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20 February 2005

Gay Simpsons!

And so it happened.

BF and I can marry, here in Massachusetts, and also in Springfield, U.S.A!

A few cheers and jeers:

  • Hooray: Homer looks for his online ordination so that he can make
    dough off of the crowds of gays that Rev. Lovejoy won’t marry. 
    (Lovejoy says the Bible forbids gay marriage, Marge asks which book,
    Lovejoy says, “The Bible!”, Marge tries to talk further, Lovejoy rings
    the church bells to drown her out.)  One of the churches Homer
    almost gets his ordination from is the “e-Piscopal Church.”  If the
    Simpsons make fun of you, you’ve come around.
  • Boo! Hiss!:
    Fox runs from the FCC.  Before the episode began, we were advised
    that “Due to mature themes discussing gay marriage, viewer discretion
    is advised.”  For God’s sake, it’s the Simpsons.  If
    anything, this show’ll probably deal with it with more maturity and
    good sense than anything else on the airwaves.  Which says
    something about the discourse around this in our country right
    now.  Actually, it doesn’t really, because the Simpsons continues
    to prove one of the most insightful and intelligent pieces of popular
    culture that our society produces. 
  • Yay!: When Homer runs out
    of gay couples to marry, $200 short of the $14,800 he needs for a 62″
    TV, he wonders aloud if he could get Lenny and Carl to marry. 
    Marge: “You leave them alone to figure that out themselves!” 
    Lenny and Carl — not just potentially gay, but interracially
    gay.  (As Homer’s hand note once said, “Lenny=white, Carl=black.”)
  • Cheer: Why do the people of Springfield decide to legalize gay marriage?  Because they offend a Southern bumpkiny television host,
    who declares Springfield the worst town he’s ever visited, and it
    destroys their tourist industry.  So to make quick money off “all
    the disposable income” gays have, they legalize marriage.

Later, he read aloud an aide’s report from a convention of the
Christian Coalition, a conservative political group: “This crowd uses
gays as the enemy. It’s hard to distinguish between fear of the
homosexual political agenda and fear of homosexuality, however.”

“This is an issue I have been trying to downplay,” Mr. Bush said. “I think it is bad for Republicans to be kicking gays.”

Told that one conservative supporter was saying Mr. Bush had pledged
not to hire gay people, Mr. Bush said sharply: “No, what I said was, I
wouldn’t fire gays.”

I’m sure that plenty of the culture-protectors of the “Christian” right
will critique and bash the show without having seen it, claiming that
we shouldn’t put such divisive moral issues on a show that entertains
children.  (They’re only like this because they know they cannot
win this “battle”, that history has shown up many of the right’s “moral” stands as cloaked bigotry.) 

But the Simpsons has always been more than
entertainment.  In putting the mirror of humor up to fear and
hatred and stupidity, it defuses it more effectively than almost
anything else. 
In making fun of all of us, it puts us in perspective and in our
place.  If Homer, an uber anti-hero, can deal with it — whatever
“it” is this week — then what are we making such a fuss about?

If you’ll permit a slight Anglican intrusion (other than that above),
the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, a pretty hefty
intellectual himself, has called the show “one of the most subtle
pieces of propaganda around in the cause of sense, humility and
virtue.”  He also said, “It’s generally on the side of the angels
and on the side of sense. It
punctures lots of pompous fictions about how the world works.” 

And it did that tonight.  It portrayed our national “debate”
accurately, in some sense, and we look pretty much like the fools that
we are.  But you can only really be a fool when you take yourself seriously.

BTW, check out this quiz on “Religion in ‘The Simpsons.'”

Posted in Day2Day on 20 February 2005 at 10:41 pm by Nate