We like it when our (girl)friends become successful: Denise Du Vernay

Denise Du Vernay (left) and Karma Waltonen

When I worked as an editor, I had a strict rule of never involving my friends and significant others in stories or photo shoot (unless, y’know, she worked for the same publication). But as a blogger, that rule has gone straight out the window for friends, so it might as well be the same for girlfriends.

Denise Du Vernay and her friend Karma Waltonen (or Dr. Karma, which makes her sound like she could do battle with the Dread Dormammu and encounter the hoary hosts of Hoggoth) have been working on a book for the past year about using The Simpsons as an educational tool. Now The Simpsons in the Classroom: Embiggening the Learning Experience With the Wisdom of Springfield is finally available to buy. (Officially, the book doesn’t hit shelves until July, but some copies have been trickling out.)

That’s not all: You can hear an interview with Denise about the book at 10 a.m. (with a rebroadcast at 11 p.m.) Friday, April 23, on Lake Effect on WUWM-FM (89.7). She’ll also be holding the classy sounding An Evening With Denise Du Vernay and The Simpsons (Just an Evening?) from 6:30-8 p.m. Thursday, May 20, at the Brown Deer Public Library. You can buy copies of the book at the event, too. And there are plans in the work for other appearances. Plus, Karma will be scheduling events in the San Francisco area.

For more information about the book, you can check out the authors’ website for excerpts and the book’s table of contents; the official site at McFarland, the publisher, where you can buy the book; and the Facebook fan page. And if you can’t get enough of these two women, swing by Matchflick to read Denise’s DVD column and Karma’s comedy column.

2 thoughts on “We like it when our (girl)friends become successful: Denise Du Vernay

  1. Re: My essay’s very brief, inaccurately-critiqued mention in your book, “The Simpsons in the Classroom …”

    At first, I was thrilled to have my essay quoted in your fairly new book; however, when I thoroughly read your critique, I yelled into my mind’s ear, “She at least could have accurately criticized me!”
    Two possibilities: 1) If you had properly read the introduction to my essay, “The Simpsons: Morality from the ‘Immoral’” (I’ve since added “… & Truth from the ‘Absurd’”), you would have come across my stopping to define “morality,” albeit in my own words, which acted as a point of reference from which I supported my thesis statement. 2) If you actually meant that I did not stop to officially define “morality” according to a reputable dictionary, then you would have been correct to mention exactly that fact (Note: I’ve since added Oxford’s definition of “morality” to accompany my own definition).
    Furthermore, regardless of being an avid meat eater (FYI: I was at that time; I currently very rarely consume animal flesh), I still objectively noted that The Simpsons episode regarding Lisa’s vegetarianism was the only one, which I’ve noticed, with a clear, consistent (in this case, pro-vegetarianism) ideologically-partisan position (with which I personally had no problem, for I, never happy about being raised as a carnivore, have always been against cruelty to all animals, including those sadly destined for the dinner table).
    If you produce other editions of this book, please – please – read my essay in its current form, and please be as accurate as you can be when/if you quote and/or paraphrase what I’ve written.
    Thank you for your original interest in my essay (not to mention countless others), and thanks for your time.

    Frank G. Sterle, Jr.

  2. According to Denise Du Vernay, in her book “The Simpsons in the Classroom …,” my essay “might be an interesting one to use in teaching assumptions, qualifiers, defining parameters, and audience awareness.”
    Well, at least it’s good for something …
    However, having said that, what about her “assumptions”? She strongly implies that having admitted to a pro-carnivorous “bias,” I’ve therefore voided my objective-review potential regarding The Simpsons episode on the vegetarianism issue, while I in fact did not admit to a conscious intent on propagating a favorable view towards either side on the issue within the context of the said Simpsons episode. I wrote the essay with the intention of, besides having some fun making references to some ridiculous and hilarious mostly-Homer-esque moments and comments, writing commentary based solely on what I observed while consuming each, and simultaneously considering all, of the episodes’ content (although that precludes pretty much the entire, most-recent third of all of The Simpsons episodes produced to date).
    The ‘vegetarianism’ episode was one of only two that I’d viewed dealing with important social/cultural issues that conspicuously pulled virtually all of its punches in its portrayal of vegetarians and their cause while pulling no punches when portraying carnivores. The only other episode conspicuously ‘taking sides’ was that of the openly-gay old-classic-toys storeowner (“Zzzap!”) whom the unwitting, stereotypically homophobic Homer befriends; however, I excluded it as but part of an overall Simpsons ‘bias’ after having considered the show’s creators’ inclusion of the closeted-gay Waylan Smithers’ albeit-rare nasty side.
    But back to the point, why does an avid meat-eater necessarily automatically become unable to objectively observe and review a Simpsons episode dealing with vegetarianism? In fact, as irony would have it, if there would be subjectivity on my part in regards to the episode topic, it would’ve likely been expressed through admiration of Lisa’s courageous stance on such a very relevant, moral issue of our precarious times.

    Frank G. Sterle, Jr.

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