The Simpsons and Society: An Analysis of Our Favorite Family and Its Influence in Contemporary Society

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A recent internet poll of "most admired Americans" placed the comic everyman Homer Simpson at the top of the heap, outdistancing such patriotic figures as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan. What does that say about the United States of America? What would Immanuel Kant say about Homer's approach to parenting? What would Neil Postman say about Homer's excessive television watching? How does The Simpsons portray Descartes' Evil Genius argument? In what ways does...
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Overview

A recent internet poll of "most admired Americans" placed the comic everyman Homer Simpson at the top of the heap, outdistancing such patriotic figures as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan. What does that say about the United States of America? What would Immanuel Kant say about Homer's approach to parenting? What would Neil Postman say about Homer's excessive television watching? How does The Simpsons portray Descartes' Evil Genius argument? In what ways does Homer represent the industrialized employee?

In The Simpsons and Society, Steven Keslowitz explores the world of The Simpsons as it relates to contemporary society. Inside, readers will find discussions of whether Homer is a good father, whether Bart is truly America's "bad boy", whether Maggie should remain quiet, and whether Lisa is truly a "Simpson." Additionally, Keslowitz addresses the age old question of whether money invariably creates happiness, as he analyzes the actions and mindset of the rich capitalist, C. Montgomery Burns. And, just for fun, Keslowitz also analyzes the importance of Marge's hair.

Keslowitz has also included essays pertaining to medical malpractice (Dr. Nick), media culture, American Exceptionalism, how The Simpsons matches up against other TV sitcoms (specifically focusing on how Homer's parenting techniques compare with those utilized by Bill Cosby on The Cosby Show), Simpsonian news and views, Descartes' Evil Genius argument, American Industrialization, and more. Each essay relates some aspect of American culture to Simpsonian life. Full of quotes, jokes, and insight, this book is for every Simpsons fan! As Homer would say ... mmm ... bookalicious.

About the Author:
Steven Keslowitz is a University Scholar in the CUNY Honors College at Brooklyn College. He is currently employed as a writing tutor and a Classics tutor in the Brooklyn College Learning Center. He also writes for the Brooklyn College Newspaper, The Excelsior. He was named a winner in two national essay contests (Kaplun 2000, 2002 contests).

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Editorial Reviews

Larry McShane
In "The Simpsons and Society," Keslowitz fixes a serious eye on America's favorite dysfunctional cartoon crew, looking for deeper meaning in the antics of Krusty the Klown, Chief Wiggum and the rest of the twisted townsfolk. He actually finds some, too. ... takes on the big topics, with a tone that's alternately serious and slapstick.
The Associated Press
NY Daily News
Homer Simpson--philosopher? Academic? Model parent? D'oh! While most fans of "The Simpsons" watch it for laughs, Steven Keslowitz, a 19-year-old Brooklyn College sophomore, has found so much social relevance in the animated television show that he has written a book on the subject... The more [Keslowitz] watched the show, the more he realized the writers were touching on very important social and philosophical issues, many of which he addresses in the book.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781587362538
  • Publisher: Wheatmark, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/28/2003
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 5.56 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
Homer Quotes
Introduction: The Simpsons: More than "Just a Cartoon"

Section 1
Chapter 1 Is Homer a Good Father?
Chapter 2 Bart: America's Bad Boy?
Chapter 3 Marge: Holding the Family Together
Chapter 4 Lisa: True Simpson or Potential Future College Student?
Chapter 5 To Speak or Not to Speak: Maggie Simpson vs. Stewie Griffin
Chapter 6 C. Montgomery Burns and the Pursuit of True Happiness
Chapter 7 The Practice of Dr. Hibbert vs. the Malpractice of Dr. Nick (and a Small Dose of Dr. Steve)
Chapter 8 The Minor Characters
Chapter 9 The Simpsons vs. Other Television Sitcoms

Section 2--Simpsonian Themes: The Simpsons On...
Chapter 10 The Importance of Cartoons in a Contemporary Society

Cartoons and Global Politics: Animation as a Source of Contemporary
Commentary on World Affairs
Ay Carumba! Simpsonian News and Views
Essay # 1 Politics and the Typographic Mind
Essay # 2 The Political Television Commercial: A Shift in Political Discourse
Essay # 3 Why American Exceptionalism Should Cease to Exist
Essay # 4 The Effects of Industrialization on the Worker: Homer Simpson as the Industrialized Employee
Essay # 5 A Critical Evaluation of Descartes' Meditation I

Conclusion
Bibliography
A Special Message to My Nuclear Family
Acknowledgments
About the Author
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2005

    This books, and these positive reviews, are a scam

    This is one of the most ridiculous attempts at writing you will see published and sold in any bookstore. It is little more than a collection of--often incorrect--quotes, and childish thoughts. There is no coherent structure, no argument, no idea behind it other than to slap together a little more than a hundred pages on the Simpsons and market it as an academic work. It is not. The author and/or his friends have flooded this and other websites with positive reviews about this trash, but don't be hoodwinked or you will regret it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2004

    The Simpsons and Society!

    The Simpsons and Society provides readers with an in-depth analysis of the popular television series. Keslowitz's essays provide a breadth of information. The book is, at turns, fun, interesting, and enlightening. The Simpsons and Society is the type of book that is intended to be read more than once because of the author's inclusion of numerous Simpsons quotes. It's a nice academic book, though not quite as complex as The Simpsons and Philosophy. It's an easier read, but well worth doing so. In 150 pages, Keslowitz proves his thesis: The Simpsons is certainly more than 'just a cartoon', as he notes. The academic essays at the back of the book make it suitable for academic college courses taught on The Simpsons. I'd recommend this book to professors and students of Simpsons studies. Well-written, intellectual, and funny, the book is a terrific read if you're a Simpsons fan. And if you're not a Simpsons fan, start watching the show! THE SIMPSONS - GREATEST TV SERIES OF ALL TIME

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2004

    Simpsons and Society: An Analysis of Our Favorite Family and Its Influence in Contemporary Society

    Simpsons fans should like this book. I'm a bit confused by the one or two negative reviews. If you watch the television show, you'll appreciate the author's use of quotes and some of his academic insight. I also recommend Mark Pinsky's 'A Gospel According to The Simpsons', in addition to this book. I'd buy both together -- they serve to supplement the viewing of Simpsons episodes. Enjoyable if you like social commentary. An exploration of the nuclear family. Best part: The Practice of Dr. Hibbert vs. The Malpractice of Dr. Nick.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2004

    Simpsons and Society: An Analysis of Our Favorite Family and Its Influence in Contemporary Society

    Here's what you need to truly enjoy The Simpsons: a television, some heavily salted snack treats, a VCR to record the show, The Simpsons Episode Guide Books (all 3), AND this book = 'The Simpsons and Society' by Steven Keslowitz :) As a writer and as a fan of The Simpsons, I am writing this review to commend both The Simpsons television series on FOX AND the great work that author Steven Keslowitz must have put into 'The Simpsons and Society'. I share the author's wish that The Simpsons should continue for many years to come. I'd like to acknowledge The Simpsons Archive (www.snpp.com) for posting information about 'The Simpsons and Society'. The book was a pleasure to read! Here's why: Here come The Simpsons! In this book, the author explains the various ways in which the main characters relate to aspects of our daily lives. For example, Keslowitz discusses the ways in which Bart has -- and has not -- influenced the behavior of American children. Bart's tremendous status as a modern icon of Americana is well-known, but is treated here with great interest and academic insight. The chapters were meticulously put together - that's a credit to the publisher as well as the author. ***Perhaps the most important part of reading this book is that its contents serve to enhance the viewing and re-viewing of classic Simpsons episodes. As fans of the series know, it is important to watch each episode at least several times in order to grasp the satire and all of the scholarly/academic references that the writers make on a consistent basis. Keslowitz outlines many of these references, and when I went back and watched several episodes discussed within the text, I appreciated the book even more. Unlike 'The Simpsons and Philosophy', 'The Simpsons and Society' provides fans with a book that can be read in a relatively short period of time, but still provides the academic insight and quality writing found in the other academic Simpsons books. If you enjoyed 'The Simpsons and Philosophy', and you're a fan of The Simpsons, you'll love 'The Simpsons and Society'. It's cheaper than some of the other Simpsons books out there, and it's a great read. It's truly refreshing to read a book by an author who is such a die-hard fan of the greatest television series ever produced. 'The Simpsons and Society' satisfied my desire to read more about elements contained within The Simpsons. In short: Interesting social commentary + The Simpsons = 'The Simpsons and Society' I've been watching The Simpsons for years, and I think it's great that solid social commentary is being published about the series. If you call yourself a fan of The Simpsons, read this book... A+++ *** Why no voting buttons? We don't let customers vote on their own reviews, so the voting buttons appear only when you look at reviews submitted by others.*** 1 of 1 people found the following review helpful: AN INTERESTING ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF AMERICAN SATIR, January 4, 2004 Reviewer: A reader from Virginia Beach, VA In 'The Simpsons and Society', author Steven Keslowitz enables the reader to truly enter the world of Springfield. The character analyses, which make up the first several chapters of the book are right on key. The numerous quotes and episode references make the book a delightful and intriguing read. I read the book over the course of only a few days, as the chapters flow smoothly and are generally easy to read. In fact, I would say that that is one of the fine points of the book: the book is scholarly AND funny AND easy reading. I would assume that it was written to be used as a text in classes and for fans of the series. This is not the first academic Simpsons book that I have read, and it certainly will not be the last. The television audience is finally beginning to realize the intellectual value of The Simpsons, and authors such as Keslowitz ('The Simpsons and Society'), Irwin ('The Simpsons and Philosophy'), and Pinsky ('The Gospel Acco

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2003

    EXCELLENT BOOK!

    This is an excellent Simpsons book. It's funny, and at the same time, insightful. A great book, and a great gift item as well... Great for Simpsons fans...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2003

    Not quite there

    Writing about The Simpsons means dealing with a limited body of information, one where you can check against an authoratative source (the show) and NEVER be wrong. Yet the author manages to make several mistakes. Alcohol is the cause of and ANSWER to all of life's problems? Any true Simpsons fan knows it is the cause of and SOLUTION to all of life's problems. 'Brawl in the Family' is the episode in which the Flanders take in the Simpson children? Wrong. 'Brawl in the Family' is the episode in which the Simpsons go to jail over a Monopoly-related dispute. The episode in which the Flanders take in the Simpson children is 'Home Sweet Home-diddly-dum-doodly.' I'm not saying that every Simpsons fan ought to know or catch these mistakes, but if you're writing a book to be sold to Simpsons fans, put in the time to make sure the information you present is correct. On another note, what I have read is not as deep as I had expected having read the philosophy and religion books (which I highly recommend). A list of Homer's abilities and inabilities as a father is not quite as probative as I had hoped. Also, the more intellectual essays in the second half of the book often had minimal reference to The Simpsons. The essay on American Exceptionalism, for example, mentioned The Simpsons ONCE by giving a quote from Bart. The example Keslowitz used was certainly relevant, but insufficient. Including this essay in a book about The Simpsons ought to mean that the essay discusses the topic in relation to The Simpsons, not with an off-hand reference. It sometimes seemed as though these essays were written first and then a Simpsons reference was inserted to justify inclusion in the book. To the author: While people are finally beginning to realize the intellectualism within The Simpsons and while books analyzing The Simpsons within intellectual fields are popular now, don't write one unless you plan to do it right. And you didn't do it right. There is some potential to your idea, though. I would suggest producing a second edition that is more probative. Skip the lists (why do we need several pages that simply list characters??) and the essay topics that don't quite apply. Instead, watch The Simpsons with an eye toward the bigger picture then write the essays based on what you saw. For this book, it seems as though you watched the world with an eye toward the bigger picture then wrote the essays and forced The Simpsons in.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2004

    Do Not Buy This Book If You Read Beyond An 8th Grade Level

    This book is terrible, and by far the worst Simpsons related piece of writing on the market. The content is worthless and the writing style is painful. As a die-hard fan I felt a duty to finish the book; the best thing I can say about it is that it was short, and printed in huge font. Nice cover though. Normally I'm not one to complain (caveat emptor and all that), but I cannot abide the obvious planting of fake ratings by the author at this site and at other online bookstores. Potential buyers use those ratings to make their purchasing decisions, and by planting fake comments the author is essentially defrauding those who purchase his work. Shameful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2003

    Simpsons and Society: An Analysis of Our Favorite Family and Its Influence in Contemporary Society

    Great Simpsons book... I recommend this book to every fan. A great study of popular culture and Simpsonian life. A funny, informative book based on the greatest TV series of all time! Long live The Simpsons...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2003

    Simpsons and Society: An Analysis of Our Favorite Family and Its Influence in Contemporary Society

    This is a great book!! I just read through my copy of 'The Simpsons and Society'... The book is a MUST READ for every Simpsons fan. It is an insightful analysis of The Simpsons television series. 'The Simpsons and Society' uniquely demonstrates that The Simpsons is more than a cartoon. In fact, the author notes that The Simpsons provides viewers with both comedy and the opportunity to uncover its inherent intellectual nature. The author taps into both the satirical and intellectual elements that have made the series so successful throughout the years. The author's use of great Simpsons quotes to purvey academic messages and insight make this book a 5-star read. I particularly enjoyed the sections devoted to Simpsonian politics, media culture, and medical malpractice (Hi Everybody! Hi, Dr. Nick!) I highly recommend this book to every Simpsons fan, and everyone else interested in reading about how popular culture infiltrates our lives. You gotta buy 'The Simpsons and Society'! You're going to enjoy it!

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