Converting Bart to Badr : Reviving Cultural Imperialism in The Simpsons

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Shahreen Mat Nayan Beverly Natividad


This study concerns the Arabized version of The Simpsons in the context of the debate on Cultural Imperialism. Renamed Al Shamshoon, the satirical comedy was translated and given an Islamic flavor to attract its Arab audience. Despite efforts
to localize the cartoon, Al Shamshoon flopped. Concurrently, despite coming under fire in the 90s, scholars such as Gray (2007), Harindranath (2003), and Tomlinson (2003) have called for reestablishing Cultural Imperialism. The legitimacy of Cultural Imperialism decreased due to developments of the Active Audience Theory, which challenged Cultural Imperialism’s argument that local audiences internalize western ideologies that the global media disseminate. Gray (2007), Harindranath (2003), and Tomlinson (2003) argue that this theory remains significant because it does not only
critique the global media effects on local cultures, but also the political and economic disparities between developed and developing nations. This is because, developed nations continue to dominate mass media ownership globally, thereby controlling the flow and content of media production. In this essay, we argue that while the active audience is capable of resisting western ideologies, their resistance to western influence is not all-encompassing. Cultural domination occurs in various forms.


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MAT NAYAN, Shahreen; NATIVIDAD, Beverly. Converting Bart to Badr : Reviving Cultural Imperialism in The Simpsons. Malaysian Journal of Media Studies, [S.l.], v. 15, n. 2, p. 17-26, aug. 2017. ISSN 2231-8143. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 04 july 2020.