Monday, 24 September 2007

Racism in Jena: the Szyslak solution

A guest-post by my good friend Jaggins

I was listening to the midday news the other day, and there was a story about racial unrest in the little town of Jena, deep in the south of the US of A.

Apparently one day in the local high school three nooses were found hanging from a tree in the school grounds following an altercation between black students and whites. Some time later, a group of black students allegedly assaulted a white student and were subsequently arrested and charged. No action had been taken over the noose incident, so demonstrations were being held decrying the double standards in the treatment of blacks and whites. A terrible story and nothing to delight in so far, but the very last line of the report said, “The tree has since been cut down.”

My mind immediately leapt to The Simpsons episode where the giant comet is hurtling towards Springfield, sure to destroy all life. It does, however, burn up in the polluted atmosphere and arrives “no bigger than a chihuahua’s head,” to the great relief and jubilation of the assembled townsfolk. It’s then that Moe cries, “Now let’s burn down the observatory so this never happens again!” – and the mob run off with flaming torches.

Bob Dylan once said, “You can listen to a Woody Guthrie song and learn how to live.” Presumably the good folk of Louisiana have adopted the same philosophy with The Simpsons.

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