Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Serious lessons from The Simpsons

University students study serious stuff. They leave campus and go on to become doctors, lawyers, writers, and teachers. USF’s Gleeson Library had a graphic novel display for the month of February. Hundreds of titles from Budda to Adult Comics to the one I picked up, Simpsons Comics Royal.

Everyone knows about Bart and Homer. The favorite cartoon family we’ve all known over the past 20 years. Drinking beer, ringing his son’s neck, and the man who brought the world the phrase, “Doh!” Homer Simpson is not your typical father figure. Creator, Matt Groening has made a comic book of pure entertainment. In the middle of the book, however, is a letter from Matt to the young aspiring cartoonist. He gives advice on becoming what a young boy or girl may dream of becoming one day.

“Just be sure to pay attention, observe people’s behavior, and remember everything you can. Keep a journal if you dare. (This is general advice, not just for cartoonists).” As journalism students, this is sound advice. We observe and write. We don’t draw pictures, but this advice extends far beyond a young child dreaming of being the next Matt Groening.

“You may very well be stuck in some crummy little down in a crummy little school with a bunch of snobs and jerks and bullies tormenting you all the time. Ok, I sympathize with your personal hell-I’ve been there man- and it’s not much consolation. All the cartoonists you dig went through what you’re going through right now.” This is a lesson about growing up, getting through the hard stuff, and sticking it out. This is what a lot of the college experience can be like.

Whether we leave USF and become something serious; doctors, lawyers, journalists, or teachers, there is something to be learned in a comic book or graphic novel. It is serious, but masked in a non-serious way.


david silver said...


nice post, christina. i really like the quote you use from groening: "Just be sure to pay attention, observe people's behavior, and remember everything you can. Keep a journal if you dare. (This is general advice, not just for cartoonists)."

maybe next time he should replace the word journal with blog!

ChristinaK said...

hey! your blog just made me sit for an hour reading simpson quotes from imdb. lol. i'm kind of curious why one your labels says casino royal, or did you mean comic royal?