From James "The Thinking Man's Bernie Goetz" Lileks' blog:
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.
Never mind the fact that Lileks is just plain wrong about the Simpsons - after a few years that did in fact seem a little moribund, the show seems to have found its Nth wind yet again, with a season of sharp satire and a growing undercurrent of righteous indignation at the state of the world which suits the show well (that's probably why conservatives find it unfunny). And let's leave aside the mispelling of American Idol judge Simon COWELL's name, although you'd think a blog with a backward-link circulation of over 20,000 would double-check these things, especially in a post that tries to establish the author's credentials as a pop culture critic. Lileks' insinuation that the Simpsons creators are somehow gunning for Christianity is demonstrably false.
"[I]nsert any other religion in that line and imagine the reaction?" Okay:
JUDAISM. "Your honor, we don't have that kind of money. We're not a synagogue!"
ISLAM. "All my life, Kent, I prefer Catsup to Ketchup, and to me, Yusef Islam will always be Cat Stevens."
BUDDHISM. "Lisa, you're a Buddhist, so you believe in reincarnation. Eventually, Snowball will be reborn as a higher lifeform... like a snowman."
HINDUISM. "By the 7 arms of Vishnu, I swear it. I am not a Hindu."
MORMONISM. "You sir are a moron!" / "A Mormon? But I'm from Earth!"
CATHOLICISM. "Mom, can we go Catholic so we can get communion wafers and booze?"
UNITARIANISM. "Unitarian Ice Cream." / "There's nothing there." / "Exactly."
POTPOURRI. "Don't worry, Homer. Nine out of ten religions fail in their first year."
It's called Google, James. Check it out sometime!
UPDATE: So I'm watching the Simpsons this evening after dinner and it's the prison rodeo episode ("Pokey Mom" if you're a geek, Production Code CABF05 if you really need help). One of the prisoners gets trampled and the Warden announces, "Well don't feel too bad for him folks, he's here for erecting a nativity scene on city property!" The crowd boos loudly, during which Marge says gravely, shaking her head, "There's so much evil in the world!"
Yeah, those Simpsons folks really have it in for Christianity...