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Race cards: Ashton Kutcher in light brownface as Raj; Jon Hamm in semi-blackface for 30 Rock's "Alfie & Abner" spoof

What's racist these days?

This is a volatile subject, of course. But in our easily offended social media-fueled society, "protests" can erupt at the drop of a tweet. And on Wednesday, those taking offense to Ashton Kutcher as a Bollywood dude named Raj resulted in the almost immediate excising of the character by the makers of the snack food Popchips.

Kutcher also appeared in other costumes as a foppish fashionista, a hippie and a street biker. But his lilting accent and light "brown face" makeup as Raj triggered both indignation and a statement by Popchips CEO Keith Belling, who said in part, "Our team worked hard to create a light-hearted parody featuring a variety of characters that was meant to provide a few laughs. We did not intend to offend anyone. I take full responsibility and apologize to anyone we offended."

The 90-second video subsequently has been removed from the Popchips website as well as youtube and Facebook, The New York Times reports.

From this perspective, the Kutcher video doesn't hit its target as a marketer of Popchips. But it is amusing in spots and hardly seems to merit a whiny web outcry.

On last Thursday's oft-brilliant live episode of NBC's 30 Rock, a black-and-white sendup of Amos and Andy featured Mad Men's Jon Hamm in partial blackface and full Afro as the buffoonish Abner while Tracy Morgan played the stern, proper-speaking Alfie.

Hamm played a walking, talking racial stereotype with considerable panache. Dare it be said that this was laugh out loud funny? Well, it was. And I haven't seen any protests.

So why then, is Kutcher's little send-up such a lightning rod? And should Popchips have knuckled under the way it has?

I'm taking the Bill Maher position here. In a recent Op-Ed piece for the Times, he wrote in part, "If it weren't for throwing conniption fits, we wouldn't get any exercise at all. I have a better idea. Let's have an amnesty -- from the left and the right -- on every made-up, fake, totally insincere, playacted hurt, insult, slight and affront . . . I don't want to live in a country where no one ever says anything that offends anyone. That's why we have Canada."

OK, that's kind of a cheap shot at the country that's given us Will Arnett, Tom Green, Phil Hartman, John Candy, Norm Macdonald, Mike Myers, Leslie Nielsen and Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels among many.

But so what? Canada can take it and probably already has fired back.

Here are the "Alfie & Abner" and Popchips videos. Maybe the latter is kind of lame overall. But for the life of me, I don't see why it's being seen as racist.