Following the most recent shift in power, many have been going berserk due to The Simpsons, that is said to have predicted prominent current events in the last 20 or so years.
For those who are unaware, The Simpsons is a popular television show on FOX that happens to be the world's longest running sitcom and animated series (I am writing this as a scholar and lifelong fan). Known especially for its brilliant use of satire, it has garnered a lot of public attention, namely for its possible predictions of current events. An episode that showed now President Donald Trump at a similar looking podium to the one he was pictured at in 2015 was said to have aired on March 19, 2000, 15 years before he pursued the campaign trail and came into office, which begs the question: Is it possible that a Trump presidency was predicted by these writers?
First of all, let it be known that many of the front-men on The Simpsons are mathematicians. The transference of mathematics into the show is mainly highlighted through subtle math jokes, symbolic numbering on taxicabs, and signs in the backgrounds, though only an incredibly observant (or math obsessed) viewer would be tuned in to see these and understand them. At first, it is understandable how one could come to such a conclusion because subtle cues often go unnoticed, but a recent statement released by writer and producer Dan Greaney revealed that this was not meant to actually predict Trump's presidency. It was described in The Guardian as a "warning to the U.S.," that reportedly "was the next logical step before hitting rock bottom."
Season 11 episode 17, "Bart of the Future," alluded to the possibility of a President Trump reigning before Lisa Simpson, the family's eldest daughter, would take on the role. This Trump was still meant to be "lighthearted and over the top, without this darkness," as further described by Greaney.
Trump was picked simply because it made sense with the plot. There existed a need for Lisa to be left with irreparable damage, as could have been predicted with a Trump presidency, even then. He had already filed for bankruptcy twice, on the Trump Taj Mahal in 1991 and Trump Plaza Hotel in 1992, accruing approximately $5 billion in debt and liabilities eight years before the episode aired, not to mention his two other bankruptcies and infamous $916 million tax deduction later on. Therefore, it should not have been a surprise for Secretary Van Houten (in the video) to have pointed out the stark economic decline after the fictional Trump presidency.
And to those who are still convinced, saying that they also predicted the attacks on 9/11, World War 3, and Donald Trump's death, I have this to say:
- The above images, said to have been gathered solely from "Bart of the Future," were actually gathered from two different episodes, none of them being "Bart of the Future." The frame in the upper right corner was actually taken from a clip made in 2012 to "endorse" Mitt Romney, and both frames on the left were from the season premiere of season 26, "Trumptastic Voyage," aired in the later stages of the election.
- While the map in the lower right corner is indicative of 2016 election results, all states that could have possibly gone Republican were colored red in the frame above it, and the number of swing states is highly unlikely to change over the course of 4 years. In other words, it is no coincidence that the states that could have swung for Romney were roughly the same ones to swing for Trump.
- Donald Trump is a human being and, yes, will eventually die (Sorry, Keith Olbermann. Bad things can happen to Donald Trump). I know I write a lot about the dehumanization of public figures, but this concept still boggles my mind.
This is not to say that this is entirely coincidence, but the evidence that was pulled to prove this "prediction" was entirely erroneous with the exception of the clip mentioning a tight budget inherited from Trump, which had already happened in business ventures taking place before 2000. Additionally, people, especially those who are not humble, are generally rigid and do not see a need or desire to change over the course of even twenty years' time. In other words, there was nothing to predict as the theory goes, just shamelessly project onto an easily swayed and misinformed public.