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The Ugly American - Homer?

Posted by Bob on September 17, 2004

In Reply to: The Ugly American - Homer? posted by Lotg on September 17, 2004

: : I've seen a lot of references to "ugly Americans," sometimes to characterized those Americans who steal of mutilate towels, but most often to characterize their reputation and moral standing, usually among non-Americans. Fair enough, but let's not forget that the term is almost certainly as popular as it is because of it was the title of a well-received book by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer, "The Ugly American," published in 1958. The protagonist (I remember only his first name, Homer) was physically ugly, but a quiet do-gooder who earned the readers' admiration for his acute observations of the harm Americans and American policies were doing in Southeast Asia. President Eisenhower, much impressed, is said to have made several reforms in American policy and its implementation. SS

: Wow, I'll have to read this book.
: Meanwhile, is it even vaguely possible that the creators of the Simpsons had this in mind when they created 'Homer Simpson'? Some of the minds behind some of these seemingly stupid shows are in fact geniuses and it just made me wonder.

Homer Simpson is very much like what we think of as The Ugly American prototype... a boorish, culturally ignorant, naive, well-meaning, kind-hearted blunderer. Hmmm. All my relatives. But no, he wasn't named for the character in the book. Matt Groening based his characters - or, at least, his characters' names - on his own family: his parents, Homer and Marge, his sisters Lisa and Maggie. Bart is Bart and not Matt, because he wanted an anagram of brat.