Barbara Bush received a letter from the unlikeliest of sources in 1990, after an article in People magazine quoted the First Lady as saying The Simpsons "was the dumbest thing [she] had ever seen." Marge Simpson's polite response can be seen below, followed by the transcript of an apologetic letter from Barbara Bush in reply.
It's worth noting that tensions between the two families resurfaced two years later, when Barbara's husband, then-U.S. President George H. W. Bush, promised, "We're going to keep trying to strengthen the American family. To make them more like the Waltons and less like the Simpsons." A reply from Springfield soon materialised in the form of this addition to the show's opening sequence. See also, "Two Bad Neighbors," an episode of The Simpsons screened in 1996 that was inspired by the "feud," and from which the above image came.
As mentioned, transcripts of both Marge's letter and Barbara's reply follow.
(Source: Dear First Lady: Letters to the White House.)
Image: The Washington Post
September 28, 1990
Mrs. Barbara Bush
The First Lady
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Dear First Lady:
I recently read your criticism of my family. I was deeply hurt. 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".
I try to teach my children Bart, Lisa, and even little Maggie, always to give somebody the benefit of the doubt and not talk badly about them, even if they're rich. It's hard to get them to understand this advice when the very First Lady in the country calls us not only dumb, but "the dumbest thing" she ever saw. 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.
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. I hope there is some way out of this controversy. I thought, perhaps, it would be a good start to just speak my mind.
With great respect,
Barbara Bush's response:
How kind of you to write. I'm glad you spoke your mind; I foolishly didn't know you had one.
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. 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.
Please forgive a loose tongue.
P.S. Homer looks like a handsome fella!