If I Married a Homer, does that Make Me a Marge?
Honestly, my husband is nothing like Homer Simpson,
well, mostly 😉 But he does love to watch The Simpsons. When we first married I was of the opinion that The Simpsons were evil – such cheeky behavior by children and slothful parenting would only encourage others to imitate and soon we’d have a society full of impertinent kids and whacked out parents. But, I must confess, I was clueless about satire. In one dictionary satire is defined as the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues. Our society is not at risk of becoming what The Simpsons portray, we are already there and The Simpsons merely exposes the state of the family in America in a satirical fashion.
Even though my husband has converted me to be an appreciator of The Simpsons by helping open my mind to respect the brilliant satirical critique of middle America, I am not a committed fan who organizes my life around the show’s schedule. But last night, I am so glad I was there to watch with my family. I was sitting on the couch with my Apple laptop doing school work and watching 60 Minutes and reminding the girls that if they want to watch The Simpsons with us, they need to get the kitchen chores done. I was paying constant partial attention to the TV while reading and commenting on my classmates posts about the Deuteronomistic Historians view of the transferrability of sin when The Simpsons began. It didn’t take long for my constant partial attention to shift to full attention as Matt Groening launched into a brilliant critique of all things Apple.
Along with my conversion to The Simpsons, I also experienced a conversion to Apple later in life. My Dad worked for IBM, so I was raised on DOS. When I met my husband in the early ’90s at a C Compiler company in Santa Cruz, I was exposed to the UNIX operating system. The running joke around the company was that I was trying to convert him to follow Christ and he was trying to convert me to use UNIX. The happy ending of that story is that my husband has been following Christ for almost 19 years, and I am convinced that UNIX is a far superior operating system and have converted to Mac because OSX is a UNIX based operating system. After I converted to Mac, I became a Mac Evangelist at The Apple Store in Bellevue Square, and because of my tech writing background, I eventually became the first female Mac Genius at that store. Needless to say, I like Apple products. But, I am not naïve. Apple has it’s faults and is as much of a slave to the consumer culture as Microsoft and any other company out there trying to get market share, or mind share.
There I was, using my Apple laptop last night as The Simpsons mocked (m)Apple. Then, right after the height of the mockery, the first commercial break began with an ad for the iPhone. And again, the first commercial of the second break was for the MacBook. And so on, for the rest of the show. The mockery was brilliantly crafted, but I wonder if the militant irony served to promote the Apple brand rather than work against the stranglehold of consumerism. What good does it to do mock the stupidity and vices of the culture? Through our love affair with satire are we merely celebrating our stupidity and vices, laughing at ourselves and then going on and continuing in our stupidity?
These are questions I am asking myself, especially since I put an iPhone on my Christmas list. I need a new phone. My Motorola Razr is about 3 years old and getting rather flaky (on average, cell phone relationships last about 18 months) . I’ve been wanting an iPhone for a while. I’ve also been researching other options, though none are comparable – it’s like comparing Apples to Oranges 😉 The honest truth is that I don’t need an iPhone. I don’t need a cell phone at all, for that matter. But, we have chosen to subscribe to cell phone services and have integrated their usage as a normal part of our lives. I’m going to continue to use a cell phone. If I get an iPhone, it won’t be because I want to be cool or because I need one. Now, I just need to come up with a good reason to get one – any ideas?