Monday, November 13, 2006

The Simpsons untouchable

The Simpsons producers and writers have made their opinion about Bush, Jr., the Iraq invasion, and the military very clear such the Operation Enduring Occupation in this year's Tree House of Horrors XVII. Last night's episode was about the military's in-school recruitment efforts. There was even a gag about the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal which I even thought was distasteful. The episode went beyond John Kerry's "botched" joke and directly implied that the people who enlist are either Cletus yokels or Homer idiots.

The episode appropriately lampooned the Army's child recruitment efforts. Having lived with a former recruiter, I'm well-aware of how commission-paid, military recruiters target low-income, minority, and otherwise vulnerable youths. Before 9/11, my gay-military-recruiter housemate (long story) and I argued about Portland Public School's policy of prohibiting military recruiters due to its anti-gay hiring practices. He laughably argued that the military was an educational institution and therefore not subject to such restrictions (I'm still not sure how his argument worked). I argued that the military is an employer and PPS had the right and duty to enforce its policy prohibiting discriminatory employers. Now with the military enmeshed in an unwinnable war, I doubt he would even argue the military is an educational institution.

Didn't Walter Cronkite's editorial against the war mark a major turning point in the public's sentiment about the Vietnam war? Twenty-four/seven corporate entertainment news has eliminated the venerable anchorman (with PBS' Jim Lehrer the possible exeption), but the nearly universally watched The Simpsons' criticism of the war and the military has to signal some kind of change in the public's perception. While I'm sure many conservatives disagree with the show's anti-war/anti-military sympathies, I haven't seen any criticism about the episode or this season.


Anonymous said...

Everybody knows the Simpsons jumped the shark years ago. South Park is cool, Simpsons lame.

Norm! said...

Yeah, The Simpsons seems stale at times, but I don't think its fans will ever let it be canceled. There was a huge outcry some time ago when Matt Groenig merely mentioned the show would end in a few years.

I love South Park, Family Guy, American Dad, The Simpsons, Drawn Together, etc.