‘The Simpsons’ Once Again Predicts the Future as Florida Parents Protest “Pornographic” Michelangelo Statue
“This was literally a Simpsons episode” is an all-too common sentiment expressed nowadays. There have been many eerie similarities between the long running animated series and events occurring within the world – but it hasn’t always been without warning. Most recently, The Simpsons seems to have predicted a controversy occurring at a Florida charter school.
Today, it was reported that a Tallahassee charter school principal, Hope Carrasquilla, was forced to resign after complaints that Michalengo’s David statue was “pornographic” following a lesson on Renaissance art.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat (per The Independent), Carrasquilla announced her resignation on Monday (Mar. 20) after the school board’s chair, Barney Bishop, told her to quit or else she’d be fired.
The former principal claimed that three parents were upset that their children were uncomfortable by the lesson, which featured the statue. Two months prior, the school board enacted a rule stating that parents must be notified before “potentially controversial” lessons.
But what does this have to do with the animated sitcom? In 1991, The Simpsons had an episode which featured a similar controversy. However, unlike the folks in Tallahassee, the Springfield residents learned a valuable lesson on the censorship of art – one that, clearly, still holds up today.
The episode, titled “Itchy & Scratchy & Marge” (watch it on Disney+), centers on Marge Simpson boycotting Itchy & Scratchy after her youngest, Maggie Simpson, hits the family’ patriarch, Homer Simpson, with a mallet while imitating the antics depicted in the fictional comedy show.
Marge decides to reach out to the show’s studio asking that they tone down the violence, however her request is dismissed. She then forms a protest group called SNUH, which is an acronym for Nonviolence, Understanding, and Helping.
Long story short: The group grows in popularity and suddenly everyone is complaining about everything, which wasn’t Marge’s intention. Springfield is chosen as a stop for a U.S. tour of Michelangelo’s David, which angers SNUH because of the statue’s nudity. At this point, Marge grows weary and personally declares the statue to be a “masterpiece.” She realizes that art shouldn’t be censored and eventually dismantles the group, allowing the statue to visit the town.
Unfortunately, when it comes to life imitating art, this isn’t the first time this controversy has arisen – or even the first time it’s been compared to The Simpsons. In 2016, a replica of the statue was protested in St. Petersburg, Russia, with many citizens declaring that he needed to be clothed in order to not “warp children’s souls.”
The similarity prompted Snopes to do an investigation into the Simpsons episode, revealing that the show’s writers room didn’t necessarily predict the happening as real-life campaigns to censor the statue (and similar ones) dates back to the early 16th century. The website has debunked other similarities between the show and real life.
As Snopes clarified, “Matt Groening [Simpsons creator] is not a time traveler.” But he does have a keen understanding of the past and a knack for capturing the zeitgeist, which allows him to offer sharp social commentary that’s memorable to his audience. How else do you think The Simpsons has survived all these years?
The Simpsons is currently airing its 34th season on Fox, and the show’s tremendously rich back catalog can be viewed on Disney+.
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