I attended a conference in DC last week at which I learned to be an advocate for multiple sclerosis on Capitol Hill. We heard about how to package our message and then sat down with members of the House and Senate or their staffs and discussed bills before them that we feel strongly about. I am writing an article about all this for an upcoming issue of MSFocus, the quarterly publication of the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. (Read old issues or subscribe to new ones here.) In the course of penning this literary masterpiece, I decided a reference to the classic 1939 Jimmy Stewart movie, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, was in order.
But I wasn’t sure if it was safe to assume the film was in fact part of our society’s shared culture. I wondered if the average 20 to 40-year-old would know about it. So I asked my 20-something son if he was familiar with the movie. Oh yes, he immediately said. But then he went on to elaborate. His knowledge came from a spoof done on the Simpsons. Further research indicates that Groening and crew parodied the film not once, but twice.
In ancient society the common lore was passed on through story telling around campfires. Today we rely on the Simpsons. Cartoons imitate movies imitate life.