The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano has congratulated The Simpsons on its 20th anniversary, in an article headlined “Aristotle’s Virtues and Homer’s Doughnut.” According to the NYT, the article praised the show for its “realistic and intelligent writing” and said that Homer Simpson’s approach to religion was “a mirror of the indifference and the need that modern man feels toward faith.” This is accurate praise, and well-deserved; I’m no Simpsons expert — it’s one of the shows I rarely see any more, while enjoying it just about every time I see it — but based on my experiences of it many years ago, I’d say it has an insight into our culture that genuinely evokes the thrill of recognition. I’d love to read the full text of the Osservatore article in Italian, but it doesn’t seem to be available online — has anyone seen it?
Update: Thanks to a couple of readers for sending me this link. I concede that my Italian isn’t great, but I don’t think Ned Flanders is an “odiato bigotto” (hated bigot, right?). He’s somewhat narrow-minded theologically, to be sure, but not a bigot; also, I don’t think anyone but Homer actually dislikes him, and even that’s only because he sometimes makes Homer look bad. The reference to the Flanders kids as “suoi figli biblisti maniacali” is somewhat more accurate, but scants the fact that the show’s satire of the kids is generally good-natured . . .