Cartoons Should Serve the People!


I have long hoped that the miserable, humorless culture warriors of the right—those who saw the Teletubbies as Bronski Beat for tots, yet mistook the homoeroticism of Judas Priest for an Albion-inflected brand of satanism—would concede defeat and allow the rest of us to carry on enjoying our GG Allin records. But let us not forget that our comrades on the left also have a Bozellian streak.

Example: Over at the Guardian, CampusProgress editor Ben Adler pooh-poohs the Simpsons movie not because it's a mediocre episode stretched out to 90 minutes, but because it isn't sufficiently left-wing:

It is almost a given in elite liberal circles that you are, or once were, a devoted fan of The Simpsons… The humour is so sharp-edged, and apparently liberal, that you wonder how they were able to get away with saying that on network television (Fox, no less)…

That's why it was so disappointing to see the hilarious new Simpsons movie engage in some weirdly illiberal gags. The plot device driving the action and denouement is that the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, named Russ Cargill, runs amok and isolates Springfield in a glass bubble to prevent a contamination from spreading.

When that fails he decides to simply blow Springfield up (and presumably kill everyone living there). Obviously it is meant to be hyperbolic. But the irony may be lost on the average viewer.

The anti-environmental thread runs throughout the movie. Lisa's presentation at a town meeting on the pollution in Lake Springfield is called "An Irritating Truth". Lisa and her new boyfriend are presented as self-righteous nags for badgering the town about pollution and environmental efficiency.

Digging trenches around the perimeter of the Center for American Progress in preparation for the next culture war and testing cartoons for ideological purity! Adler, who clearly knows from funny, suggests a few script changes:

Certainly there are jokes that liberals would find politically congenial. The president is Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger and his detached management style allows Cargill to take drastic measures without proper oversight (and partly to enrich himself: He owns the company that makes the glass bubble). The analogy to the current president and his relationship with Vice President Cheney is obvious. But wouldn't it be more accurate, and more effective, to make the bad guy, say, the secretary of defence instead of the EPA administrator?