Ay Caramba! Lisa Simpson fights for Cornish freedom

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The Independent Online

For a fledgling independence movement there is only one thing that offers better publicity than a televised party political broadcast and that's a plug on the world's most famous cartoon series, The Simpsons.

For a fledgling independence movement there is only one thing that offers better publicity than a televised party political broadcast and that's a plug on the world's most famous cartoon series, The Simpsons.

The Cornish independence movement has realised possibly its best publicity coup to date with the news that the eight-year-old pointy-haired schoolgirl Lisa Simpson has become enamoured with their cause.

" Rydhsys rag Kernow lemmyn!" shouts Lisa, as she charges round the Simpsons' family home in Springfield, waving the St Piran's cross. " Kernow bys vykken!" The slogans ("Freedom for Cornwall, now!" and "Cornwall forever!") were translated by the Cornish Language Fellowship, at the request of Tim Long, The Simpsons' executive producer, for use in a Christmas Day special edition of the cartoon.

Mr Long decided to write the lines into the script after seeing a Cornish comedian perform in America. He then contacted the fellowship's website.

"I'm an executive producer at The Simpsons television show in Los Angeles, California. I have an urgent question regarding the Cornish language," the e-mail said. "In an upcoming episode, Lisa Simpson briefly takes up the cause of Cornish independence. Our hope is to have the character run around the house yelling 'Free Cornwall Now' in Cornish."

Matthew Clarke, the fellowship's press officer, provided the translation and the suggestion that Lisa waves the black and white flag of St Piran.

Yeardley Smith, the actor who voices Lisa, recorded the Cornish freedom cry last week for a four-minute UK special that will be shown as an alternative to the Queen's speech.

Paul Hodge, a Cornish poet and fan of The Simpsons, said: "It's fantastic that Cornwall and its language is being recognised by a global phenomenon like The Simpsons."

Bart's reaction to Lisa's militancy is unclear, but is thought likely to be along the lines of " Bydh kosel, den" (rough translation: "Don't have a cow, man.")

The Cornish connection is the latest in a long series of instances of the animated family taking a special interest in the cultural life of the United Kingdom.

Last year, The Simpsons made a British special in which the production team visited the Cabinet room to record a cameo by Tony Blair (who provoked Homer Simpson to remark "I can't believe we met Mr Bean").

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