April 30, 2006

The Simpsons do Larry Summers

A reader writes:

Just by chance, I caught the Simpsons for the first time in about a year tonight. It was actually a pretty clever take-off on m/f differences.

- Principal Skinner gets fired for a Lawrence Summers moment. He gets caught saying that boys are better at math and science. The writers hedged their PC bets by making him say a bunch of other things along the lines of "Look, all I'm saying is that girls are worth less than boys..." to rhetorically poison the well regarding the main point, similar to the way you pointed out Sarah Silverman does in her stand-up act ( e.g., Mexicans smell bad). But that was worth it to watch him be reduced to panicky, hyper-diversity mode when he gets jumped on:

"It's the differences (of which there are none!) that... uh, make the sameness... um... exceptional!"

Later on, when he's been bumped down to assistant janitor, he grumbles:

"I'm not allowed to have opinions anymore. All I know is that no one is better at anything than anyone else and everyone is the best at everything."

- A feminist gets appointed as principal and she immediately segregates boys and girls to stop the boys from intimidating and oppressing the girls. She then turns the girl half of the school into the ultimate touchy-feely, self-esteem obsessed, ego-integrity-building "learning environment" ever. During math class, the girls are asked how they feel about numbers and sing songs like "the best thing I can be is to be OK with me."

- There's a Norah Vincent "Self-Made Man" tenor to the thing when Lisa, craving rigorous learning, disguises herself as a boy and sneaks into the boys school. There she gets initiated into the harsh world of social dynamics among young males. The Vincent allusion is strengthened by the fact that at the end, she comes to appreciate that, for all the victim-mongering of modern feminism, men tend to have a rougher time of it in society. However, the Simpson writers were able to outdo Vincent by correcting some of her more silly points. For instance, Vincent took the fact that other men wouldn't look her in the eye as a sign of the deep and abiding respect amongst the brotherhood of men (don't laugh); not (as is obvious to any guy who's been to highschool) because looking another guy in the eye is an invitation to fight. The Simpsons episode made this kind of constant antagonism explicit, however.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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