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So I’m watching another of these oddly anti-funny
Simpsons episodes from 2004. (It’s like they’re bad on purpose.) Maggie Simpson gets an IQ test. Oh the hilarity: Simon Crowell is the admissions director! She scores high. “Meet Maggie Simpson,” he says to another school official. “IQ, 167.”

“One sixty seven!” says the other official. “That’s amazing for a Christian!”



Rewind. Context? Anyone wearing a cross? Anyone holding a Bible, or daubing red paint on their palms? Did Homer announce he’d seen the Virgin Mary in the grease of a Krusty Burger wrapper? No: totally gratuitous. Just for fun: insert any other religion in that line and imagine the reaction. That’s amazing for a Muslim! People would, well, have a cow, and for good reason. You’re a genius? That’s amazing for a Hindu! I’m not surprised that the Simpsons takes a poke at Christianity; in its heyday, the show had sharp and funny commentary on organized religion, and I recall writing a long Bleat a few years ago in defense of Ned Flanders, back when the writers were still interested in creating characters instead of ossified archetypes made up of catch-phrases and simplistic attributes. Back when they seemed to protect the show’s ability to aim for the heart, should the need arise. But this wasn’t clever, and all it did was say “we can get away with this, because we’re not particularly interested in anyone who finds it insulting.”

You know, like those close-minded mouthbreathing Christian morons who just don’t understand animation.

Last week when I was doing research about a murder in St. Paul, I came across the following story. It’s from 1937. File under: The More Things Change.

It’s almost jarring to see the word “TERRORIST” in 1937, since we think that belongs to the post 1972-Olympics world, perhaps. And it’s enlightening to read about violence and bloodshed and the usual cycle o’ violence instigated, in this example, by the publication of a commission’s recommendation to partition the area.

No doubt they were reacting to the future occupation of the West Bank.

More on the 1929 riots, referenced in the article, here. About Jimmy Colton, who has an adult’s brain and a cocktail waitress’ hairdo, history is silent.

Do you think the connection between government and syndicated columnists is suspicious? You have every right. But things were once very cozy between the government and - well, this says it all:

Ol’ Buncombe Bob was quite the character:

In foreign policy, Reynolds is best described as a demagogic isolationist. He lashed out at alien criminals and increased immigration while voting against American membership in the World Court. He was the only southerner to vote against Lend Lease. Meanwhile, Reynolds began his congressional career by voting for almost all New Deal legislation and was a loyal supporter of Roosevelt until 1938. He sought reform of American society and improvement in the daily life of the average American and thought government could provide for the economic and social welfare of the masses with programs such as Social Security and the Wagner Act. Reynolds saw the inequity in society and understood the frustration and alienation of the have-nots.

In his second term, however, Reynolds abandoned New Deal idealism and concluded his career as an antilabor, anti-Communist states' righter. During the latter part of his career, Reynolds embarked on a series of ill-considered associations with such controversial individuals as Father Charles Coughlin, Gerald L. K. Smith, George Deatherage, Nazi propagandist George Sylvester Viereck, and Prescott Dennett, a paid German propaganda agent. In addition, he created two nativistic and xenophobic organizations, the American Vindicators and the Nationalist Party. Reynolds's fervent isolationism and his relationship with and praise for such radicals as Gerald L. K. Smith led to charges that he was pro-Nazi. Moreover, his lack of discretion, poor judgment, anti-Semitism, unsavory companions, and unyielding adherence to noninterventionism exposed his nativism and precipitated a rapid decline in his popularity.

He was also the subject of a cartoon by some fellow who pretended he was a doctor.

If there’d been TV during the early days of WW2, the morning talk shows would have had him on all the time. “As President Roosevelt seeks to deepen US involvement in the European crisis, many members of his own party are speaking out against what they see as a dangerous escalation. We welcome, once again, Senator Bob Reynolds.”

A voice of conscience! Speaking his mind. A maverick, you might say, and that obviously makes him a truth teller. (coff) (Sorry, it's these cigars.)

Off to bed; new Fence, new Joe. See you tomorrow.