I’ve hardly seen a minute of any of them for a good while now, but I always thought the distinction between The Simpsons, South Park and Family Guy worked out like this: The Simpsons is humanitarian and generally rather liberal; South Park is libertarian, but cares more for the gag itself than for what this gag might mean; Family Guy is a wretched disaster that is neither funny nor clever nor even manages a meaningful point of view of any kind.
I’d be happy to admit I’m wrong about this if you provide sufficient argument. Those are just my impressions, from years of enjoying The Simpsons, not really caring for South Park and trying to make friends turn off Family Guy and do something less boring instead.
Nonetheless, when a particularly tasteless tweet started rolling around the web last night, and I found out it had been written by Family Guy scriptwriter Alec Sulkin, I wasn’t too surprised. Here’s what he said:
If you wanna feel better about this earthquake in Japan, google “Pearl Harbor death toll”.
This world view, that the citizens of a nation are somehow statistics to be tallied in a historical spreadsheet of deaths, and that there’s somehow a desirable, karmic distribution to be had is absolutely disgusting.
Maybe he’ll say it was “only” a joke, as though jokes were meaningless.
An interesting thing about Twitter’s free-flow of retweets is that many people will have read Sulkin’s comment, somewhere along the line, and not know of his association with Family Guy. I just wanted to join those dots.
UPDATE: Alec Sulkin has now apologised. Ish.