Friday, April 23, 2010
Mad Magazine was my favorite periodical growing up in the 1960's. it was better than reading The Sporting News and Sport Illustrated. It represented a philosophy of humor and skepticism that was iconoclastic and politically neutral. It was the proverbial kid shooting spitballs at the pompous teacher. The magazine started in the 1950's as a cynical retort to the plethora of TV advertising/consumerism that defined the era. It then expanded into a satirical look into every form of authority of the times. The beauty of the magazine was that it was apolitical. I suspect the editors were liberal but the writing bespoke an insight into the foibles of the period that was as poignant as it was funny. The magazine never received the credit that it deserved in shaping the views and attitudes of a generation of suburban youth who would eventually develop a very healthy contempt for the larger institutions of our society that seemed to live on a diet of lies and hypocrisy, whether right or left. Last week, I purchased an anthology of offerings from the 50's through the 90's. Looking back, I was fascinated at the sophistication of the humor. Whether it was the countercultural lifestyle, military, government, business, or religion, the message was clear: the emperor has no clothes.