Wednesday, July 25, 2007

D'OH! Remember When Bart was Offensive??

Remember, when Bart Simpson was considered a threat to children everywhere? I recall a kid somewhere getting kicked out of school for wearing a Bart Simpson t-shirt. Those days sound quaint compared to what's out there now. I consider myself a real fan of The Simpsons and I think, if anything, many of the values of the show are better than plenty of other stuff that the morality police don't even bat an eye over (Has anybody seen the graphic violence and sex on CSI or Law and Order: Special Victims Unit lately?) Marge and Home remain monogamous and faithful to each other. Despite their shortcomings they actually love their kids and want the best for them. They even pray and attend church regularly--religion plays a bigger role in The Simpsons than almost any other show on TV. I have a great book called The Gospel According to the Simpsons that makes some very good points in this regard.

Yet, it was considered offensive back in the day. I guess just because it was a cartoon--albeit one that was never intended for kids. Now, shows like Family Guy, South Park and the lineup on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim have taken adult-targeted cartoons to a level way past what The Simpsons has ever done. Yet, even cartoons that are made for kids these days exceed what The Simpsons offer in terms of humor that is inappropriate for kids, at least in my opinion. When I tape Little Einsteins for my 4 year-old, I cringe at the commercials for other shows on The Disney Channel. Thankfully, he's oblivious to most of it, but he won't be for long. Maybe I'm getting old or maybe it's just because I'm now a parent, but Bart Simpson is the least of my worries about what kids are exposed to. I know, I know, Bart would tell me "Don't have a cow, man!"

Still, I think there is a lesson here in how trivial the morality police and culture warriors of talk shows and conservative interest groups really are. They protest a given thing at a given moment to capitalize on an emotional and rather pointless emotional fervor and then do little if anything to solve real problems in society. The latest rock band or book may offend such groups but kids still go to bed hungry in our country and with inadequate health care.

In any event, I'm looking forward to the movie. here's a link to it--WARNING: it's not made for children. Also, there's an interesting article in today's Washington Post with the writers of The Simpsons that talks about the good/bad old days when The Simpsons was considered bad for society.

Grace and Peace,


1 comment:

hater boy said...

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