The high-falutin’ blog for the Oxford University Press has decided to climb down from its ivory tower to discuss something even the simplest of slack-jawed yokels can understand: The Simpsons. In his post “Embiggening English: The Simpsons and changing language,” Professor Michael Adams of Indiana University at Bloomington argues that Matt Groening’s ever-expanding universe has greatly influenced modern English in a surprisingly vast assortment of ways. The two prime examples that Adams holds up for evaluation are the original Simpsons’ creations of “d’oh” and “meh,” which Adams says:
reduce experience to the minimal elements of speech, just two speech sounds each, fewer than in some other interjections—aha! and oh, dear, for instance—and all of the expletives that come to mind.
It’s a pretty fascinating (and brief) read that reminds folks that just because it’s a cartoon doesn’t mean it’s dumb (non-Seth Macfarlane, non-American Dad division, anyways). There are other examples that Adams uses, and they all underline how good The Simpsons is at perfectly encapsulating the human experience in a few words that universally resounded with audiences. The Simpsons once churned out linguistic memes faster than Moe’s family restaurant could flash-fry a buffalo, which makes it a perfectly cromulent source for language and existential insight.