Tikkun Winter 2019 (34.1) - Page 31

her, told her I was writing for Tikkun maga- LS: Well, you make the common mistake of equating the characters we play as actors on zine, and asked if she was familiar with the the show with who we actually are. In fact, my spiritually progressive journal. “Of course,” parents, Marge and Homer, have been part she said, smiling and shaking her spiky yel- of a progressive group of cartoon actors, the low curls. “We’re subscribers! We were intro- Activist Cartoon Association (ACA) for years, duced to Tikkun by our dear friend, Krusty and they imbued us kids with the importance the Clown.” That would be Krusty Krustofsky, of fighting for justice, equality, and a better whom I knew, from watching The Simpsons, world. The ACA originated back in the 1950’s was estranged from his Orthodox rabbi father. What I did not know, and which Lisa now told with several disgruntled Disney characters, most notably with our friend Donald—Duck, of me, was that Krusty had become interested in course, not Trump! You really should read the the Chasidic tendency in Judaism and then in 1973 “Interview with Donald Duck” in Radi- the Jewish Renewal movement. Her friendship cal America, Vol 7, No.1. During the 1950’s, the with Krusty had piqued her interest in Jewish group was mostly involved with both the fight history and culture, and led her to push The against McCarthyism, and at the same time re- Simpsons’ writers to bring this history into sisting the more conservative strains in the po- Simpsons’ episodes. In the 1991 episode, “Like litical theory of Theodore Father, Like Clown”, she had and the Frankfurt to delve into the Talmud, My own family has worked, and Adorno School of social theory. when she and Bart tried sometimes struggled, with our More recently the ACA has to heal the breach between fought for cultural, racial Krusty and his father—“I creator, Matt Groening, and and ethnic diversity in got some dynamite stuff with our various writers, to comics and animation, for from Rabbi Simon Ben bring more social commentary the realistic portrayal of Eliazar”. And with that, I and for the intro- felt fully comfortable ask- as well as more character depth women, duction of LGBTQ charac- ing if she would consent to to The Simpsons episodes. ters—and very importantly, an interview. She graciously for more creative collabo- agreed, and later that al- ration between us cartoon ready remarkable afternoon we sat down in a actors and the people who write for us. My own Georgetown coffee shop. We settled in quickly family has worked, and sometimes struggled, as Lisa brought her own booster chair and with our creator, Matt Groening, and with our asked for a cup of Moroccan mint tea. We spent various writers, to bring more social commen- a few minutes sharing our euphoria about the tary as well as more character depth to The march, and its significance for the future of the Simpsons episodes. country. I then tapped the “record” button on my iPhone and we got down to— MS: And the ACA continues to this day? “ ” THE INTERVIEW: MS: Lisa, I’m just going to jump right in. As a progressive feminist, do you ever feel at odds with the other members of your family? VOL. 34, NO. 1 LS: Oh, yes! ACA continues discussing political and social issues, and even has a long standing reading group to keep itself educated. I re- member when they read Marcuse’s One Dimen- sional Man, my father, Homer, wrote to Mar- cuse, complaining that the title was offensive to © 2019 TIKKUN MAGAZINE 31