I always believed in my heart that we had a great deal in common
When Marge Simpson wrote to the First Lady
The following exchange is taken from the second volume of Letters of Note. Copies of that beautiful book can be purchased here.
First Lady Barbara Bush received a letter from the unlikeliest of sources in 1990, as a result of an article in People magazine in which she described The Simpsons as being “the dumbest thing [she] had ever seen”. She couldn’t have imagined that such a quote would elicit a response from the cartoon family itself, but it did, in the form of a reply from Marge Simpson that soon arrived at the White House. An apologetic letter from Barbara Bush followed, and it can be seen below.
Tensions between the two families resurfaced two years later, when Barbara’s husband, then-US President George H. W. Bush, promised: “We’re going to keep trying to strengthen the American family. To make them more like the Waltons and less like the Simpsons.” The next episode of The Simpsons featured an amended opening sequence in which, after watching Bush’s speech on television, Bart responded: “Hey, we’re just like the Waltons. We’re praying for an end to the Depression too.”
September 28, 1990
Dear First Lady:
I recently read your criticism of my family. I was deeply hurt. Heaven knows we’re far from perfect and, if truth be known, maybe just a wee bit short of normal; but as Dr. Seuss says, “a person is a person”.
I try to teach my children Bart, Lisa, and even little Maggie, always to give somebody the benefit of the doubt and not talk badly about them, even if they’re rich. It’s hard to get them to understand this advice when the very First Lady in the country calls us not only dumb, but “the dumbest thing” she ever saw. Ma’am, if we’re the dumbest thing you ever saw, Washington must be a good deal different than what they teach me at the current events group at the church.
I always believed in my heart that we had a great deal in common. Each of us living our lives to serve an exceptional man. I hope there is some way out of this controversy. I thought, perhaps, it would be a good start to just speak my mind.
With great respect,
How kind of you to write. I’m glad you spoke your mind; I foolishly didn’t know you had one.
I am looking at a picture of you, depicted on a plastic cup, with your blue hair filled with pink birds peeking out all over. Evidently, you and your charming family — Lisa, Homer, Bart and Maggie — are camping out. It is a nice family scene. Clearly you are setting a good example for the rest of the country.
Please forgive a loose tongue.
P.S. Homer looks like a handsome fella!