Posts Tagged ‘SARS 2: Corona Boogaloo


Sunday Evening Cartoons: Brad Goodman vs. Rona


“Let’s look at the rainbow. What’s in there?” – Brad Goodman

I’ve never had much use for “best episode” or “favorite season” discussions. I always enjoy talking Simpsons, even when I’m drinking my chicory, but trying to definitely say this essentially flawless episode is better than that essentially flawless episode has never seemed fun to me.

That being said, I recognize that “Marge vs. the Monorail” will always top “Bart’s Inner Child” in terms of popularity. The song alone puts the monorail episode ahead. But the one and only thing I never liked about “Marge vs. the Monorail”, even as a kid, was that Lyle Lanley gets caught. I get the joke (“Where have I heard that name before?”), and it is funny, but it implies an improbable karmic justice that the show usually doesn’t indulge.

“There he is, seat 3F!”

Lanley is a con artist who happens to sell monorails instead of band uniforms or patent medicine, and he fits right in with the show’s love of the lowest of the low brow aspects of American business. The man is an obvious charlatan, full of shit from tip to toe and not the least bit shy about it. He’s great. But the only way the show can give him his comeuppance is to have his plane make an unscheduled stop in North Haverbrook. Again: it’s funny, but the need for a justice is a little teevee.

On that score, I’ve always preferred “Bart’s Inner Child” for the simple reason that Brad Goodman is a *much* better con-man than Lyle Lanley for one simple reason: he gets away. By the time the people of Springfield realize that his self help bullshit is actually bullshit, they’ve built him a statue and he’s five towns down the road telling another sold out auditorium about the Feel Bad Rainbow.

“God is angry. We’ve made a false idol of this Brad Goodman!”

Goodman was based on Tony Robbins and a bunch of other 80s/90s scam artists who specialize(d) in acknowledging that people’s lives are bad and then peddling false hope. And if you’re wondering how Brad Goodman would be doing in the age of corona, well, Tony’s Twitter feed tells you all you need to know:

As the plague descends on the entire world, he’s plugging a movie and linking to crazy winger bullshit that says coronavirus isn’t that big a deal. When the plague passes, Robbins and guys like him will be running the exact same scam because that’s what Brad Goodman would do:

We all suffered during coronavirus, but we’ve survived, and that kind of toughness can help you succeed in life and in business. In my new book, I chart the seven paths of excellence . . .

The grift must go on. That’s what high hats like Goodman and Robbins believe, that there is no problem people face that cannot be solved by them giving you money.

In less immediately trying circumstances, this is the kind of admirable crookedness upon which fortunes are founded. In this perilous moment, it is, to quote the inimitable Al Swearengen, “Sick fucking ghoulish thinking.”

“What a type you must consort with, that you not fear beating for such an insult.”

A lot of people are going to die. No getting around that. But past the millions of sudden and unnecessary deaths that will traumatize populations the world over, there are the shitheel cockdents that believe they will get away with it. And they’re probably right.

Fuck them. Let’s go to the old mill anyway. Get some cider.*

(*2m social distancing still applies.)




Thursday Evening Cartoons

“We need a cure! We need a cure!” – Mob
“Why the only cure is bedrest. Anything I give you would only be a placebo.” – Dr. Hibbert
“Where do we get these placebos?!” – Panicked Woman
“Maybe there’s some in this truck!” – Panicked Man

Howdy, campers, how’s everyone doing with the ongoing unpleasantness? My life has certainly been turned upside down, though I’m on team “Stuck At Home” not team “Doing All the Real Work”, so I’ve got it fairly easy. And while there are a lot of people that I love and care about who are at risk or already suffering, so far nobody has died or lost their home. Don’t know how long that’s going to last, but [fingers crossed].

I have been knocked off my tram lines on doing Quotes of the Day. Those got shaky a couple years ago and moreso of late. Then with the “wait, what day is it” experience of the last three weeks, I finally fucked it up and let it lapse all the way. I guess eleven years and change will have to suffice for now.

Instead, let’s take a look at a timely Simpsons episode, the first act of which has nicely captured our real life episode of Love in the Time of SARS-CoV-2, or, more festively, SARS 2: Corona Boogaloo.

The “Osaka Flu” opening of “Marge in Chains” goes from Homer ordering useless junk off the TV to the town being abandoned by its rich and powerful to irresponsible media coverage and panicked mobs run amok in search of any protection (no matter how ineffective). About the only thing the episode wasn’t cynical enough about was that nobody blamed Akira for it, though, given that it was written at a time when the federal government was trying to make amends with Japanese-Americans and seemed to be progressing in many areas, that’s at least understandable.

But for the most devastatingly on the nose from a quarter century ago, we have Ned Flanders’ lament. A wealthy, white, Evangelical father of two who almost certainly would’ve voted Republican in 2016, Ned cries out, “Oh, the network slogan is true! Watch FOX and be damned for all eternity!”.



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