Another day, another instance of “The Simpsons” being accused of predicting the future. This time, an Egyptian television station is reporting that the Fox cartoon contains “proof that the war in Syria and the Arab Spring revolutions were an American conspiracy.“
That discovery and translation is courtesy of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a D.C.-based nonprofit that monitors and translates information from major Arabic and Iranian television channels across the globe. The staff recently found a clip from Egypt’s Al-Tahrir TV, in which an anchor explains there’s been chatter on social media about a 2001 “Simpsons” episode (the one where Bart, Milhouse and others form a fake boy band that winds up being used for Navy recruitment) featuring a flag that looks just like the flag of the Syrian opposition.
“This is from 2001 – before there was such a thing called the ‘Syrian opposition.’ The flag was created before the events took place,” the anchor says, via MEMRI’s translation. “That’s why people are saying on Facebook that this is a conspiracy. In 2001, there was no such thing as the flag of the Syrian opposition…This raises many question marks about what happened in the Arab Spring revolutions and about when this global conspiracy began.”
While this has been picked up by many news outlets — and The New York Times debunks the anchor’s claim, taking us through the history of the Syrian flag and more specific details about the episode — this is just another in a long list of times “The Simpsons” have made news for allegedly telling the future.
There’s the time “The Simpsons” in 2005 predicted the 2014 Seahawks-Broncos Super Bowl. The others were: “5 Real-Life Events Predicted by Simpsons Jokes.” (Grease thieves, malfunctioning voting booths.) “21 Times ‘The Simpsons Bizarrely Predicted the Future.” (Horse meat, “Guitar Hero.”) “11 Times ‘The Simpsons’ Predicted the Future of Technology.” (NSA scandal, 3-D printing.) Some think the show saw into the future with the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
After nearly 25 years on the air and counting, we can pretty much guarantee this isn’t the last time the show will be accused of having psychic abilities. Meanwhile, Fox has not yet responded to our request for comment about this particular claim.