7 Insanely Clever Simpsons Jokes That You Totally Missed

6. The Reader€™s Digest Abridges Shakespeare (Mr Lisa Goes To Washington)

A sign outside of the Reader€™s Digest reads €œBrevity is€ wit€. You need a rough working knowledge of Shakespeare to know that that€™s a contraction of an aphorism which Polonius uses in Hamlet while giving his son, Laertes, the most rambling, idiotic pointers, which proves that he can€™t take his own advice. On top of that, you need to know that the whole quote is €œbrevity is the soul of wit€; in contracting the quote, they€™ve quite literally ripped €œthe soul€ out of it. Shakespeare has been hacked about a fair bit over the last 400 years, so on another level this is a joke at the expense of (generally rubbish) productions of Shakespeare plays which attempt to remix his work to €˜get down wiv ver kidz€™. And on top of that, thegag€™s only on screen for about two seconds: if that€™s not brevity being the soul of wit, I don€™t know what is. So, on one level it€™s a joke about how the way that Reader€™s Digest edits down articles can remove their nuance and fundamentally change their meaning (a charge which Reader€™s Digest got lumbered with a fair bit in the early 90s, particularly by liberal commentators who thought it was too right-leaning), on another level it€™s a pop at people who think they know better than the Bard, and it€™s a top piece of meta self-referencing. That€™s three jokes in one. It€™s a joke-a-palooza.
In this post: 
The Simpsons
Posted On: 

Holding midfielder; can get forward. Decent engine.