Thursday, December 04, 2008

Decline and Fall of The Simpsons

I've been a fan of The Simpsons since it premiered while I was in college. It's particular strength was its ability to mock the cliches and vanities of the zeitgeist, be they liberal or conservative.

So it was with great disappointment that I watched this week's episode, in which a Muslim family moves to Springfield. With a complete absence of irony or satire, and in the very week that Muslim terrorists murder 200 people in Bombay, The Simpsons' Muslims are straight out of a hallmark card: the young son is perfectly obedient and well-mannered, the parents are friendly and courteous, and the message o' the day is: Muslims-are-wonderful-we-must-be-tolerant-fear-is-paranoia.

This treacle would embarrass an after-school special, even if it were actually true. As it is, the show merely peddled the same falsehoods as the dominant culture.

The series can't survive many episodes like this one.

5 comments:

bobvis said...

You do realize, by the way, that there are more Muslims in the Springfields of the United States that match the Simpsons depiction than the Bombay terrorist model, right?

Φ said...

If a significant fraction of Muslims undertook Bombay-style operations, we'd all be dead already.

More typical is what we see in Europe: low-level terrorism and criminality directed against Christians and Jews, or whites in general.

bobvis said...

The Simpsons takes place in the US.

I'll point out that if Muslims as group looked like what they are depicted by Hollywood, we might similarly all be dead already.

togo said...

A family of redneck muslims complete with a pack of coonhounds has the potential to be amusing, but it would offend the wrong`people.

Preston said...

I agree with bobvis. You realize that your sample concerning "bad Muslims" is skewed, right? Although media coverage may make it seem like all Muslims are terrorists, the actual proportion is relatively low--not as low as the ratio of Christian terrorists to normal Christians certainly, but still low enough that portraying Muslims as normal, law-abiding citizens is NOT treacle or an after-school special. Especially in America. The second point concerns timeliness. You have to realize that Simpsons episodes are planned and executed up to 6 months in advance. Makes you think, huh? What you should be applauding is the astounding number that actually critique the zeitgeist at just the right time, and not the occasional mishit.