Friday, March 24, 2006

Superhuman stereotypes

In the wake of all the hoo-ha about the prophet Mohammed cartoons, the Cartoon Network has just begun airing a clever new superhero series called 'Minoriteam' where all the characters are extreme racial stereotypes. Someone is bound to get their knickers in a twist.

With touches of 70s cop shows the Minoriteam are like Marvel superheroes, but instead of Spider-man and Silver Surfer you get Non-Stop, an Indian convenience store owner so named because of his long hours. He's immune to all forms of live ammunition having absorbed so much lead in store hold-ups.

Other characters on the show are the leader Dr Wang, the Chinese Human Calculator who, like Professor X in the X-Men, is also wheelchair-bound. He of course also owns and operates a laundrette.

There's Fasto, an African-American man who is known as "the fastest man that ever was". He has great sexual prowess and in one scene satisfies a whole room full of Thai hookers in seconds. In real life he is a professor of women's studies.

Then there's the Jewish guy. Known as Jewcano, a man with the powers of the Jewish faith and a volcano. He gets his special powers from chasing a special nickel. In real-life he dates tall black women and loves soul food.

It has a ring of 'South Park' about it, but, you know, with superheroes, so there is bound to be trouble.

As yet there is no Muslim character, but you could imagine it would be, alongside the Jew and African American, a tempting target to poke fun at. Some people started getting hot under the collar when they mistakenly identified convenience store loving Non-Stop character as Middle Eastern and there for possibly Muslim. Non-stop, simply wouldn't have the time for all the praying. Joke.

For conspiracy theorists the bad guy is the White Shadow, leader of a clan of supervillains whose head in the shape of the Illuminati Pyramid that also appears on the back of $1 bills.

It's a really fun idea that seems to be as someone put it out to save the world from bigotry one joke at a time. Sounds like a job for superheroes.


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