American Greeks Are Getting Triggered By the Portrayal of Greek Mythology on ‘Krapopolis’
A Greek-American organization has condemned Dan Harmon’s animated ancient Greek comedy Krapopolis for bastardizing Greek mythology. They’re going to lose their skata when they hear what the Romans did.
The literal pantheon of Ancient Greek gods and goddesses has been the plaything of non-Greek artists and storytellers since the invention of the stage play — an invention for which the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association takes full credit. Following the recent release of Krapopolis, a Fox show set in Ancient Greece featuring humans, gods and monsters from the culture’s mythology, the AHEPA, a fraternal organization for Greek Americans, took umbrage with Harmon’s take on the defining mythology of Western civilization while many Americans with Greek ancestry take to Twitter to demand that Fox censure Harmon and take the triggering series off the air.
This week, AHEPA president Savas C. Tsivicos sent an open letter to Jean Guerin, executive vice president of Fox Entertainment, writing, “We find (Krapopolis) demeaning to the contributions gifted to Western Civilization by the ancient Greeks,” adding, “These contributions, which also include the arts, architecture and sciences; and ideals, which include notion of democracy and right of self-governance, inspired academicians, playwrights and scientists; and revolutionaries, including our nation’s founding fathers, across centuries.”
Tsivicos forgot to mention one key Greek cultural contribution that seems all-too-apt in the wake of his essay-length whine/brag — the concept of “hubris.”
“We strongly believe Krapopolis crosses a line that is offensive to our community, and perhaps others as well,” Tsivicos continued in his strongly-worded self-aggrandizing and grievance-airing. “Our aim is to have a constructive dialogue with the network and hopefully the show’s producers to explore if there’s a path forward.”
The AHEPA reported on their own president’s open letter in a press release that sneak-dissed Krapopolis for how it “opened to mixed reviews from the entertainment industry,” also noting that their leader “has requested a meeting with Guerin to discuss the Greek American community’s concerns and potential harmful implications of Krapopolis.” The damage, however, has already been done as Greek Americans across the internet have decried the depiction of fictional figures created by people who died over two millennia ago as racist and appropriative.
Some incensed Twitter users have equated the depiction of Greek mythological characters by non-Greek actors with the outrage over non-white actors playing characters of color, asking Fox and the Krapopolis creators, “Was it a deliberate decision to set a cartoon in Ancient Greece and not cast a single Greek actor to play any part? Are you racist against Greeks?” with another writing, “Nobody needs to be told lies and misrepresent Greek culture. This series is very wrong and it should be deleted and compensate the Greek government for any profits.”
Back here in reality, talented American entertainers with Greek heritage continue to find success in every corner of TV comedy — giants like Tina Fey, Hank Azaria, Jennifer Aniston, John Stamos and Zach Galifianakis have dominated the medium for decades. And, as Tsivicos pointed out so loquaciously, the stories of the Ancient Greeks are so deeply ingrained in Western culture that it’s near-impossible to make any project that doesn’t have some distant connection to the tales of Mount Olympus. As for questions of inaccuracy to the original stories, that, too, is an inescapable consequence of constant retelling over so many centuries — as anyone who has seen Disney’s Hercules can attest.
Put simply, the continuous retelling and repackaging of stories from Greek mythology by non-Greek artists had been happening for dozens of centuries before the internet learned the phrase “cultural appropriation,” and Greek Americans have had no trouble putting their own stamp on contemporary televised comedy. Instead of stoking outrage, perhaps the AHEPA could learn to take a joke as well as they take credit for all of civilization.