Zachary BrownWo…

Posted on October 6, 2012 by


Zachary Brown

World Religions

October 5th 2012


Critical Commentary


The recent issue that I have come across within the last week is of US TV show host Steven Colbert with his depiction of Hindus. Now this mainly “political” based show Colbert often makes jokes, uses sarcasm, and witty remarks about what is talked about around the world and the US.  Yet in this episode aired sometime in late September, Colbert happened to be talking about all of the diversity around us as far as race, and types of religion. While listing off this list of different diverse groups, he also happened to be showing pictures along with it. When he got the picture for when he said Hindus, instead of showing realistic pictures of the groups like he did for all of the other ones Colbert decided to show a picture of these small furry creatures that are jumping and running around in the woods.

After watching and reading about this incident, I thought that what Colbert was doing was trying to add in humor to his comments and actions like he always does in every show. At the same time though, my perspective not only was of him trying to be a funny TV host, but was that Colbert may have shown some bias towards Hindus because they were the only ones out of the group to have an unrealistic picture with it. However, since he did put that picture up he could have been hinting that he thinks they are animals or that he doesn’t like that culture or religion. This “jab” at the Hindus though was not unnoticed by Hindus, proving that what Colbert may have thought it was discreet but really was noticed by many who took offence to it. One reason why this was such a big deal to Hindus in my analysis was because of the six realms of being.

In Word Religion class during our Hinduism unit we talked about the six different realms of being that are part of the faith, animals, gods, demi gods, ghosts, humans, and hell beings. When thinking about the picture Colbert put up when he got to the group of Hindus, it made me think that is if Colbert was not trying to be disrespectful then Colbert may have just been miss informed about the detail on the religion of Hinduism. With these six realms of beings, it is thought of as the beings of gods, demi gods, and humans are good, while being an animal, hell being, and a ghost are bad. So possibly Colbert may have just inadvertently called Hindus animals thinking that it would be funny when really it turns out to be very disrespectful.  

This “disrespect” is weighed differently from person to person though, and thinking about Zed who is the President of Universal Society of Hinduism asking Colbert to apologize to the world is very bold. With the disrespect that Zed felt was there, I think that yes it could have been to many others but if one man who has “the say” for all Hindus does he really have the majority vote for what Hindus find disrespectful coming from a comedian on comedy central? Colbert was just doing his job too, so should he be responsible for a joke that he made trying to improve his ratings?


These opinions expressed within this critical commentary are only those of Zachary Brown.






Posted in: Uncategorized