Marge Simpson is a devoted mom and a perhaps too-kind enabler as a wife – but she’s never been a corrupter of little boys.
A Christian family organization, however, suggests that glimpses of the blue-haired vixen on the cover of the latest Playboy could put youngsters on a road to a terrible place somewhere south of Springfield – and we’re not talking about Shelbyville.
“The cover will create the kind of curiosity that can easily lead (boys) into an addictive porn habit,” said Randy Sharp of the American Family Association, which strives to “equip citizens to reform our culture to reflect Biblical truth on which it was founded.”
The group last week called on 7-Eleven, which hasn’t regularly stocked Playboy for years, to scrap plans to sell the issue featuring the hottest moment in cartoon sultriness since Jessica Rabbit’s last visit to Toonville.
In the AFA's webpage urging customers to send protest emails to 7-Eleven, “pornographic” is rendered as “p*rn*graphic” – as if the curvy letter “o” will somehow corrupt readers (or maybe the AFA includes former “Wheel of Fortune” fans still traumatized by the Vanna White Playboy pictorial of 1987).
The home of the Slurpee, to its credit, isn’t melting amid the heat.
"We thought the Simpson issue would make nice collectibles,” a 7-Eleven spokeswoman told the Religion News Service, noting the magazines were being shipped in plastic covers so children can’t look inside. “We're not requiring the stores take it."
The fuss seems silly – about as silly as putting a TV cartoon character on the cover of an adult p*rn – sorry, porn – magazine.
The stunt is an apparent attempt to generate buzz for two franchises that have seen better days (“The Simpsons,” though, has proven relatively strong, so far, in its record 20th season – the Hitchcock takeoff in this past Sunday’s “Treehouse of Horrors” installment was a mini-classic).
But judging from Internet chatter the publicity machine seems to be working. While the numbers on Playboy sales at 7-Eleven aren’t in yet, the issue is sure to be a big hit in Springfield, where, no doubt, Moe and the rest of the local guys are pestering Apu for copies at the Kwik-E-Mart.
Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992. Follow him on Twitter.