Monday, November 13, 2006



Once again proving the adage that those on the right have absolutely no sense of humor, I bring you Michelle Malkin. She has chosen to take exception with a recent episode of The Simpsons, in which the military gets poked at by the epinomous cartoon characters. She had this to say this morning:

I got tons of e-mail about the military-bashing Simpsons episode last night. Here's a bit of the video if you haven't seen it and want to get in a bad mood. The mockery of Army recruiters and enlistees is absolutely disgusting. This comes on the heels of last week's election-timed episode mocking the Iraq war.

The show is getting long in the tooth and low on funny. Don't bother with it.

The first link leads to Hot Air, another conservative (and aptly named) site, that had this to say:

Another morale-booster from Groening and company. How pitiful is it that Cracked magazine did a funnier job of lampooning John Kerry than the Simpsons did with the U.S. military?

With good episodes increasingly hard to come by, it might be time for Fox to consider a timetable for withdrawal of this particular placeholder in the Sunday night lineup.

First off, I'd like to point out that the title of Malkin's post was "The Simpsons pull a John Kerry", implying that The Simpsons, like John Kerry, had bashed our troops. Malkin may be many things, but unintelligent she is not, and for her to continue to beat the anti-Kerry drum (when anyone with half a brain knows that Kerry was not insulting the military) works only to undermine any argument she might make and demonstrates an intellectual dishonesty that's ultimately detrimental to her cause. Moving on...

As I alluded to earlier, the right has demonstrated on a number of occasions its inability to see humor, even in situations they might not necessarily agree with. To that end, I thought I might educate them in the concept of subversive humor and parody and satire. Through the years, The Simpsons has dipped into this well far too many times to count, and more often than not, it's been effective. Of course, this is by no means an open-ended defense of the program as any show that has been on the air for almost two decades is bound to cover the same ground and lose it's edge. Personally, the show hasn't been on my must-see list for years, but I will click over to it from time to time.

As for the offending material itself, I found it humorous and chuckle-inducing, though by no means hilarious. And the clips from yesterday's episode in question should be judged on their merits, not on their political message. If you don't find it funny, that's fine; but consider something - might you not like it because it's unfunny as opposed to anti-military? I understand it's a subtle distinction for the boneheads who would actually take issue with a silly cartoon, but I feel it's important to point it out. The Simpsons has always attempted to plug into the cultural zeitgeist of the moment and this is just another example. In case you aren't aware, the military has in fact engaged in instances that were lampooned in the show, including references to Abu Gharaib and signing up enlistees of questionable intelligence. Just because you cannot accept some of the uglier aspects of what this war has wrought, doesn't mean that it isn't necessarily fertile ground for subversive comedy. And shining a light on it through satire does not necessarily make the program anti-military.

Finally, I'd like to point out one other thing Malkin said as she referred to a small portion of the week before's episode that mocked the Iraq war, what she termed as a politically timed move. Am I the only one who thinks that this is really dumb? Was there a person anywhere in this nation that watched the program in question (and we're basically talking about a 20-second joke that used the war in Iraq as an allegory for an alien invasion of Springfield, the fictitious town where the Simpsons live) and thought to themselves, "Ya know, that drooling alien creature with one eye is correct; we shouldn't be in Iraq as this cartoon clearly demonstrates the futility of the folly of America's Iraq occupation. I'm voting for my Democratic candidate now!" Again, it's humor people. It may not be the funniest, but it's intent is to entertain with a little nudge and a wink. The Simpsons had nothing to do with the GOP getting roundly defeated in the elections last week or Don Rumsfeld getting fired.

Oh, one addendum - Malkin received an email that she posted detailing another Fox cartoon, Family Guy also taking shots at the military. For those with a life, I will let you know that Family Guy is much coarser (and more random) in it's humor and there are definitely times when I'm watching and I'm thinking, "Gosh, that joke was somewhat inappropriate." Still, it's a funny show that I make a point of viewing weekly. Here's the email:

I wanted to bring to your attention a couple of outrageous clips from the November 5th episode of Family Guy. The family is shown having a discussion about the son possibly joining the Army. The mother is opposed to the idea. The father answers that the Army is great because you can get "money for college, free food and all the brown people you can rape." A bit later in the scene, the baby (who speaks) says "the bottom 10% of our high school class is off to fight another battle."

...I was a huge fan of the show prior to it being cancelled in 2003. Since it returned to FOX last year, it has been less about humor and more about liberal propaganda. After seeing that scene, I will never watch the show again and I will be sending a mass email to discourage others from watching.

Malkin provides clips for the program here and here. I thought it was a pretty funny episode, but that's just me.
Anyway, I bring up this guy, Peter, the email writer as he has chosen to boycott the program as it is now nothing more than a liberal propaganda organ what with it's anti-military slant. Okay, his call. Kinda dumb, but do what you want, I suppose. I claim that it's a dumb decision for any number of reasons, the biggest being that Family Guy cannot go two minutes without offending someone. As I said, it's a coarse program. Off the top of my head, I remember slights against Mickey Rooney, The Bangles, Zedan, Garth Brooks, Minnie Driver, and an exceptionally dumb suicide bomber. Further, the most recent episode featured all manner of dumb blonde jokes, yet I've heard of no boycott of the program by the dumb blondes in the world (though, in order to be more of an authority on the subject, I should perhaps troll around some dumb blonde blogs). If every group were to boycott Family Guy because of something that appeared on the show, there would be no viewers! Yet, it is only the silly righty bloggers who get up in arms because they seem incapable of processing any humor higher than the gentle musings of Family Circus. Get over yourselves, people. Accept the fact that you currently hold unpopular positions in our culture, and as such, you will be mocked from time to time. Just wait a few years and Dem-bashing will be in vogue once again (see: the decade of the 1990s).

* The Yellow Menace in the title refers to the Simpsons' yellow skins and not to Malkin, which would be really disgustingly racist of me. Just wanted to be clear.

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