7 Insanely Clever Simpsons Jokes That You Totally Missed
6. The Readers Digest Abridges Shakespeare (Mr Lisa Goes To Washington)
A sign outside of the Readers Digest reads Brevity is wit. You need a rough working knowledge of Shakespeare to know that thats a contraction of an aphorism which Polonius uses in Hamlet while giving his son, Laertes, the most rambling, idiotic pointers, which proves that he cant take his own advice. On top of that, you need to know that the whole quote is brevity is the soul of wit; in contracting the quote, theyve quite literally ripped the 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, thegags only on screen for about two seconds: if thats not brevity being the soul of wit, I dont know what is. So, on one level its a joke about how the way that Readers Digest edits down articles can remove their nuance and fundamentally change their meaning (a charge which Readers 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 its a pop at people who think they know better than the Bard, and its a top piece of meta self-referencing. Thats three jokes in one. Its a joke-a-palooza.