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‘Please forgive a loose tongue’: Barbara Bush’s apology to Marge Simpson

“I recently read your criticism of my family… Heaven knows we're far from perfect and, if truth..

"I recently read your criticism of my family… Heaven knows we're far from perfect and, if truth be known, maybe just a wee bit short of normal, but as Dr. Seuss says, a person is a person," Mrs Simpson had written to Mrs Bush.

"Ma'am, if we're the dumbest thing you ever saw, Washington must be a good deal different than what they teach me at the current events group at the church," Mrs Simpson continued.

"I always believed in my heart that we had a great deal in common: each of us living our lives to serve an exceptional man," the letter finished.

"Dear Marge, how kind of you to write," Mrs Bush wrote, in a tender response.

"I'm glad you spoke your mind; I foolishly didn't know you had one," she said.

"I am looking at a picture of you, depicted on a plastic cup, with your blue hair filled with pink birds peeking out all over," Mrs Bush continued.

"Evidently, you and your charming family – Lisa, Homer, Bart and Maggie – are camping out. It is a nice family scene. Clearly you are setting a good example for the rest of the country."

Mrs Bush signed off with, "Please forgive a loose tongue," and added a post-script: "Homer looks like a handsome fella!"

Mrs Bush's offending remarks had originally been published in the US magazine People in 1990.

The response has been referenced in several books, but the original letter has rarely been seen in public.

Two years later after the historic exchange of letters between the fictional TV mother and the American First Lady, during his re-election campaign, President George H.W. Bush referenced the series.

Speaking at the National Religious Broadcasters' convention in Washington, D.C., Bush said: "We are going to keep on trying to strengthen the American family, to make American families a lot more like The Waltons and a lot less like The Simpsons".

The Simpson family.

Photo: AP

For those whose grasp of American television history does not reach further back than the 1990s, The Waltons was a long-running series about a family in rural Virginia during the Great Depression and World War II.

The Simpsons responded to that criticism almost immediately by adding a scene to an existing episode in which the family, seated in their living room, were watching Bush's speech on television.

"Hey, we're just like The Waltons," son Bart Simpson declared. "We're praying for an end to the Depression too."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Bush lost.

The series responded more fully two years later, in an episode titled Two Bad Neighbours, and credited to writer Ken Keeler.

In the episode, George H. W. Bush and Mrs Bush move into the house across the street from the Simpson family and, after George spanks Bart for destroying his memoir, George and Homer became implacable enemies.

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Michael Idato

Michael Idato is a Senior Writer based in Los Angeles for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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Enviroment

So, we guess this means Beyonce and Jay-Z are OK then

The first couple of pop music took the world by surprise by dropping their first album together last..

The first couple of pop music took the world by surprise by dropping their first album together last weekend. As you'd expect, it's a statement.

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Beyonce and Jay-Z on stage in France for the 2014 On the Run tour.

Photo: Rob Hoffman

Now the couple have continued their domination of pop music, surprising the world last Saturday by releasing their joint album Everything Is Love, which is something of a sequel to those two solo records. Though they have collaborated for at least 15 years, this marks their first joint album, which they dropped under the name The Carters.

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Artwork for the album Everything is Love by The Carters, aka Beyonce and Jay-Z.

Photo: Karl Quinn

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Lyrically, it primarily focuses on two aspects of the Carters' lives: their marriage and their success. (more…)

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Almost a year into the #MeToo era, Rachel Griffiths believes the likes of Mystery Road, Wentworth, P..

Almost a year into the #MeToo era, Rachel Griffiths believes the likes of Mystery Road, Wentworth, Picnic at Hanging Rock and Top of the Lake show that female characters are finally coming of age on Australian screens.

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Happy to see "more complex depictions of female experience": Rachel Griffiths (left) with Leah Purcell at the launch of #SheDirects.

Photo: Louie Douvis

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"Under-written and under-observed, brought into our sexual awareness precociously and prepubescent in order to accommodate the male libido.

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"Often in television we're used by lazy writers and producers who can think of nothing more interesting this week than 'let's have her have sex with X' or 'discover she's a lesbian – for an episode'."

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Rachel Maddow breaks down on air over Trump immigration policy

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Maddow attempted to get through the breaking news piece one more time before moving the show over to a guest. "To at least three – three tender age shelters in South Texas. Lawyers and medical providers… I think I'm going to have to hand this off. Sorry."

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