I’m quite sure none of you gave this any serious thought, but doesn’t it seem a bit suspicious that Mad Magazine announced it’s all but shutting down shortly after its “face,” Alfred E. Neuman was referenced by Pres. Donald Trump? You may recall Trump derided the chances of South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s chances of succeeding him in the White House, telling Politico, “Alfred E. Neuman cannot become President of the United States.” Fact is, Neuman did give it a shot in back in the ’60’s, running under his fairly over confident slogan “What-Me-Worry?”
For Buttigieg’s part, he tweeted that he had to look up who Neuman is because he claimed he wasn’t familiar with the reference. To that, I say, anyone who doesn’t know who Alfred E. Neuman is cannot be President, since the gap-toothed ginger represents just what made me what I am today–a semi-retired aging Baby Boomer who spends much of his day writing things in his basement office partially adorned with water color courtroom paintings of Pete Rose on the wall. I covered the case. Our artist kicked over the water for his paints in the jury box and it still makes me laugh.
Now, two months later, Mad announces it’s shutting down. Coincidence, I think not. Once a chump like Trump co-opts the magazine’s mascot, you know only bad things can happen to a publication that took great joy in lambasting him and most of his predecessors over the past 60 some-odd years. That means my whole life.
But I will not be denied. My brother and I were devoted readers as we refused to mature into adolescence and adulthood, regularly coughing up a quarter, and later 35 cents (cheap!) for issues of Mad and deep in a box in my awesome basement I came up with these three beauties from the 60’s. The pages are brittle, but then again, so was the humor.
In what other publication could a kid learn to be a cynical shit though tough love satire like this classic showing the big bad wolf blowing down the Berlin Wall.
I still crack up about the warning about making sure we pay close attention to the asterisk in ads. 1964 Plymic “luxury car with the economy price” for $2,164. Asterisk-all the stuff you need like power brakes, seats, a roof….are extra.
There was the famous inside back cover fold in. Here’s one asking “Who wants to be President more than anything? with caricatures of former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller and failed 1964 candidate Barry Goldwater. Fold it in…and it reveals the real answer….Richard Nixon!
Think things are much different today than they were in Mad’s heyday in the 1960’s. You would be wrong. Take a look at Chapter 1 in The Mad Primer of Bigots, Extremists and Other Loose Ends, which concludes, “Now you know what a Super Patriot is. He’s someone who loves his country while hating 93% of the people who live in it.”
Mad held nothing sacred, taking aim at even the most sacred chestnuts such as the soundtrack from “Sound of Music” as part of its feature titled, “Fakeout Record Jackets.”
Of course Mad’s classic subversive Spy vs. Spy strip basically lampooned how idiotic creating international conflicts is with every perceived “victory” being pyrrhic in the end.
Right up until the end, Mad shoved it up butts that deserved thorough stuffing, including recently departed Press Secretary Sarah Sanders …
and the arrogant Facebook posse.
But the bottom line is we need Mad’s kind of satire to keep us laughing when so much seems so hard to take. Oh sure, a lot of what “the usual gang of idiots” published was technically “fake,” but like all good comedy, based on truth…and that’s what helps us keep it real.
RIP MAD. Neuman in 2020! Sorry, Pete.
Reflecting on a week where California endured yet another mass shooting and unyielding, untamable, fatal wildfires and this nation’s Chief Executive gave convincing evidence though his behavior and deeds that evolution may be merely a theory, I encountered a gentleman that gave me hope me this world is better, much better than the miscreants dominating the headlines.
I’ll start with Dave Cantin. We met in the same building that once housed the restaurant where Jimmy Hoffa was last seen. It’s another restaurant now and we both were confident we’d arrive at our next destinations safe and sound. During my interview with Dave for a Forbes.com story, I learned his father abandoned his family when he was just 9, his mother suffered from depression and he basically raised himself. Despite that, Dave Cantin says he never once felt sorry for himself. In fact, he told me, he learned at that tender age how to develop what he called “self-motivation.” Oh, he was motivated alright. After graduating high school he answered an ad in an Asbury Park, N.J. newspaper for a car salesman. When he arrived at the dealership the sales manager told him he was too young, too inexperienced and to get lost. Instead, Cantin says he sat down, said he wasn’t leaving until he got a fair shake and stayed put for four hours until the boss relented and gave him a job. Good move. Cantin’s positive attitude and incredible work ethic moved him quickly up the ladder until he said he had to leave the dealership after a couple of years because the only job left to aspire to was his boss’s and he liked him too much.
Cantin went on to become a wildly successful car dealer in partnership with ex-New York Giant Brad Benson, then became interested in the car dealership merger and acquisition business. Last December he started his own company, Dave Cantin Group, and is already the nation’s biggest auto M&A firm. Dave’s gunning to be world’s biggest.
Sound like a rich guy solely interested in amassing money and toys? Not even close. Oh yeah, he’s wealthy, but here’s the twist. In 2011 Cantin was diagnosed with leukemia. Cancer. He used that long-honed self-motivation and positive attitude to beat the disease. Cantin says he was supposed to be in the hospital for three months, but not only checked himself out after 16 days, he went out and ran the Boston Marathon. Good for him, right? Aha. Cantin’s all about good for others. Aside from his successful business ventures, he’s devoted his life to the treatment and elimination of pediatric cancer. Why? Here’s what he told me:
“All of my companies we give back a percentage of every acquisition towards fighting the fight and in 2011 I said at the New York Auto Show, I stood up and said, I will not stop fighting this disease until one day no child has to hear those three scary words, ‘you have cancer’ you can bet your ass I will not. That is the most important to me in life. We don’t raise money, we don’t accept contributions. Everything we donate is from earnings the company makes.
We are on track this year to hopefully donate close to a half-million dollars. My goal is to get his ticking where we’re donating a few million dollars a year, just for pediatric cancer.”
Now that’s a real person. That’s a leader, that’s role model, that’s someone who’s truthful, humble, unselfish, thankful and kind. That the kind of person you want representing your great country. Not a lying coward who can’t even brave a little rain to honor soldiers who lost their lives defending the freedoms that, ironically, made it possible for that utter waste of protoplasm to ascend to this nation’s highest office, and defaces it daily with the lowest form of human behavior.
Updated October 31, 2015
Instead of debates, I think we’d see the true measure of the Presidential candidates through their trick or treating techniques, since an important aspect of being an effective politician is begging for handouts.
Hillary Clinton: “Trick or Treat! I’m counting on a fair appropriation of your sugary assets to sweeten my bulging campaign treasure chest and add to the goodies my party and I already promise to re-distribute once I’m elected.”
Donald Trump: “Are you a moron? This is no comic book trick or treat! You hand me minuscule Hershey Kisses when someone of my immense business acumen and ego is worthy of no less than a king sized Kit Kat bar. When I’m President losers like you and anyone with a foreign accent will be choking on M&Ms while true Americans will be dining on Snickers and Toblerones! In fact, I intend to build a wall around your lousy subdivision!”
Jeb Bush: “Trick or treat….please. My costume? Oh…I’m supposed to be masquerading as a viable candidate for President. At this point any donation will be appreciated. By the way, unlike my opponent Marco Rubio, I show up EVERY Halloween to beg for candy.”
Marco Rubio: “Hey, Bush Boy, you didn’t complain when John McCain missed a few Halloweens. Besides..t’s getting late. My mom says I have to get home, but could you toss in a Milky Way?”
Dr. Ben Carson: Person at door: “What? What? Speak up man!” Carson: “Hey! That’s a ‘gotcha question!’ But if you insist, I’m here in hopes you might toss a bon bon or two in my bag. I firmly believe any variety of violent war crimes and the attempt to exterminate a race could have been avoided if the victims came supplied with Tootsie Rolls rather than Mary Janes. I’m sure you see the logic in that.”
Bernie Sanders: Doesn’t solicit sweets. Knocks on doors and gives out free candy to anyone who wants it.