Most people want to go home from work and school and enjoy THE SIMPSONS on television, but some diehard fans and media students have taken it up as a course of study at South Carolina State University, which offers the course, Postmodernism, Parody, Pastiche: Deconstructing THE SIMPSONS. According to a report in THE NEW HAVEN REGISTER, 25 SCSU students are enrolled in the college class taught by professor Carlene Dellinger-Pate, who finds deep meaning in cartoons, and plans to explore the question, What keeps us laughing at this text for so long?
She will have students analyze THE SIMPSONS use of parody, satire and humor to reflect changes in culture and society. Are we narcissistic, apathetic, pessimistic, fragmented, Dellinger-Pate asked. We are studying who we are as a culture.
The professor argued that the lack of an overarching plot or an agenda allows the show to address many issues from unpredictable and often contradicting angles. When youve got nowhere to go anymore, no agenda, then you can do anything, you can go anywhere, according to Dellinger-Pate.
The professor said that liberal arts universities are beginning to recognize that media is no longer a part of culture, it is culture. Robert Thompson, former president of the Pop Culture Assoc. and professor of popular culture and television at Syracuse University, believes pop culture icons like The Simpsons should be a staple of the American academic experience. He said, If you want to understand a nation, you have to understand its wars and its leaders, but you also have to understand its lawn ornaments, love stories and its television programs.
He likens THE SIMPSONS to the great comic art of Charlie Chaplin and the satire of Mark Twain.
The University of Michigan has already had courses on The Simpsons and Philosophy, and The Gospel. According to Homer Simpson. Open Court Books publishes the philosophy book, THE SIMPSONS AND PHILOSOPHY: THE DOH! OF HOMER.
Lisa Simpson has made it to college but one wonders how creator Matt Groening and some of the shows crew would be graded in these academic exercises.