There was a lot of discussion about the impending end of Mad Magazine recently. My thoughts:
1. It taught me a lot about interrogating media. Mad was often very concerned with Mass Media and took delight in pulling back as many curtains on that as it could, to reveal the venal profiteers behind them. It was the Media Literacy course that schools never taught.
2. And then there was Dave Berg’s stuff, which sure did fill a couple pages every issue. I’m sure he was a nice guy who got his stuff in before the deadline every time.
3. Collections of early Mad were, along with Pogo, one of my main sources for a grasp of modern American history. Seriously high school never makes it anywhere NEAR the last couple decades.
4. It was a weird mix of dumb and very smart. Sometimes the dumb was transcendent - Don Martin’s work for instance. It was always a bit fusty, I just knew instinctively everyone drawing it in the 80s was old enough to be my grandpa. They were all highly skilled at their trade but they were all old farts and maybe a little out of touch.
5. Gen-X grew up with it and seeing it go makes us feel old. I dunno if it meant anything to Nineties kids, y’all were weaned on Nickelodeon’s brand of self-aware media and Windows 95 start screens.
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