Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Simpsons Trailer and Army Controversy


I do not offend easily.

My favorite TV show is South Park and I have never been offended by that show and I have seen every episode at least four times.

However, last week, I found myself offended by what is usually a much milder show, The Simpsons.

Normally, the only thing offensive about The Simpsons is the fact that it's still on the air. This was one of my favorite shows. Seasons 5 through 9 or 10 are some of the greatest things ever aired on television. Which may be why I'm so bummed at what it has become.

It's that sentimental nostalgia that keeps me watching from week to week. Also, there is a sense of awe (or maybe it's horror) at how truly bad it has become.

But last Sunday, I found a new feeling running through my brain: I was offended.

I'm not going to summarize the episode, beyond saying the Army tries recruiting the children of Springfield by convincing them the Army is nothing more than an ultra-violent, high-tech video game. Needless to say, Bart signs up and Homer, in the process of trying to get his son out of joining, ends up joining himself. OK, so I guess I am going to summarize the episode.

Anyway, sounds innocuous enough, no? The problem is, the Army is repeatedly presented as a bunch of idiots who don't know what they're doing and have no qualms about abusing the human rights of friends, as well as foes.

What really bugs me about this is the source. The Simpsons is written by a bunch of rich, spoiled white kids, straight out of Harvard. What offends me is the elitism.

This is why John Kerry got into trouble. Republican or Democrat, you should realize that whether you buy his "botched joke" excuse or not, what John Kerry actually said is really awful and not fit to be spoken by any public figure.

I remember hearing about and thinking, "Oh, that's not so bad, they're going to blow this out of proportion." But the idea that the army is not just something to be avoided, but rather something for "other people". Lesser people. Stupid people. Minorities. People who can't afford to go to college.

The truth is, regardless of their background, these are people who are dying in Iraq every single day. People who face horrors we can only imagine. I wouldn't want to be there. I'm glad I'm not. But I do think it's important that we recognize the sacrifice they are making.

They didn't make the choice to invade Iraq. They follow their orders, because that's their job. They made a choice to serve our country and I think they deserve better than to be thought of as being too stupid to get out of being sent to their deaths, like the rest of us.

Oh yeah and the movie trailer sucked.

3 Comments:

Blogger Chris said...

Seasons 4-8, Eric. 9 and 10 are when they started to slide and 4 contains the greatest episode ever: "Selma's Choice" aka "the Duff Gardens episode"

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yah, well, many soldiers are cold-blooded killers who enjoy the shit and that's why they're there. For the killing and the subsequent glory/attention of moms everywhere. War is stupid and face it, so are some of the desensitized, empty jocks who join the team.

1:48 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

I think the point is that the US army has been known to use some very deceitful recruiting tactics, during wars in the last 50 years if not the current one.
What you described would be well within the exaggerated satire standard often used by the Simpsons, South Park, and other such cartoons. Try to understand the cartoon as attacking the recruitment tactics rather than the rank-and-file men and women in the army in Iraq.

5:57 PM  

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