Mad Magazine held close to it’s roots. It’s magazine was an institution of crass and lewd but at the same time innocent humor. It introduced all of us the the hypocrisy of the mortal coil and the endless suffering that is being an adult. It trained us to find gallows comedy in the horror of a cruel unflinching grind. It was guru asking us to cast off our consumer ideas, to cast off our ideas of intolerance, and to lay bare our most troublesome worries.
It was both Libertine and understanding compassionate court Jester who wish to right wrongs of cultural issues of repression and fear mongering. It saw us all, no matter rich or poor, powerful or powerless. It saw us as all common, and at all our base, wanting to be entertained and have our values questioned in proper context, to make sure we never got too large for our pantaloons, or too vain for our ability to function with other people.
It smoothed edges, it opened communications, it acted as international diplomat to random strangers who knew this cultural iconoclast of our very ideas of what could be satire in such a way as to poke hot air from a target without destroying. It was our Charlie Hebdo but better. It worked within the rules and regulations of a regressionist backwards code of rules of what could and could not be done in comics.
The death of organized satire is one of the most dangerous moments in life of a culture. It could be simple mismanagement. It could be a tired staff wishing to move on. But it can also be a canary to the death of responsible surgically crafted free speech. Mad Magazine we thought to be different. It was an institution of political and social satire for America for over two and a half generations, nearly 70 years. So it is with heavy heart I wrote my own Eulogy for MAD Magazine. Good Satire is the only solace we have in the darkest of times. It can galvanize and draw us to action. It lets us know we are not alone in bleak times. And in the happiest times it keeps us humble, and self reflecting.
MAD magazine was very formative to me. It taught me how satire is important to question your nation and its policies as well as its culture in a way that asks does this hurt or help as a child. It taught me to always try to be humble because if you got to egotistical MAD Magazine would be there to remind you, “you are not above reproach.” It really feels like an old guard of cultural watchdogs for a centrist world view is now passing on.
So I ask you to take a moment of silence and smile at the times you fondly remember reading MAD Magazine. MAD Magazine will forever live in the fold-ins in the backs of our minds. As we spy vs spy into hearts of fellow fans, we will find solace. Respite from sadness comes if we remember “Nothing is ever truly dead; so long as we remember it fondly” & with a lark of “What, Me Worry?”
And if this advice doesn’t work there is always listening to the bee gees’s song “I Started A Joke” and cursing the high heavens and the deepest pits of hell. Wishing and pleading with the ether to show itself as some sort of demon or angel. One in which you can make a divine request for mercy or some sort of devil’s bargain. Whatever you can to save the sweet juvenile highly subversive Alfred E. Neuman mascot-ed satire that is and ever shall be MAD Magazine
Thank you for the laughs and education.