South Korean Animators Protest Banksy Simpsons Opening... Which They Animated

from the the-simpsons... dept

You may remember the attention paid recently to the Banksy-created opening of the Simpsons, which (among other things) portrayed animators working under sweatshop-like conditions, to produce the cartoon. We had mentioned it after Fox issued a DMCA takedown on the video, which had been uploaded to Banksy's account. I'm not entirely sure what happened, but that YouTube video is back up:
That said, what may be more interesting is this story about how the South Korean animators who did, in fact, animate that opening sequence protested the whole thing, and pushed back until at least some of the sequence was changed. I will admit that my first impression on hearing about it was to think that Banksy confused North Korea with South Korea, and that does appear to be what some others have said as well. While it is true that South Korean animators make less than American animators, it's hardly "sweatshop" conditions. Still, in the end, the animators animated the sequence in question, but are making it known that they don't think the depiction is fair.


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    PopeHilarius (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 9:24am

    I don't think the depiction is 'fair' either, and I don't think any reasonable person would think it's meant to be an accurate portrayal of actual working conditions- humor has always exaggerated the truth in order to reveal it.

     

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      :Lobo Santo (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 10:32am

      Re:

      Of course it's accurate (Won't somebody think of the unicorns!)

      ; P

       

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      Marcus Carab (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 10:55am

      Re:

      Naturally... but the question is if it IS revealing a truth. Obviously the details were frivolous, but was the core message frivolous too?

      Clearly it was trying to convey the fact that a bunch of Koreans suffer to bring westerners their esoteric joys - the "dark underpinnings" of a bright, fun world like the Simpsons.

      Is that true? It has always been my understanding that South Korean animators take their jobs very seriously, that the studios are run by extremely talented people, that a mutual respect exists with the american production houses that hire them, and that the gruntwork of drawing thousands of frames for fairly low pay is simply how you crack into the industry (similar to entry-level jobs in countless other industries in South Korea)

      Now, maybe I'm way off too... I really don't know a lot about the issue - and neither do most people watching the Simpsons. So my question is: did Banksy totally misrepresent the situation? Did he exaggerate to communicate a truth, or did he create an entirely false message with that exaggeration?

       

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    crade (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 10:11am

    The youtube video is back down again :)

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 10:15am

    Interesting

    It's all relative, isn't it?

    What was it Neil Stephenson said many years ago in Snow Crash?

    "... once the Invisible Hand has taken away all those historical inequities and smeared them out into a broad global layer of what a Pakistani brickmaker would consider to be prosperity..."

     

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    weneedhelp (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 10:16am

    Fair, life is not fair, get over it

    Boo fucking who. Im so tired of everyone being such a thin skinned biatch. It was a joke get over it.

     

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      Hephaestus (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 10:23am

      Re: Fair, life is not fair, get over it

      Its this whole stupid Global Political Correctness. You can't make fun of anyone anymore.

       

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        weneedhelp (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 10:26am

        Re: Re: Fair, life is not fair, get over it

        Its really getting out of hand.

         

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        Sean T Henry (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 11:08am

        Re: Re: Fair, life is not fair, get over it

        NO you just need to make fun of every one equally.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 11:18am

        Re: Re: Fair, life is not fair, get over it

        You can still make fun of white people.

         

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          btrussell (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 11:35am

          Re: Re: Re: Fair, life is not fair, get over it

          Yes, but white people laugh at jokes told about them (Newfie jokes, kinda takes the fun out of it.

           

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            Newf, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 12:57pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Fair, life is not fair, get over it

            Reminds me of a joke . ..

            A drunk Newfie was stumbling home one day when he got lost and found himself in the bush. He fell to the ground and noticed a lamp. He picked it up, and rubbed it, and out came a genie.

            "You have three wishes, choose them wisely." says the Genie.

            The Newfie, looking down at his last, and empty, bottle of beer, smashes it on some rocks and says, "I want a beer that will never run out."

            A bottle appears in front of the Newfie. He takes it, looks at it, and downs it. He looks at it again, and to his surprise, it was still full. The Newfie being very content starts walking away.

            "Where are you going," asks the Genie, "You still have two wishes left!"

            "Well," replies the Newfie, "Give me TWO more of these!"

             

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      interval (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 11:06am

      Re: Fair, life is not fair, get over it

      I think you meant "Boo fucking hoo."

       

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    David (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 10:25am

    Get over it!

    It's the Simpsons for goodness sake!!!

     

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      Marcus Carab (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 11:02am

      Re: Get over it!

      Yes, the Simpson's is about comedy, but it has also always been about satire, and it has always featured tackled difficult themes and controversial topics without being afraid to make statements on them. Culturally, it's an extremely powerful force.

      The creators are also very protective of their work. Never before has an outside artist been brought in to work on their opening credits - the extremely iconic opening credits that stood unchanged for 20 years until they were redone in the last season.

      Then they brought in Banksy - a highly controversial artist known for his political statements - and gave him nearly-free reign on designing a couch gag for that sacred credit sequence. That, to me, is a statement of support from the creators for Banksy's message.

      I would be pretty disappointed in The Simpsons creators if they gave such a rare venue over to a misleading message - one that misrepresents the very people they work with to create the show they are so proud of - just for the shock value.

       

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    Bernard, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 10:27am

    If they were that offended or thought the depiction was unfair then its their duty to themselves to not animate it. If it was such a big deal they would of protested. Chicago's Best Guide and Blog

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 10:38am

    Still unsure of your point with this.

    "the country's animators still make one-third the salaries of their American counterparts" -- Simpsons producers pocket the other two-thirds. (And that's after increases: articles has a hint of much lower wages -- besides that it's for *for-hire*, no royalties.)

    Is ONE-THIRD not "sweatshop" enough for you? Or are you just having trouble understanding that the South Korean animators naturally don't want to see themselves as exploited?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 10:43am

      Re: Still unsure of your point with this.

      Do you or do you not understand that all countries do not have equal wages?

      Why the hell do you think Canada pushes to keep its dollar below US parity? Because a lower dollar draws in more US business.

      But I'm sure us poor Canadians feel terribly "exploited" too. How dare those snobby Americans use our cheaper labour to bolster our economy!

       

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        Michael, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 11:30am

        Re: Re: Still unsure of your point with this.

        The only reason we don't consider Canadian operations 'sweat shops' is because it is so cold up there you don't actually sweat.

         

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      crade (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 10:44am

      Re: Still unsure of your point with this.

      "is one-third not sweatshop enough for you?"

      no, the US wages are just over inflated to the point of not being able to compete in the market.

       

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        nasch (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 12:28pm

        Re: Re: Still unsure of your point with this.

        You should run for office! "I promise to bring wages in the US down to a more competitive level." It'll be a landslide!

         

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        out_of_the_blue, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 1:03pm

        Re: Re: Still unsure of your point with this.

        "no, the US wages are just over inflated to the point of not being able to compete in the market"

        This is the inherent contradiction of "capitalism":
        The producers of The Simpsons get TENS OF MILLIONS for doing almost nothing yet you're concerned that the LABOR costs which *actually* produce the products sold are too high.

         

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      Eugene (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 1:21pm

      Re: Still unsure of your point with this.

      Technically, knowing the exact amount is useless if you don't also know the cost-of-living as well

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 3:45pm

      Re: Still unsure of your point with this.

      Yep, one third, and you get also one third of the cost for living in South Korea. Things cost less there.

       

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    interval (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 10:49am

    Of course...

    If the sequence were some kind of indictment against the injustices of American capitalism there wouldn't be an issue. In fact the American left would jump on it as some kind of (although animated) documentary.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 10:51am

    Again, Mike shows you don't have to be Korean to be a blowhard blogger!

    It's great that the Korea subject matter expert, Mike, wrote this article. >8-P

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 11:01am

    I don't see a problem here. It wasn't so important that they quit their jobs over animating it, but it is important enough that they'll add the caveat that they don't agree with its message. That seems perfectly reasonable to me. If one day I come into work and my boss tells me to do something that isn't unethical, but I still don't agree with, you bet I won't /quit/ over it! But, I might express my displeasure with it. I mean, its my right as an employee to complain endlessly about my job! I do it all the time!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 11:24am

    I don't think it's good to make fun of anybody except for totalitarian regimes and Tea Partiers.

    Come to think of it, making fun of anyone that is mentally handicapped is a good thing.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 11:34am

    I don't think it's good to make fun of anybody except for totalitarian regimes and Tea Partiers.

    Come to think of it, making fun of anyone that is mentally handicapped and watches FOX is a good thing.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 11:34am

    fox copyright claim is preventing you from seeing it

    NOT UP

     

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    TtfnJohn (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 11:41am

    I wonder......

    Could we hosers up here in frozen Canada protest loudly enough that we can erase all recollection of a certain song about blaming Canada?

    Hmmmmmm....

    Probably not ;-)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 12:18pm

    Up and Down

    And it is back down again. Did you do this to prove a point Mike? lol

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 2:37pm

    Exactly who is protesting the opening? It sounds like animators:

    "veteran animator Nelson Shin"

    But then reveals

    "The iconic cartoon propelled his production company Akom.."

    So, the owner of the animation studio is objecting that his company is being compared to a sweatshop. I'm sure the owners of all sweatshops objecting to having it pointed out that they run a sweatshop. Of course at least the employees aren't (probably) being exposed to toxic chemicals.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 3:53pm

    I thought the opening was about Chinese sweatshops and not Korean and I also think many others thought the same thing.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 8:17pm

    The SK animation company in question outsources some Simpsons work to an NK animation company.

     

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    RandomGuy (profile), Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 10:22pm

    I find it quite entertaining that the groups getting their feathers ruffled over this intro are the very ones who made/broadcast it.

    Job well done then, Banksy.

     

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    trish, Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 4:09am

    ok...

    this is not supposed to be an accurate depiction of working conditions, do they think people will believe the toys are made of dead rats? come on

     

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