I guess I can’t be but so humorous today, what with the tragedies in Dayton and El Paso over the weekend, and my heart goes out to the victims and families involved in both shootings.
There are many more questions than answers at this point, and there are a lot of pundits and folks nationwide who are expressing their opinion on topics related to the twin tragedies, from every angle and from every side of the issue.
Not that having a sense of humor would in any way have prevented those or any other shootings, and, again, I’m not making light of a serious situation.
I have noticed, however, that humor and satire in many ways and forms are vanishing, as well as the means to express it.
Case in point is the recent announcement that Mad Magazine will cease publication later this year after over 500 issues, beginning in 1952.
Growing up, the comic book carousel at Reaves Drug Store in South Boston was the go-to place for Mad Magazine, if I can recall.
Just to let you know I possessed some form of culture in those days, I also collected a number of issues of Classics Illustrated, a sophisticated treatment of literary classics in comic book form.
Alfred E. Neuman and his familiar gap-toothed grin became a household icon for many a teenage boy like myself, who waited patiently for issues that poked fun at politicians of every stripe and our somewhat convoluted daily lives, but in a non-threatening manner.
As a somewhat sheltered youth, I didn’t realize that Mad Magazine, with its talented collection of writers and artists, provided relief from a moody and serious Cold War atmosphere where students like me were subject to air raid drills in school.
Anyone out there remember ducking under a desk with hands interlocked over your heads?
Few of us knew how close we came to nuclear war, until we grew up and found out more details about the Cuban nuclear crisis.
Neuman and his famous expression, “What, me worry?” became the slogan for many a young boy or girl, who appreciated good humor and satire, much of it political and much of it tongue-in-cheek.
“Spy vs. Spy” and other recurring features poking fun at everyday life were staples of the magazine, as was the Mad Fold-In found on the back page of the magazine.
It got to the point where actors, politicians and other public figures felt it was a compliment to be lampooned in Mad Magazine.
I’m going to miss the movie and television parodies, among other features such as “Me And My Big Mouth.”
At least it seems that, although the magazine will not feature new material by the end of the year, it will start relying on reprints of classic content from past issues.
This old codger would be somewhat mollified if that occurred, so get ready to walk down memory lane — if you dare.