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Hawaii steamed about late-night parody

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Hawaii's lieutenant governor and some tourism personnel were upset with a "Saturday Night Live" skit on March 14 that parodied locals' attitude toward tourists.

The skit (which can be viewed below) starred cast member Fred Armisen and guest host Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as entertainers at a Kauai hotel. They go from table to table, intermittently singing and making wisecracks at the tourists.

During one part of the skit, Johnson's character said Hawaii's biggest export was coffee, and that its biggest import was "fat, white tourists."

Incidentally, Johnson is of Polynesian heritage (his mother is Samoan).

According to a USA Today report, Hawaii Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona said he was concerned that the skit could scare people away from Hawaii, and that he would send a letter in protest to Lorne Michaels, Saturday Night Live's longtime executive producer.

Aiona said the skit "went too far in its negative depiction of Hawaii's native people and tourism industry."

Hawaii politicians and tourism executives likely are more sensitive than usual because the state’s tourism industry is taking a beating because of the recession. But they should lighten up; SNL has been satirizing individuals and groups of people for years.

While this particular skit perhaps was more cruel than humorous, I think Hawaii made a bigger deal about it than it should have. This kind of protest generally serves to draw more attention to the thing being protested, and thus defeats the purpose.

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