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July 24, 2014

A lesson in humility from Sen. Edward Kennedy and Mayor Joe Quimby

by Danny Gallagher, posted Aug 28th 2009 12:28PM
Ted Kennedy and Mayor Quimby from The SimpsonsI'm ashamed to admit this, but in the wake of Sen. Edward Kennedy's passing, a thought occurred to me: "I wonder what the late Senator and son of Camelot thought of The Simpsons' Mayor Quimby impression."

But what started as the nerdy thought of an overworked blogger also held a deep lesson in humility.

The late Sen. Kennedy, lampooned in the long-running Fox sitcom by actor Dan Castellaneta's voice-over caricature, actually embraced the animated politician as part of a contest held in conjunction with the theatrical release of The Simpsons Movie.

Thirteen Springfields across the country submitted videos imploring the producers to hold their film's official premiere in their town. For the tiny burg of Springfield, Mass., Sen. Kennedy personally appeared in the video to invite the whole Simpsons clan and even "old 'Diamond' Joe Quimby" to his home state. The honor eventually went to Springfield, Vt., despite Massachusetts' "ace in the hole."

It was a small footnote in the man's life, but it said a lot about the temperament and humor he possessed that seems so vacant and distant in today's political scene.

It's no secret that the late senator was the unofficial basis for Quimby's character or as Castellaneta once put it during an appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, "not to be, uh, confused with a, uh, certain politician from Massachusetts." Quimby is a lecherous drunk, a skirt-chasing booze hound and a money-flinging mayor with more personal problems than the people in Maury Povich's green room.

The Kennedys have long been a target for satire and comedy from the early days of Mad magazine and the performances of Vaughn Meader to the later days of Saturday Night Live with varying degrees of respect and viciousness, so maybe he had already built up a tolerance gland to such portrayals.

But he still had the gumption and the humility to appreciate such satire for what it was and put himself in front of the camera for his state and not himself. Whether you're a politician being picked apart by the satirical media for daring to take yourself too seriously or just another schlub getting ribbed at work for daring to wear a pink shirt on the job, it never hurts to have a sense of humor about yourself.

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Edwin forprogress.org

So much of his "The Dream Shall Never Die" speech is relevant now. It makes me sad that so many Americans do not know how much it was really Senator Edward Kennedy that advanced the dreams of his brothers into reality.

I put together some of the audio of the speech, accompanied it with images and ideas that highlight some of his accomplishments, and put it into a video. The following page also has information on the 6 (of 13 or a minority) Democratic senators in the Senate Finance Committee who are holding up the Kennedy Health Care act.

http://ipolity.com/wiki/index.php?page=TDP+Health+Care

August 28 2009 at 2:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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