Admired Work Writing

Probably smarter, possibly funnier.

A letter to the editor that ran in The Washington Post Magazine last Sunday in reply to a profile of me that said I resembled Homer Simpson’s smarter brother:

The Washington Post Magazine
Letters to the editor
David Simon’s older brother takes umbrage at a description in our story:
I read with great interest your piece about David Simon, my little brother. I am 14 years older than David, and I am intensely proud of him. However, I must take great umbrage at the statement that “Simon … looks from some angles like Homer Simpson’s much smarter brother.”  First the implication is that I am Homer Simpson and second, that David is smarter than me. You will be hearing from my attorneys.
Gary L. Simon, medical professor, GWU


In a Jewish family, the doctor is always the smarter child.  The TV writer is supposed to advance the funny.  And presently, I find myself routed on both flanks at once.


  • Worth noting is that Homer’s so-called “smarter” brother never had his own television show on Fox run for three generations, and never brought about two major-motion picture releases, and never came out with his own line of personal hygiene products–actually I don’t think the dumber brother had the personal hygiene products either, so call that one a draw.
    But he did have a number of halloween costumes over the years–so his name is Victory!

    The point is that “smarter” in America doesn’t necessarily mean that one is actually smarter. Is Donald Trump or Ben Carson really “smarter” than the other GOP candidates? Is Hillary the smartest democrat who’ll run for cover, . . . er office?

    Think about it, America: would you rather be smart? Or just lucky enough to win lottery?

    I rest my case.

    You really don’t want to be David Simon, you only want to admire him for doing things that the smartest among us would probably never accomplish–although it’s my understanding that David Simon cannot skate backwards well or work well with anagrams. How smart can he be?

    • Good point.

      It’s been decades since “being smarter” was something to aspire to. Nowadays, trying to become smarter is generally looked down upon if there’s no direct monetary incentive at play. (ie You’re lucky enough to have the resources to “become smarter” and have that pay off in the job market) Otherwise, you just want to be a “buzz-killing smarty pants”. Nobody likes a smarty pants.

      Stupidity, on the other hand, is encouraged everywhere you look in this culture. We are awash in stupidity. Entire industries now depend on people making stupid choices.

      One could easily argue that America has become an idiot factory and that stupidity is its number one export. (Minus the work of some smarty-pants writer guy from Baltimore.)

  • Hey, btw, great job with Show Me A Hero. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and regardless of what certain critics said, you guys DID actually make court injunctions suspenseful. And in true Wire-esque form, I have a new found appreciation for old songs I never really liked til hearing them again in your soundtracks (“Hungry heart,” etc).

    Have you heard about what’s going on right this second in my new home town of New Haven? A vast 300-unit housing project, Church Street South, is being demolished and its tenants moved to hotels after years of complaints and derelict on behalf of Northland, the HUD-funded landlord of the site.

  • Personally (and I don’t know why I’m taking this personally) I take umbrage with the assertion that there *is* something wrong with being Homer Simpson. The family patriarch has, in no particular order: gone into space; won a Grammy; been involved in a fist-fight with George Bush Snr., and; raised a loving family of three children (Bart, Lisa and the other one) alongside a beautiful wife.

    It’s perfectly cromulent to want to be Homer Simpson.

  • Love it! Your family dinner parties must be a riot. (Oops — am I allowed to use “riot” in Baltimore? Some of the Sun’s more brilliant readers will, no doubt, look at this as encouraging violence. Oh, dear me.)

  • If only you had a third brother who didn’t talk, but just used a variety of horns and other musical instruments to communicate…you could take that show on the road!

  • It’s great to have you back Mr. Simon. And with no less than a light dose of humor. There’s not enough of that to be found in these troubling times.

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