Meaningless Essays from Kal Penn
Another Journo Offends an entire group of Americans, Editorial Lines Continue toPiss off the world
"Eventually, there were enough Indians in Edison to change the culture. At which point my townsfolk started calling the new Edisonians "dot heads."
This is one of the many insensitive attempts of making light of recent changes to Joel Stein's, writer for Time Magazine, former neighborhood Edison, New Jersey. In "My Own Private India", Stein points out the obvious changes from his old Caucasian Edison, New Jersey to the new majority of first generation Indian and Indian-Americans.
The language in the piece is definitely offensive as Stein wrote, "“Whenever I go back [to Edison], I feel what people in Arizona talk about: a sense of loss and anomie and disbelief that anyone can eat food that spicy.” Since publishing this article last week, Time and Stein have apologized for that piece. Stein took to his twitter account to further apologize and offend, "Didn't meant to insult Indians with my column this week. Also stupidly assumed their emails would follow that Gandhi non-violence thing".
Refuting these remarks is notable Indian-American actor, Kal Penn (yes Kumar from the White Castle film series and former Associate Director for Public Engagement under President Obama), wrote a response for the Huffington Post that really doesn't answer or change much in response to Stein's piece. Penn writes, "Growing up a few miles from Edison, NJ, I always thought it was hilarious when I'd get the crap kicked out of me by kids like Stein who would yell "go back to India, dothead!" I was always ROTFLMAO [Roll on the Floor Laughing My Ass Off] when people would assume that I wasn't American. He really captured the brilliant humor in that one too!" His rebuttal just continues to tirade and even offend Stein's Jewish heritage that leads nowhere the discussion no where.
Penn wrote, "Critics might call Mr. Stein's humor super-tired or as played out as the jokes about that cheap Jewish car that stopped on a dime to pick it up, or that African American kid who got marked absent at night school. Although unlike Stein's Indian American piece, in 2010 those other jokes don't show up in mainstream media like Time Magazine. I wonder why that is..."
This is one of the more high profile pieces in a news magazine within the year that has sparked controversy. "The Runaway General" article in Rolling Stone about Gen. McChrystal got him fired, and "Straight Jacket" in Newsweek commented on gay actors that can't possibly play straight characters -- according to the writer -- from Newsweek and have both sparked similar backlash from the public.
Of course the foremost job of journalists is to inform the public by disseminating information, but can editorials and columns like these two previous pieces positively create debate or continue to offend the public?