On The Banksy Simpsons Opening

Okay, so everyone’s talking about it and some people (for some reason) want to know what I think. If you haven’t seen it, here it is, until Fox orders its removal. (Watch it quick!)

First of all, Clerks the cartoon show did it first. (At 0:54, although the rest of the clip is simply awesome. (This one clip has provided at least five lines that Garrett and Diane and I fling at each other all the time. Car full of midgets!))

Also: Mike Konopacki (whose niece I once taught) did a comic about The Simpsons’ animation outsourcing back in 1993 (although apparently it’s not online). Mad in USA, Kerr Comics. This is not a new issue. It just took a show with the clout and sociopolitical capital like The Simpsons and an artist with the guts of Banksy to shove it in America’s face.

And — what a shock — it makes us uncomfortable. Well, tough [bad word], people. Welcome to the realities of free-market fundamentalist global capital. Go read Ho Joon Chang’s Bad Samaritans and watch the documentary film The Corporation before you start pretending like this is beyond the pale.

I can’t wait to hear someone come to the defense of outsourcing: “It’s not that bad! We don’t use unicorns! We use rhinoceros horns to punch DVD holes!” ROFL

Art at its best holds a mirror to society and shows us what we might like to ignore. Like Colette said: “Look at that which pleases you for a long time. And look at that which displeases you for a longer time.” I’m sorry if it’s better to retreat into our mythological fantasyland of “Oh I buy the Salvadoran coffee at Starbucks so I’m making a difference in the world economy” — thanks, Zizek — but the truth is that this stuff requires systemic change and we’re not going to overcome slave labor (excuse me, near slave labor) by individual consumer choices.

Blah blah whatever.. I’m going to go play video games. I’d link to Braintax’s “Last Tenner” but it has all kinds of bad words and who knows which students of mine (or their parents) may be looking in. So instead here’s a censored version of some of the lyrics, drawn off my memory:

[BEEP] it, let’s go and get drunk
we’re plugging gaps in the ship, man, it already sunk
I tried giving it to charity, the world’s still broke
I paid taxes for the bombs, and that ain’t no joke
[BEEP] it, let’s go and get drunk
[BEEP] it, let’s go and get drunk
repeat several dozen times

PS. Finding refuge in alcohol and drugs is just running away from your problems, kids.. Fight the power! etc etc blah blah whatever

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