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12 Oct, 2019 23:01

‘They’ve come for SpongeBob’: Twitter weirded out by professor calling beloved cartoon character ‘RACIST COLONIZER’

‘They’ve come for SpongeBob’: Twitter weirded out by professor calling beloved cartoon character ‘RACIST COLONIZER’

Who lives in a klavern under the sea? SpongeBob SquarePants, apparently. Beloved by children and stoners the world over, the wacky adventures of the animated sea sponge actually mask a “violent,” “racist” message, one prof claims.

“SpongeBob Squarepants and his friends play a role in normalizing the settler colonial takings of indigenous lands while erasing the ancestral Bikinian people from their nonfictional homeland,” University of Washington anthropology professor Holly M. Barker wrote in her paper called ‘Unsettling SpongeBob and the Legacies of Violence on Bikini Bottom.’

According to Barker, SpongeBob’s residing in the underwater town of Bikini Bottom is disturbingly similar to the US’ use of the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands for nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s. This is based on a fan theory that the real Bikini Atoll was inspiration for the mutated cast of creatures that inhabit the fictional Bikini Bottom.

That’s not all, though. By living there, Barker argues that SpongeBob (isn’t Bob such a terribly white, masculine name?) exercises the privilege of “not caring about the detonation of nuclear bombs.”

The character’s Hawaiian shirts and pineapple-shaped homes? Cultural appropriation. The show’s female lead, Sandy Squirrel: A token female in a world of men. 

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Even the show’s jangly theme song, which promises children a world of “nautical nonsense,” ridicules the indigenous homeland of Bikini Bottom as a “place of nonsense,” Barker continues, without a hint of irony.

Barker gets paid more than $150,000 per year to come up with this – assuming her salary is on par with her fellow University of Washington professors. And academics wonder why people consider them out of touch.

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Barker’s groundbreaking addition to the lexicon of western academia is not her first swipe at the colorful world of Robert the sponge. The prof expounded her theory that Bikini Bottom = Bikini Atoll, in an article for The Conversation last year. This latest effort has earned her considerably more attention, and considerably more ridicule online.

“Watch out Teletubbies,” one commenter wrote. “You’re next.”

While another one suggested that the subject might’ve been picked by spinning the “magic 'everything is racist' wheel.”

Most have been left with a feeling the professor was either talking pants – or had her pants on fire.

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