For those of you under the age of 30, there was once a time when Americans could laugh at themselves. We didn’t walk around with a stick up our asses looking for things to offend us or act as if we were being attacked when one questioned something we might have said and it was a good time for this country. It was a good time for us.
Now, you might ask what this has to do with art?
Glad you asked.
As a kid in the 60’s we had so many cool things and not a one of them required us to sit on the couch to play football, be proud of ourselves because we could hold a plastic guitar and puch buttons to pretend we were playing a lead solo. We didn’t spend our days on a cumputer or our cell phones checking to see what other people were doing. When we watched TV, there was not a single episode of some mind numbingly stupid, talentless family creating drama for the masses. Although we did have Gilligan’s Island which was pretty stupid I considered it a fair trade since with Gilligan, the Skipper too, a millionaire and his wife, the movie star and a professor, we had Mary Ann.
But one of the absolute coolest things we had was MAD Magazine. Yes indeed, “What, me worry?” Afred E, Newman in all his satirical glory!!!!
Now, MAD Magazine was not the first nor was it the last but it was one of the best when it came to scathing satire of national and international leaders, TV and movie stars, there was no topic and no person rgar was off limits.
Now for the record, The Harvard Lampoon, established in 1876 was the first politically satirical magazine and is still in existence today. In fact, it was the Harvard Lampoon that ultimately lead to the forming of the National Lampoon in the 70’s.
My old man had his newspaper with its political cartoons (of course I loved the Sunday comics), but it was from the art of MAD Magazine that I not only developed my love for humor and political satire but my fledgling love of art. You had the art of Dave Berg, Don Martin, Jack Davis and so many more.
MAD Magazine cracked open that door to underground comics like ZAP Comix, which introduced me to R. Crumb, Robert Williams and the list goes on.
Over 60 years of humor, satire, cartoons and art have graced the pages of MAD Magazine. It has taught generations the value of humor in ourselves and in others.
It, along with other influences helped to devlope the twisted son of bitch that exists inside my head but also helped to teach me that it really is okay to laugh.
Here are just a few samples.
So there you have it, my friends.
Grab a coke, grab the one you love and strap in for the ride we call life. It can be a blast but you gotta laugh sometimes. You just fucking gotta laugh.