpretations of fiction. Wouldn't that suck?

While the tone of the article seems to be neutral, the point seems to be to make you angry at this professor, and to pull out the Anger Germs (as CGP Grey calls them). Someone having weird ideas isn't news, but it can get clicks by making people angry.
 
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