Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

"People Who Look Like Things"

Representations of Disability in The Simpsons

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2013), 7, (3), 255–270.

Abstract

The article discusses the television series The Simpsons in the context of disability studies. Referring to David Mitchell and Sharon Snyder's theory of narrative prosthesis, the argument is that their notion of disability as a metaphorical device falls short of the specific function of disability in satire as both a source of humor and social commentary. As the reading of The Simpsons suggests, the show uses images of the grotesque as a form of graphic humor; furthermore, these images provide potentials of distanciation and critical thinking concerning the objectification of disability in the dominant discourse and the visualization of it in the media.

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Hodge, Barry. "King-Size Homer: Ideology and Representation." 1996. The Simpsons Archive. Web. 23 October 2012. King-Size Homer: Ideology and Representation The Simpsons Archive. Google Scholar

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Turner, Chris. Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Defined a Generation. Cambridge: Da Capo, 2004. Print. Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Defined a Generation Google Scholar

US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. "Resources for Human Development Settles EEOC Disability Suit for $125,000: Court Upholds Severe Obesity as an ADA-Protected Impairment." EEOC.gov. Press Release. 10 April 2012. Web. 23 October 2012. Google Scholar

Wann, Marilyn. "Fat Studies: An Invitation to Revolution." The Fat Studies Reader. Ed. Esther Rothblum and Sondra Solovay. New York: NYU P, 2009. xi-xxv. Print. The Fat Studies Reader xi xxv Google Scholar

Wells, Paul. Animation and America. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 2002. Print. Animation and America Google Scholar

White, Julia. "‘Krazy Kripples’: Using South Park to Talk about Disability." Building edagogical Curb Cuts: Incorporating Disability in the University Classroom and Curriculum. Ed. Liat Ben-Moshe et al. Syracuse: the Graduate School, Syracuse University, 2005. 67-75. Print. Building edagogical Curb Cuts: Incorporating Disability in the University Classroom and Curriculum 67 75 Google Scholar

Arnold, David L. G. "Use a Pen, Sideshow Bob." Leaving Springfield: The Simpsons and the Possibility of Oppositional Culture. Ed. John Alberti. Detroit: Wayne State UP, 2004. 1-28. Print. Leaving Springfield: The Simpsons and the Possibility of Oppositional Culture 1 28 Google Scholar

Bakhtin, Mikhail. Rabelais and His World. Trans. Helene Iswolsky. Cambridge: MIT P, 1968. Print. Rabelais and His World Google Scholar

"Black Widower." Commentary. The Simpsons: The Complete Third Season. 20th Century Fox, 2003. DVD. Google Scholar

Bratt, John. "Mr. Simpson, I Presume." Baltimore Injury Lawyer Blog. 7 October 2010. Web. 23 October 2012. Mr. Simpson, I Presume Baltimore Injury Lawyer Blog. Google Scholar

Cherry, James A., and Gary Goldberg. "[3F05] King-Size Homer." 22 Feburary 1997. The Simpsons Archive. Web. 23 October 2012. [3F05] King-Size Homer The Simpsons Archive. Google Scholar

Chew, Kristina. "Disabilities and the Media." Battleground: The Media. Ed. Robin Andersen and Jonathan Gray. Santa Barbara: Greenwood, 2007. 123-30. ABC-CLIO eBook Collection. Web. 2 November 2010. Battleground: The Media 123 30 Google Scholar

Farrell, Amy Erdman. Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture. New York: NYU P, 2011. Print. Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture Google Scholar

Fox-Kales, Emily. Body Shots: Hollywood and the Culture of Eating Disorders. Albany: State U of New York P, 2011. Print. Body Shots: Hollywood and the Culture of Eating Disorders Google Scholar

Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie. Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature. New York: Columbia UP, 1997. Print. Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature Google Scholar

Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie. Staring: How We Look. New York: Oxford UP, 2009. Print. Staring: How We Look Google Scholar

Gray, Jonathan. Watching with The Simpsons: Television, Parody, and Intertextuality. New York: Routledge, 2006. Print. Watching with The Simpsons: Television, Parody, and Intertextuality Google Scholar

Hayward, Susan. Cinema Studies: The Key Concepts. 3rd edn. London: Routledge, 2006. Print. Cinema Studies: The Key Concepts Google Scholar

Hodge, Barry. "King-Size Homer: Ideology and Representation." 1996. The Simpsons Archive. Web. 23 October 2012. King-Size Homer: Ideology and Representation The Simpsons Archive. Google Scholar

Lockyer, Sharon, and Michael Pickering. "Introduction: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Humour and Comedy." Beyond a Joke: The Limits of Humour. Ed. Sharon Lockyer and Michael Pickering. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. 1-24. Print. Beyond a Joke: The Limits of Humour 1 24 Google Scholar

Longmore, Paul. "Screening Stereotypes: Images of Disabled People in Television and Motion Pictures." Images of the Disabled, Disabling Images. Ed. Alan Gartner and Tom Joe. New York: Praeger, 1987. 65-78. Print. Images of the Disabled, Disabling Images 65 78 Google Scholar

Mallett, Rebecca. "Choosing ‘Stereotypes’: Debating the Efficiancy of (British) Disability-Criticism." Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs 9.1 (2009): 4-11. Print. Choosing ‘Stereotypes’: Debating the Efficiancy of (British) Disability-Criticism Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs 9 4 11 Google Scholar

Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie. "Claiming Comedic Immunity: Or, What Do You Get When You Cross Contemporary British Comedy with Disability?" Review of Disability Studies 6.3 (2010): 5-14. Print. Claiming Comedic Immunity: Or, What Do You Get When You Cross Contemporary British Comedy with Disability? Review of Disability Studies 6 5 14 Google Scholar

Mitchell, David T., and Sharon L. Snyder. Narrative Prosthesis: Disability and the Dependencies of Discourse. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2000. Print. Narrative Prosthesis: Disability and the Dependencies of Discourse Google Scholar

Mittell, Jason. "Cartoon Realism: Genre Mixing and the Cultural Life of The Simpsons." The Velvet Light Trap 47 (2001): 15-28. Print. Cartoon Realism: Genre Mixing and the Cultural Life of The Simpsons The Velvet Light Trap 47 15 28 Google Scholar

Morreall, John. Taking Laughter Seriously. Albany: State U of New York P, 1983. Print. Taking Laughter Seriously Google Scholar

Rhodes, Carl. "D'Oh: The Simpsons, Popular Culture, and the Organizational Carnival." Journal of Management Inquiry 10.4 (2001): 374-83. Print. D'Oh: The Simpsons, Popular Culture, and the Organizational Carnival Journal of Management Inquiry 10 374 83 Google Scholar

Shakespeare, Tom. "Joking a Part." Body and Society 5.4 (1999): 47-52. Print. Joking a Part Body and Society 5 47 52 Google Scholar

Turner, Chris. Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Defined a Generation. Cambridge: Da Capo, 2004. Print. Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Defined a Generation Google Scholar

US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. "Resources for Human Development Settles EEOC Disability Suit for $125,000: Court Upholds Severe Obesity as an ADA-Protected Impairment." EEOC.gov. Press Release. 10 April 2012. Web. 23 October 2012. Google Scholar

Wann, Marilyn. "Fat Studies: An Invitation to Revolution." The Fat Studies Reader. Ed. Esther Rothblum and Sondra Solovay. New York: NYU P, 2009. xi-xxv. Print. The Fat Studies Reader xi xxv Google Scholar

Wells, Paul. Animation and America. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 2002. Print. Animation and America Google Scholar

White, Julia. "‘Krazy Kripples’: Using South Park to Talk about Disability." Building edagogical Curb Cuts: Incorporating Disability in the University Classroom and Curriculum. Ed. Liat Ben-Moshe et al. Syracuse: the Graduate School, Syracuse University, 2005. 67-75. Print. Building edagogical Curb Cuts: Incorporating Disability in the University Classroom and Curriculum 67 75 Google Scholar

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Fink, Moritz

Fink, Moritz