The Simpsons stopped being funny about a decade ago, so it’s no hardship to boycott the show. Even if it were screamingly funny, though, I’d still boycott it based on last night’s episode. I’d heard vague rumors about the episode — “The Simpsons takes on the Iraq War” — and have to admit to being curious. So, when it showed up on TiVo (TiVo’s decision, not mine), I watched.
It turned out the show wasn’t about the war at all (aside from a few snide references to recruiting problems because of the War), it was about the Army, and it made John Kerry look like the Army’s benevolent uncle. Watch The Simpsons and you will be assured that the Army is a primarily gay organization that preys upon the retarded and the suicidal, and that it is comprised of viciously amoral commanders who lust to take over American citizens. (Probably the show’s writers read this article, assuring us that the Army is made up of “misfits” — felons, dropouts, and other societal failures.)
Even Mr. Bookworm, who is no fan of the Iraq War, but does respect the Army, was disgusted. We agreed that the show deserved to be deleted. I’ll go one step further, as I said, and mentally delete The Simpsons from my list of available entertainment options.
By the way, getting back to the subject of the quality of enlistees. Frankly, I have no idea whether the Army is turning into San Quentin on the parade ground. I’ll go back to a point I made earlier, though, which is that the Army is itself a form of education. So those “dropouts” who found it pointless and painful to analyze the floral imagery in The Picture of Dorian Gray may be breakaway successes when given external discipline and surrounded by airplane engines.
One other thing is that, if one assumes for the sake of argument that everything bad about the enlistees is true, people with some antisocial energy often make for good troops. While the Duke of Wellington referred to his own troops as “the scum of the earth,” the fact is that these troops defeated the Napoleonic juggernaut. Thus, it’s fine for the rich and well-fed to be snide about the soldiers, but it’s the soldiers who get the job done — and they’re often a whole lot better, braver and more honorable than the well-heeled who are deriding them.
UPDATE: I’m not the only one whose had it with The Simpsons. Among others blogging, some with video clips, are: