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Department of Energy heavily redacts documents relating to its "7 Things The Simpsons Got Wrong About Nuclear" blog post

  • The Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Energy published the April 2018 blog post acknowledging "we do recognize that this show is a parody with the intent to entertain." Vice Motherboard writer Aaron Gordon was curious about the origin of the blog, so he filed a Freedom of Information Act request. What he received were documents that were heavily redacted. "The blog piqued my curiosity because The Simpsons' depiction of nuclear power has had an undeniable influence on public perception of its safety and viability, even if the impact of that perception is difficult to measure," says Gordon. "There is no denying that, much as the monorail has become synonymous with transportation swindle, when someone mentions 'nuclear power,' a solid chunk of the American populace hears that phrase in their own heads in Mr. Burns's voice. The show's casting of Homer as an incompetent and lazy safety inspector, along with Mr. Burns as its corrupt, plutocratic owner more interested in winning softball games than running a safe facility is, to Americans of a certain age, the sum total of things they know about nuclear power plants." Gordon adds: "Due to the redactions, the documents shed minimal light on the blog's origins. It is not clear, for instance, how the idea originated or if the Department of Energy has a content quota to fill. It is also not clear how many Simpsons references were made in the making of this blog, although the unredacted emails yield but one solitary Simpsons reference, a stray 'Cowabunga!' in celebration of the draft's finalization, the type of Simpsons reference made by someone who has seen the Simpsons twice."

    TOPICS: The Simpsons, FOX, Department of Energy