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Sunday, 3 February, 2002, 18:57 GMT
Simpsons offer 'moral orientation'
The Simpsons
The Simpsons are "anxious" about moral issues
The Simpsons could help provide "moral orientation" for those pondering the meaning of life, according to a Scottish academic.

Dr Kris Jozajtis, from Stirling University, said the cult television cartoon offered an ideal reference point to help religious teachers discuss morality.

Now he is planning to highlight the role which could be played by the animated family during a conference at the Scottish campus.

The Simpsons are in many ways a source of moral orientation, even on the big issues

Dr Kris Jozajtis
The show has been condemned by some fundamentalist church groups in the United States.

Former US president George Bush once said American families needed to become "more like the Waltons, and less like the Simpsons".

However, Dr Jozajtis said: "The Simpsons are in many ways a source of moral orientation, even on the big issues such as the meaning of life and where we come from.

"They seem to be anxious about these sort of questions and they worry about what is a good and moral way to live.

Morals and values

"The Simpsons appeals to a wide variety of people and provides them with a very realistic view of how families deal with morally complex issues."

He pointed out that the programme frequently raised these dilemmas through its satirisation of issues like teenage drinking and adultery.

And he said: "In talking about religion, teachers should be asking children where they find their morals and values because they do consider all of these issues, if not so much in the traditional way.

"And even if they are committed Christians, or from any other religion, their frame of reference is still within a media-saturated cultural environment."

See also:

31 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
Simpsons 'more interesting' than Royalty
22 Jun 00 | Entertainment
Homer and Bart head for Britain
13 Jan 00 | Entertainment
Wahooo! Simpsons celebrate 10 years
23 Mar 01 | Reviews
The Simpsons go Wrestling
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