The Simpsons’ early episodes predicted major moment in American history. The election of Donald Trump as president and the invention of smart watches were two big ones. But now the producers have decided to put their crystal ball down and are returning to what they do best: social satire.
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In a recent episode, Mr. Burns returns to his old alum Yale University thinking to possibly donate to the school. As they walk through the campus, two school officials take turns complimenting Burns clearly buttering him up for a large donation.
“It’s delightful when you take turns, sniffing after my money,” Burns states sarcastically. A short time later, Burns informs the university officials he’d “like to endow a department of nuclear plant management. ”
This is where the Simpsons perfectly depict universities in American society. “Wonderful. Of course, we can’t do nuclear –” one interviewer explains. “Our students are highly-entitled wusses,” the other interviewer tells Burns. Does she hit the nail on the head or what?
What transpires next clearly depicts how university pander to students. “You’d be creating a space for violence to happen. Hmm. How about funding a chair in the non-narrative cinema of self-identified pansexuals?” the male interviewer suggest.
Burns, in disbelief, says, “Is this still a coven of capitalism, where evil money can acquire a patina of virtue?” The female official confirms that it is but times have changed. The Simpsons’ creators also fired a shot at a certain university when one official tells Burns,”We also need to hire more deans to decide which Halloween costumes are appropriate.”
Last year, the University of Florida had upset students who felt some of the Halloween costumes were inappropriate. They weren’t the only school dealing with the issue.
The icing on the cake for this episode is when Burns notices how the university has changed drastically since his departure. “What’s happened to this place?” Burns says out loud. As the camera spins, He spots signs reading, “Eli Yale was a profiteering slave trader.” “Shakespeare is murder.” “Take swords off statues.”
South Park has long satirized this whole issue but the Simpsons, who are usually quite tame compared to South Park, apparently couldn’t hold their tongues any longer.