Monday, July 09, 2007

The Heart of Homer

I've always thought there was something Zen-like about the D'Oh! of Homer.

There's a great profile of America's everyman in the Times UK, in which he comes off looking pretty good for a loser. But what redeems him, according to the profile, is his heart and his capacity for love.

Key quote:

Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, once said The Simpsons was “one of the most subtle pieces of propaganda around in the cause of sense, humility and virtue”. Homer is, in spite of everything, a good man.

Homer is good because, above all, he is capable of great love. When the chips are down, he always does the right thing by his children – rejecting an offer of $1m from Mr Burns for a teddy bear of Maggie’s – and by Marge – he is never unfaithful in spite of several opportunities. And it’s not because he fears being found out; it’s because he can’t. What Marge understands and what her sisters don’t is that having all of Homer is far, far better than having half of any ordinary man.

This capacity for love dwarfs his failings. Even God sees this. Homer can’t stand his fundamentalist Christian neighbour, Flanders, and is bored to death by the sermons of the weary Reverend Lovejoy. He also has little time for the Bible – “If the Bible has taught us nothing else,” he tells Lisa, “and it hasn’t, it’s that girls should stick to girls’ sports.” But when God drops in for a chat, he discovers in Homer a surprisingly convincing theology. Basically, this is that life is tough and humans are hopeless but, without making a fuss about it, God is always there as the last safety net. And, when He’s not around, there’s love.

“It is Homer,” writes Mark Pinsky in his book The Gospel According to The Simpsons, “who has the most personal relationship with God.”

Check out the whole profile -- it's interesting.

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