Following Donald Trump being elected as the 45th President of the United States earlier this month, many people were shocked to see that a TV show, The Simpsons, was accurate in their depiction of that exact scenario during an episode 15 years ago.
It wasn't the first time that the show was correct in predictions, though, as the animated family has remarkably—and somewhat spookily—done so.
A philosophy professor from the University of Glasgow named Dr. John Donaldson—who announced that he'll be teaching a one-day class on The Simpsons in January, 2017—talked to Business Insider about why the TV show has been so accurate in its predictions, as well as why it's the perfect tool for teaching philosophy.
"It's a show about life," Donaldson told Business Insider. "It deals with situations close to our own hearts and touches on themes we see in our day-to-day lives, so it's unsurprising that some of the things they touch on can become a reality."
"Coincidences happen," he said. "The Simpsons set out to make a joke about Donald Trump because it seemed so ridiculous, and it just so happened that political circumstances changed to the point that someone like Trump could become president."
"Life imitates art," said Donaldson. "And this certainly isn't the first example of life imitating art." The University of Glasgow lecturer pointed out that genres such as science fiction are famous for this. As well as predicting "more obvious technical advances like mobile phones," dystopian themes in some works can become a reality.
"Many people draw parallels to George Orwell's '1984' in terms of the heavy surveillance we are under in modern society," Donaldson said.
Interesting takes from the professor, who relates the satirical show to some previous works of writing that many people relate to society these days—such as Orwell's "1984" and Aldous Huxleys' novel "Brave New World."
Donaldson continued, telling Business Insider this:
"In one part, we look at Virtue Ethics and use Homer Simpson as a case study," he said. Virtue Ethics focuses on how "virtuous" a person is based on their actions. Donaldson applies Aristotle's theory to different situations the "Simpsons" patriarch finds himself in, culminating in a class debate on whether or not Homer is a virtuous character.
"Matt Groening started 'The Simpsons' as a satire on the world we live in, and it would be impossible to write a satire without touching on philosophy," he said.
It certainly isn't a fool-proof analysis, but it's an interesting one that's better than anything else we've heard—like The Simpsons writers being fortune tellers or something.