Morning Musically-Minded, Medically-Minded, Masticators!
(Today’s post is sponsored by the letter “M”)
Over the past 600+ episodes, The Simpsons has taken us on an amazing journey involving music, science, and food to name a few concepts.
And what better way to start your week, then by discussing some of these concepts Monday morning?
So let’s get started this week by taking a tour to a country that plays a role in the forty second episode of our favourite family The Simpsons, Morocco.
In the forty second episode of The Simpsons, Treehouse of Horror II (Season 03, Episode 07), Lisa, Bart, and Homer eat too much Halloween candy and have nightmares. While Bart’s nightmare has him all powerful and Homer’s nightmare involves Mr. Burns taking his brain and then body; this post I’ll focus on Lisa’s nightmare.
The Monkey’s Paw is Lisa’s nightmare. This story has the Simpsons visit Morocco, where Homer buys a mysterious monkey’s paw that grants wishes but with great misfortune.
Homer: “What is this?”
Merchant: “A monkey’s paw that will grant its owner four wishes.”
Homer: “Wow! How much?”
Merchant: “Sir, I must recommend against buying this. It carries a bad omen. Take me for example, I was once the President of Algeria…”
Homer: “Come on, pal! I don’t want to hear your life story! Paw me!”
Maggie starts the wishes off with a wish for a pacifier. Bart then wishes to be rich and famous. Lisa wishes for World Peace. And Homer wishes for a turkey sandwich.
Morocco makes another appearance in the episode C.E. D’oh (Season 14, Episode 15), when Mr. Burns and Smithers travel to Marakkesh.
While I’ve had the pleasure of traveling to 49 countries, I have not had the opportunity to go to Morocco. But I’ve always wanted to know a little bit more. So here’s some info on Morocco:
The Kingdom of Morocco is located in the Maghreb region of North Africa. It overlooks the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, with land borders with Algeria to the east and Western Sahara (status disputed and shown in light green below) to the south. It’s capital is Rabat and the largest city is Casablanca. Other notable cities beyond Rabat and Casablanca include Marrakesh, Fez, Tangier, and (as my 3rd grade classmates and I discovered in the Atlas) Safi. [Don’t get me started on how badly I want to go and get a picture with the “Welcome to Safi” sign!]
The country is home to an estimated 37 million citizens. The country is the 39th largest in terms of surface area at 710,850 km2 (274,460 square miles) when including the disputed Western Sahara; but drops to the 57th largest in terms of surface area (446,550 km2) when removing Western Sahara. Their official languages are Arabic and Berber, with French as a non-official frequently used third language. The official currency is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD). Morocco is a member of the Arab League, the Union for the Mediterranean and the African Union.
The overall life expectancy at birth is 76.1 years; 73.0 years for males and 79.3 years for females (all three lower than Albania’s 78.5 years; 75.8 years for males and 81.4 years for females from Musings 11). The country’s total fertility rate is 2.59 children born per woman (much higher than Albania’s 1.51).
Morocco’s predominant religion is Islam. 98.9% of the population is Muslim, 0.9% are Christian, and 0.2% are Jews. However, 15% of Muslims describe themselves as non-religious according to a 2019 survey conducted for the BBC.
The flag of Morocco is made of a red field with a green emerald pentagram. The red background on the Moroccan flag represents hardiness, bravery, strength and valour. The five points of the green pentagram stand for love, truth, peace, freedom, and justice.
Morocco is a country with a rich culture and civilization. Through Moroccan history, it has hosted many people coming from East (Phoenicians, Jews and Arabs), South (Sub-Saharan Africans) and North (Romans, Andalusians). All those civilizations have affected the social structure of Morocco.
Moroccan cuisine is considered as one of the most diversified cuisines in the world. The cuisine of Morocco is mainly a fusion of Moorish, European and Mediterranean cuisines. Spices are used extensively in Moroccan cuisine. While spices have been imported to Morocco for thousands of years, many ingredients such as saffron from Tiliouine, mint and olives from Meknes, and oranges and lemons from Fez, are home-grown. Among the most famous Moroccan dishes are Couscous, Pastilla (also spelled Bsteeya or Bestilla), Tajine, Tanjia and Harira.
Popular sports in Morocco include Football (aka Soccer), Equestrian sports, Kickboxing, Tennis, and Golf. Morocco has competed at the 1960, 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016 Summer Olympics; as well as the 1968, 1984, 1988, 1992, 2010, 2014, and 2018 Winter Olympics. Moroccan athletes have won a total of twenty three Olympic medals (6 gold, 5 silver, and 11 bronze), 19 in athletics and 4 in boxing at the Summer Games. They have never won an Olympic medal at the Winter games.
Morocco has a large diaspora, most of which is located in France, which has reportedly over one million Moroccans of up to the third generation. There are also large Moroccan communities in Spain (about 700,000 Moroccans), the Netherlands (360,000), and Belgium (300,000). Other large communities can be found in Italy, Canada, the United States, and Israel, where Moroccan Jews are thought to constitute the second biggest Jewish ethnic subgroup. Notable Moroccan personalities include Nobel prize physicist Serge Haroche, Canadian actress Emmanuelle Chriqui, American actress Shiri Appleby, French-American actor Said Taghmaoui, Miss World 1998 Israeli model Linor Abargil, Canadian businessman Albert “Aldo” Bensadoun, French DJ David Guetta, kickboxing heavyweight champion Badr Hari, and WWE wrestler Layla El.
Now that we’ve learned more about the native country of one of our favourite Simpsons shopkeepers, be sure to come back next week when we continue our Monday morning musings with the next episode of The Simpsons.
What’s your favourite Simpsons country connection? What about your favourite Simpsons travel episode? What about your favourite Treehouse of Horror episode? Have you ever been to Morocco? How cool is it that the Monday Morning Musing 2 days after Halloween spontaneously correlates to the THOH episode (trick? or treat?)? Sound off in the comments below. You know we love hearing from you.