People have long viewed The Simpsons as a kind of animated Nostradamus, which is easy to do if you apply creative standards for accuracy. So let’s be clear: Unless you’re totally joking, it’s ridiculously inaccurate to suggest an episode of The Simpsons predicted the coronavirus outbreak and hell breaking loose in the form of murder hornets (a,k.a. Asian giant hornets), even if you try to soften the assertion with qualifiers like “may have predicted.” But hey, this is the internet, where grabbing attention matters more than being attentive to reality. It’s a depressing state of affairs, but so is reality. No wonder Barney Gumble drinks like his liver’s life depends on it.
Okay, where did this claim come from, and what makes it dumber than the Satanic Flanders’ minions who thought they could torture Homer with doughnuts? As Forbes reports, a 1993 episode titled Marge in Chains includes the emergence of the so-called “Osaka flu,” which flew to Springfield after a worker coughed on packages. As a Twitter user observed, the desperate denizens of Springfield clamor for a cure, but the only solution is bedrest. All else would be a placebo, but even a bogus cure appeals to them, so they open up a wooden crate containing killer bees. Now for the stinging rebuke of this claim.
Don't bee-lieve the hype
Let’s just start off by pointing out that Osaka is in Japan, not China, where the coronavirus outbreak originated. One might argue that it’s close enough, but would you say a fictional event set in Canada predicted a real-life equivalent in Cuba because they’re both part of North America? (At least those places both begin with ‘C’ and end with ‘A’). Moreover, as noted by Forbes, the novel coronavirus isn’t known to spread through packages. And just in case this needs reiterating, the coronavirus is not the flu.
But what about the murder hornets? Boy, where to begin. Let’s start with a senior scientist at the Entomology Research Museum at the University of California at Riverside by the name of Doug Yanega. Yanega told Business Insider that the hornets are “not an existential threat to mankind or to the US or to our honeybee industry to have.” Also note that these hornets are not bees – they kill bees. Plus, per the USDA, killer bees reached the United States in 1990, and let’s not forget that bee allergies kill people, too. Does no one remember the 1991 classic My Girl, or as it should have been called, Funeral Home Alone, in which Macaulay Culkin dies from bee stings? In short, Marge in Chains didn’t predict anything. But much like horoscopes, the vague similarities can seem a lot like concrete predictions.
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