John Early Is Figuring Out How to Be Sincere

As the star of the sharp new indie ‘Stress Positions,’ the irreverent comic works in a more serious vein. He tells Cracked why he’s getting comfortable with being earnest — even if he’s scared everyone will think he’s pretentious

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This ‘Simpsons’ Showrunner Is Pushing Back on Bogus ‘Simpsons’ ‘Predictions’

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This ‘Simpsons’ Showrunner Is Pushing Back on Bogus ‘Simpsons’ ‘Predictions’

Thanks to the power of A.I., The Simpsons can predict every tragic news story in real time, making every mouth-breathing attention-craver on Twitter a veritable Kent Brockman of breaking fake news.

Earlier this week, when the Francis Scott Key bridge in Baltimore collapsed after a container ship that had lost power collided with one of the supports, it took the internet approximately 15 seconds to flood everyone’s feed with tasteless, unoriginal and too-soon jokes about the disaster that took the lives of six construction workers and continues to cripple the Charm City. Terminally online wannabe comedians trying to use tragedy to score their 15 minutes of internet fame is not a new phenomenon, but since the advancement of publicly available generative A.I. tools, an extra layer of disinformation has been added onto the soul-crushing clamor for clicks in the wake of deadly events.

Shortly after the bridge collapse, an incredibly popular and artistically bankrupt Twitter “comedy” account that doesn’t deserve a name drop in this article posted what appeared to be an image from The Simpsons showing Homer as he watched a cargo ship crash into a bridge with the caption, “Simpsons was right again,” implying that the disaster was yet another world event predicted by a Simpsons episode. However, as Simpsons writer, producer and showrunner Matt Selman pointed out, the image was fabricated using A.I. and no such Simpsons episode exists.

Though the “Simpsons did it” meme is almost as old as the internet itself, there has been a massive proliferation in posts claiming that The Simpsons predicted another world event ever since Donald Trump won the U.S. presidency back in 2016, as foretold by a throwaway line in the 2000 Simpsons episode “Bart to the Future.” Just in the last two years, room-temperature-IQ Twitter users have incorrectly claimed that The Simpsons predicted the Titanic submarine implosion, the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and even the rebranding of Twitter itself to the infinitely dumber name “X.”

Selman is not the first current-or-former Simpsons showrunner to comment disapprovingly on the eagerness of the internet to believe that The Simpsons are modern society's Nostradamus. In 2020, Bill Oakley said of the trend, “I would say in general when people say The Simpsons has predicted something, it is just that we were satirizing real-life events from years before, and because history keeps repeating, it just seems like we were predicting things.”

But this new wave of Simpsons prediction posting is even more sinister than that which inspired Oakleys comments, seeing as those behind it have moved way past grasping at straws and drawing flimsy connections between actual Simpsons episodes and current events. Now, accounts like the one that posted the ghoulish, exploitative crap that pissed off Selman and anyone else with a sense of decency are in full disinformation mode with the meme, and its working abhorrently well — the original post in question is currently sitting at 35 million views.

Maybe whoever asked A.I. to make that image for internet attention can make an actual Simpsons prediction come true. Next time they see a bridge in real life, they can tie themselves to a boulder and push it off like Homer tried to do in “Homer's Odyssey.”

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John Early Is Figuring Out How to Be Sincere

As the star of the sharp new indie ‘Stress Positions,’ the irreverent comic works in a more serious vein. He tells Cracked why he’s getting comfortable with being earnest — even if he’s scared everyone will think he’s pretentious

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