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From the Wikipedia article on Mona Simpson:

Mona was the estranged wife of Abe Simpson and the mother of Homer Simpson. In the episode “Mother Simpson” where she was introduced, it was established that Homer believed that his mother was dead, a lie his father Abe told him when in reality she was on the run from the law after she sabotaged Mr Burns’ germ warfare laboratory. … The inspiration for the character is based upon Bernardine Dohrn of the Weather Underground.

Homer Simpson’s long-lost mother is named after novelist Mona Simpson, the long-lost biological sister of Steve Jobs. Jobs was given up for adoption by their biological parents, who later married and had Mona. The siblings first met when they were in their 20s; they became close, much closer than Jobs was to his adoptive sister with whom he grew up. (It couldn’t have been easy being Steve Jobs’ little sister: to be a normal child whose older brother always out-competed you for your adoptive parents’ limited resources because you were just an average person and your sibling rival was the Greatest Salesman of His Generation.)

Mona Simpson, the real person (not the cartoon character), was married at the time to the screenwriter of that Simpsons’ episode, Richard Appel.

The Jobs-Simpson case is an almost unique one in the annals of nature-nurture studies for the number of words published on the individuals from different perspectives. Jobs has been profiled almost as much as any individual in recent American history, while the first three novels by his sister Mona Simpson (the real person) are fictionalized versions of their biological family: Anywhere But Here (which was made into a movie with Susan Sarandon) is about their biological mother, The Lost Father is about their biological father, and the ironically-titled A Regular Guy is about Jobs and his strange relationship with his own illegitimate daughter Lisa (who, as a sensitive teenager, was displeased by her new-found aunt’s invasion of her privacy, and, in turn, has written her own memoir about her father).

By the way, Richard Appel is the son of the late Northwestern U. professor and Nabokov scholar Alfred Appel Jr., editor of The Annotated “Lolita,” a convenient way to read Nabokov’s most notorious novel. Since the Foreword to Lolita is famously credited to professorial “John Ray, Jr., Ph.D.,” a parodic character invented by Nabokov, Dr. Appel’s own introduction to The Annotated “Lolita” includes the following (not wholly reassuring) reassurance:

“Of course, the annotator and editor of a novel written by the creator of Kinbote and John Ray, Jr., runs the real risk of being mistaken for another fiction, when at most he resembles those gentlemen only figuratively. But the annotator exists; he is a veteran and a grandfather, a teacher and taxpayer, and has not been invented by Vladimir Nabokov.”

My movie review of the new film Steve Jobs is up at Taki’s Magazine.

Getting totally off topic (or is it all part of the lattice of coincidence?), Alfred Appel also wrote in his intro to The Annotated “Lolita:”

I was Nabokov’s student at Cornell in 1953-1954, at a time when most undergraduates did not know he was a writer. Drafted into the army a year later, I was sent overseas to France. On my first pass to Paris I naturally went browsing in a Left Bank bookstore. An array of Olympia Press books, daringly displayed above the counter, seemed most inviting—and there, between copies of Until She Screams and The Sexual Life of Robinson Crusoe, I found Lolita. […]

[T]his title was new to me; and its context and format were more than surprising, even if in those innocent pre-Grove Press days the semi-literate wags on fraternity row had dubbed Nabokov’s Literature 311-312 lecture course “Dirty Lit” because of such readings as Ulysses and Madame Bovary (the keenest campus wits invariably dropped the B when mentioning the latter). I brought Lolita back to my base, which was situated out in the woods. Passes were hard to get and new Olympia titles were always in demand in the barracks. The appearance of a new girl in town thus caused a minor clamor.

“Hey, lemme read your dirty book, man!” insisted “Stockade Clyde” Carr, who had justly earned his sobriquet, and to whose request I acceded at once. “Read it aloud, Stockade,” someone called, and skipping the Foreword, Stockade Clyde began to make his remedial way through the opening paragraph. “ ‘Lo… lita, light… of my life, fire of my … loins. My sin, my soul … Lo-lee-ta: The… tip of the… tongue… taking… a trip…’—Damn!” yelled Stockade, throwing the book against the wall. “It’s God-damn Litachure!!”

Thus the Instant Pornography Test, known in psychological-testing circles as the “IPT.” Although infallible, it has never to my knowledge been used in any court case.

 
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From my review of the new film Steve Jobs at Taki’s Magazine:

Aaron Sorkin: Master of the Middlebrow

… We are supposed to be living in an age of great television and weak film. But when given his own television shows with ample hours of airtime to fill with his earnest opinions, such as Sports Night, the Clinton White House fantasy The West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and The Newsroom, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin tends to be insufferable.

On the other hand, when Sorkin is brought into a movie production as a hired gun and told to somehow cram a technical topic that he doesn’t necessarily care all that much about, such as Moneyball’s revolution in baseball statistics, into a two-hour screenplay, he’s a master of middlebrow. …

The reason Sorkin’s television shows are tiresome while his movies are brilliant is redundancy. Sorkin repeats himself. He uses and reuses the old screenwriting trick of “plant and payoff.” In a two-hour movie, Sorkin’s repetitiousness serves to get complex ideas across, but in a multiyear TV series it just becomes much too much.

Read the whole thing there.

 
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Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, VDARE.com columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.


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