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September 26, 2003

Grand narrative

Kids these days grow up watching The Simpsons. The humour works on a number of levels and may be an education in itself for irony, parody and satire as well as slapstick. I often wonder how these people are going to make sense of the world as they get older and every film, tv show and novel is going to have an eerie familiarity as everything will have been seen before in an animated reference from early childhood. The series is a map of the culture we live in which makes up a comprehensive system.

Aristotle. Hegel. The Simpsons.

This might be a troubling development.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at September 26, 2003 09:54 AM


Frightening conclusions there, Sweetie... er, I mean, Mister Flea!

Posted by: Alexandra at September 26, 2003 10:56 AM

I don't suspect the ubiquitous cross-references to pop culture from Simpsons-watching will be any worse than, say, Mad Magazine reading. Or Weird Al music listening. Or, heck, classic Marvel comics title-reading.

Posted by: *** Dave at September 26, 2003 12:31 PM

Right on, Dave. I was deprived of pop culture as a kid, but I managed to absorb a subsistence level of cultural literacy secondhand via Mad magazine.

Mad was much more explicit in its references- you could actually distill a rough synopsis of, say, "An Officer and a Gentleman" from the parody if you had to. The Simpsons, on the other hand, takes place in a parallel America, where nothing has to correspond too closely to any real thing or person, because it's all just so true.

Posted by: Matt at September 26, 2003 04:36 PM

Mad was amazing. So is The Simpsons. I did not see The China Syndrome until a few years ago and it was still difficult to engage with the film behind the half-remembered Mad parody I read when I was a kid. I wonder if that is what the entire world is going to look like to people raised in Springfield.

Posted by: Nicholas Packwood at September 26, 2003 06:21 PM

Excellent stuff. It's hard to imagine a world that isn't awash in irony. I wonder if gen-x's obsession with irony stems from the dishonesty and corruption of the boomers?

Posted by: Michael Williams at September 27, 2003 04:02 AM