Is Banksy really suggesting The Simpsons is made in an Asian sweatshop?

A city is on the street map when Banksy‘s art defaces it’s walls. He has made his own documentary film, Exit through the Gift Shop, so it was only a matter of time before he tagged the cartoon world.

Heavily blogged, tweeted and shared online since it’s airing in America on Sunday evening, Banksy has directed an intro (or couch-gag) for an episode of the Simpsons and it has been a hot topic all over web-space. Just like the man himself; darkly mysterious and yet in your face, some love it and some hate it. For me, it further confirms that street art’s Andy Warhol has taken another step into the world of a sell-out. Ironic applause.

Watch it here:
Banksy had already confirmed his love for the show with this piece of 2008 Graff in New Orleans. Two years later and he had his name all over Springfield.

I must not copy the Simpsons

The classic intro is easy enough to dissect; Banksy’s tag all over Springfield as anti social behaviour occurs, with typical Banksy humour everywhere.

What is more difficult to dissect is the minute long sequence in an Asian sweatshop, as the production line of character dolls and dvd’s are made by a production line of children and animals.

Banksy was supposedly inspired by reports that some US cartoons have been manufactured in North Korea. I think he has read No Logo one too many times and is preaching the contents like Klein herself. How would the American people feel about one of it’s most successful brands being manufactured in the same place that it’s government believes also makes nuclear weapons? Most toys and promotional merchandise have been outsourced to Asia for years, so they probably won’t give a shit as long as the dollar is strong and the kids are entertained.

Reports, from Banksy himself, suggest that ‘his storyboard led to delays, disputes over broadcast standards and a threatened walk out by the animation department’. Being an animator is tough. It can be boring, and outsiders have no idea the length of time it can take to make the simplest of sequences. I can see that animators would be pissed off at taking orders from a man hiding behind a green curtain who was not only making a joke but also politically questioning their hard work. Part of me wonders if he actually directed it, or if it was just a PR collaboration.

I find it bizarre that the executives at 20th Century Fox gave it the green light, with the final sequence openly mocking how entertainment is produced.  The allegations that America’s most loved show is not in-fact all American must not have been taken seriously otherwise I doubt that the storyboard would have made it off paper. This interview with The Simpson’s executive producer, Al Jean, says it all. It is a clever and forward thinking move from 20th Century Fox knowing that controversy = publicity. It works for Simon Cowell/Gamu. I would not be surprised that when ‘MoneyBart’ is aired in the UK on the 21st October the Simpsons will get a larger audience share thanks to the Banksy trailer.

As for Banksy, he will remain a caricature in everyone’s imaginations, and is no doubt laughing at us all repeatedly uttering his name with amazement at his latest work.

UPDATE: As you can see, the above Youtube video as posted by Banksy’s PR company has been removed due to a copyright claim by Twentieth Century Fox. A clip of the final sequence is available below, but I think this will also only be up for a short amount of time.


One thought on “Is Banksy really suggesting The Simpsons is made in an Asian sweatshop?

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