2006

Writing Contest: Semifinalist

The Simpsons

Jordan Fritz, Saint Xavier High School, Cincinnati, OH (Teacher: James Jurgens)

Television is more than just a means of entertainment; it is a reflection of our society. Each genre provides a unique perspective on everyday situations. My personal favorite genre is comedy, because it adds a humorous twist to topics that we generally do not see as laughing matters. My favorite television show and one of the best examples of this is The Simpsons. The writer, Matt Groening, tackles most of the issues by simplifying them, making them seem ridiculous. Just one example of this is the overly competitive Lisa Simpson. Lisa is a bright third-grader at Springfield Elementary. She is constantly improving her schoolwork, even though she is already the brightest in the class. Unfortunately, she feels threatened whenever someone else is doing well because school is a competition to her, a competition she feels she must win. She will not accept the idea of being second best and will resort to any means necessary to give her an edge. In one episode, she even resorts to sabotaging the science fair project of a fellow student. Businesses face the same problem. A business is constantly trying to become more productive because productivity leads to more income and/or lower prices. There does come a point when a business cannot become any more productive, though; it cannot cut any more costs without compromising the integrity of the product, thus losing sales. If there is still competition, there is little they can do about it. They must face the fact that they will not get every buyer, just as Lisa does not always get the best grades. Lisa would not accept such an idea, nor do some businesses. Many times businesses will try to create a monopoly by destroying the competition, whether through corporate sellouts like Microsoft or unethical practices like those of Rockefeller. A monopoly is bad for everyone involved. When one large company buys out another company, it reduces the possibility for a small company to enter the market and be successful. Without new competitors entering the market, and with all the current competitors bought out, the monopoly is freed from the “invisible hand� that governs society. They do not have to produce high-quality products or keep prices down. For example, Lisa did not have to improve her own project because she destroyed anyone’s project that was a threat; she was guaranteed the first-place ribbon. While this situation may seem ridiculously simple compared to the complexity of competition in the business world, it is the only way to educate a young audience. How many children would watch a show about a monopolistic company? Not many, but The Simpsons, which deals with the same topic, is the longest-running television series.