Saturday, March 16, 2013


I’ve used Lisa Simpson, the TV cartoon character, as my avatar online for years. I love her cocky yellow grin, her pearls and her spiky hair. I thought she was a perfect avatar, symbolizing cartoons and smarts on a gorgeous lime-green background.
I paid no attention to those who said they heard my tweets and posts in the youthful, high-pitched voice of actress Yeardley Smith. I ignored those who tweeted down to an eight-year-old cartoon who wouldn’t know a paragraph from a Post-it. I assumed most people would know that the person represented by a cartoon was unlikely to actually be a cartoon, let alone a squeaky yellow girl.
    But I underestimated the power of a picture. Worth a thousand words you say? A thousand witless words are apparently conjured up by the image of Lisa Simpson. Which is odd, as she was created by UCLA and Harvard-educated writers who’ve given her a complex and charming character: the talented and smart daughter in a family of dolts.
    Being treated like Lisa Simpson would be rather flattering but many readers, including educated people with PhDs, seem to confuse Lisa with
Homer, her doltish father. Doh! Or, more likely, they don’t know the TV show and just see any cartoon as puerile and gormless and anyone represented by one as a nitwit.
    Worse yet, my book is set in the animation industry (more cartoons!) and I’ve tweeted and blogged quite a bit about animation. So, I'm in double danger of being taken for a feckless nincompoop apparently.
    None of this would matter but, it suddenly struck me that agents and publishers might also be under the impression that animation and cartoons are simpleminded silliness and a book about them by someone represented by a childish cartoon would not be worth bothering with. While my writing and I may have our flaws, we are not dolts.
So, goodbye Lisa. I’ll miss you, a much misunderstood avatar.
Yeardley Smith, actor, writer, artist, voices Lisa Simpson.


Emailman said...

I rather liked your avatar :) But I am a Simpsons fan and have the mind set of a ten-year-old haha!!

I hope everything is well in your world Nora. Twitter is quieter without you :)


Nora Lumiere said...

Thanks, Kurt. Don't worry I havent left Twitter, just changed my avatar. Keep an "eye" out for my new picture.
It's been interesting to note that I hear from a totally different group of people now :-)