Mad magazine’s demise is part of the ending of a world

  
Via:  john-russell  •  2 weeks ago  •  6 comments

 Mad magazine’s demise is part of the ending of a world
The hijinks continue to this day. Recently, Trump play-scolded Vladimir Putin as the Russian president smirked in reply. “Don’t meddle in the election, please,” said Trump — as if the two of them had been caught giving wedgies and were forced to apologize. What, us worry?

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


Mad will no longer publish new content, we were informed, but will continue into the uncertain future by repackaging old material between new covers. Television used to do a version of that. It was called “The Love Boat.” 



To be subversive, however, requires a dominant culture to subvert. Mad was the smart-aleck spawn of the age of mass media, when everyone watched the same networks, flocked to the same movies and saluted the same flag. Without established authorities, it had no reason for being. Like the kid in the back of the classroom tossing spitballs and making fart sounds, a journal of subversive humor is funny only if there’s someone up front attempting to maintain order.

...Every feature mined the same ironic vein: The world’s a joke, a sham, a tale told by an idiot. Antonio Prohias lampooned the Cold War in a wordless strip called “Spy vs. Spy.”

Norman Mingo rendered President Richard M. Nixon as Paul Newman in “The Sting,” cheerfully burning a subpoena. Even Al Jaffee’s ingenious back-page “fold-in” cartoons revealed dark truths masked within otherwise banal scenes.

Mad’s April 1974 cover boiled the entire sensibility down into a single outrageous image: an upraised middle finger. The blowback was sufficiently intense that publisher William Gaines never went there again. But it wasn’t the readers who objected; it was our moms, dads, ministers, librarians. Our oppressors.

To be subversive, however, requires a dominant culture to subvert. Mad was the smart-aleck spawn of the age of mass media, when everyone watched the same networks, flocked to the same movies and saluted the same flag. Without established authorities, it had no reason for being. Like the kid in the back of the classroom tossing spitballs and making fart sounds, a journal of subversive humor is funny only if there’s someone up front attempting to maintain order.

We now live in a time when everyone’s a spitballer, from the president of the United States on down. America elected the world’s oldest seventh-grader in 2016; we knew what we were getting from the earliest days of his campaign. Asked about one opponent, the successful business executive Carly Fiorina, Trump replied, “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?” He bullied the rest of the field with stupid nicknames. The hijinks continue to this day. Recently, Trump play-scolded Vladimir Putin as the Russian president smirked in reply. “Don’t meddle in the election, please,” said Trump — as if the two of them had been caught giving wedgies and were forced to apologize. What, us worry?

Today, whether we’re doing history or current events, commerce or religion, we’re awash in iconoclasm but nearly bereft of icons. Everyone’s a court jester now, eager to expose the foibles of kings and queens. But the joke’s on us, because we no longer have authority figures to keep in check. We’re needling balloons that have already gone limp.

Some say Mad lost its edge to its offspring, from Bart Simpson to Stephen Colbert. Yet I wonder how long its influence could have continued after the extinction of the adult establishment. Not just a magazine, but a world, has ended — not with a SPLITCH but a doop.

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JohnRussell
1  seeder  JohnRussell    2 weeks ago

When the world is absurd, satire and lampooning become redundant. 

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
2  Ed-NavDoc    2 weeks ago

I grew up with Mad Magazine and so did my adult children. Sad news for sure. For the truly imaginative, there are always subversive themes to mine in a funny and good natured way. Mad proved that. Adios Alfred E. Newman. May you rest in peace....

 
 
 
SteevieGee
3  SteevieGee    2 weeks ago

I remember throughout my childhood my dad would take me to Thrifty's for ice cream.  His real purpose, of course, was to buy his Mad magazine.  He would sit and read it and laugh out loud and then kick it down to us kids.  I had a stack at least 2 feet tall.  My mom, correctly, thought the whole exercise was stupid.  It was fun though and helped to give me a life long love of reading.  It's somehow easy to imagine Trump looking at the pictures in Mad magazine.  Can we add the demise of Mad to the long list of Trump's Presidential accomplishments?

 
 
 
MUVA
3.1  MUVA  replied to  SteevieGee @3    2 weeks ago

Spy vs spy was my favorite.

 
 
 
SteevieGee
3.1.1  SteevieGee  replied to  MUVA @3.1    2 weeks ago

I loved Dave Berg and Don Martin and I loved the little drawings in the margins.  What they called the marginal thinking department.  Later after many of these guys retired it wasn't as good anymore.

 
 
 
Split Personality
4  Split Personality    2 weeks ago
"You can actually read the same thing that you could buy... at the store on your phone, on the internet," said Maria Terrero. "Everything's turning electronic."

DC Entertainment, which moved all of its publishing operations, including Mad Magazine, from New York to Los Angeles about a year ago, made the magazine's changing status official in a statement on Thursday.

"After issue #10 this fall," said the company, "there will no longer be new content ― except for the end-of-year specials which will always be all new. So starting with issue #11 the magazine will feature classic, best-of and nostalgic content from the last 67 years."

https://pix11.com/2019/07/04/mad-magazine-will-effectively-cease-publication-after-67-years/
 
 
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