Thursday, January 10, 2008

Les Simpsons de Bayeux

Last Sunday's episode of the Simpsons opened with an epic battle involving a stolen couch, conveyed via an updated version of the Bayeux Tapestry -- let's call it the Springfield Rug. Just like the events of 1066, here we witnessed savagery, invasion, gore, and cartoonish fun involving people with yellowish skin. Follow this link for some images. I am proud to say that my son recognized what was being parodied ... though I should also admit that we have an authentic reproduction of a segment of the tapestry hanging by the TV in our family room.

(I'd been searching since Sunday for the images, and finally got them via a link from Dr Nokes)

8 comments:

Stephanie Trigg said...

Brilliant! I get to give a lecture on the Bayeux tapestry (and the Chanson de Roland) this semester in a new inter-disciplinary subject called "From Homer to Hollywood": this will be perfect on lots of counts! I'm going to sub-title my lecture "From Homer to Hollywood to Homer." You've seen the animated version of the tapestry? easily searchable on YouTube, but hard to copy into a comments box...

Hey, and congratulations to everyone on the award. Wonderful!

Jeffrey J Cohen said...

Thanks, Stephanie ... any chance you'd share the syllabus for the course? It sounds fantastic.

Stephanie Trigg said...

Well, it's a new kind of subject for us, co-taught between English, History and Art History at first-year.

The description reads like this:

This subject will explore the representation of war across different cultures and a range of genres of writing, film and art. Beginning with texts from ancient Greece and Rome, we will move through a number of periods of European and non-European history to ask questions about how narrative is built around conflict. We will consider how words and images construct stories, thinking about how depictions of war engage with the epic classical tradition.

In addition to examining representations of battles and reactions from those on the front, we will consider the role of ‘home' in narratives of war, both as a place to be defended and as a site of nostalgic yearning, paying particular attention to the cultural construction of gender. By juxtaposing the domestic with the battlefield we will address the roles of those who are left behind, along with the challenges involved in representing the horrors of war.

The students will consider extracts from The Iliad, Ovid's Heroides, La Princesse de Cleves, Henry V, the Bayeux Tapestry, Song of Roland, Goya's Disasters of War, War and Peace, Picasso's Guernica, Colette's war journalism, Mother Courage, Gallipoli (film), Duras' Hiroshima mon mour, M*A*S*H*, Maalouf's Ports of Call, Saving Private Ryan, Ten Canoes, as well as some more general topics like Yolngu art and religion (background to Ten Canoes) and "Saving Private Lynch: contemp. reps of war in the media".

Looks very ambitious, doesn't it?

It's part of a major new curriculum reform at Melbourne, trying to give undergraduates greater breadth in their syllabus. It'll be team taught, with folk like me just dropping in for their guest lectures, but a regular tutor for each small group.

For a medievalist, it's a great chance to talk about some key texts in a broader context, so I'm looking forward to my week.

Karl Steel said...

I've been wanting to do a course like this too, so thank very much (mine would start with Homer and go to Coriolanus, so it's much less ambitious). Princesse de Cleves is a joy to teach, and I admire the counterintuitiveness for choosing it to illustrate/for its engagement with martial themes.

Are you doing the TV MASH or the Altman MASH?

And, I know you're probably not taking requests, especially because it's a team course, and therefore the decisions are not entirely yours, but I'd just like to put in a word for Bresson's Lancelot du Lac, which vaulted into my top 10 on first viewing. Because I like MASH only as a cultural phenomenon (i.e., the only way I can wash away the testosterone of the Altman MASH is with his 3 Women), I'm also inclined to wish for a substitution, The Battle of Algiers.

Stephanie Trigg said...

I think it's the TV MASH. I agree about the Bresson Lancelot, though I've never taught it. I just have the visiting spot as the medievalist in this subject. My own is called "Medievalism in Contemporary Culture"; perhaps I'll show them the Bresson, just as an extra.

New Medieval Prof said...

Can someone please post a link to this? Someone said it's easily searchable on YouTube, but I'm clearly using the wrong terms, because I can't find it. I would love to use it in a course!

Thanks!

Karl Steel said...

I did a [dominant search engine search] and found it here: enjoy!

New Medieval Prof said...

Thank you, Karl! Apparently your [dominant search engine]ing skills are better than mine....