As I was growing to maturity (OK, that one’s debatable) the most subversive influence on America’s youth was MAD magazine. If you are a card-carrying Baby Boomer (and these days it’s an AARP card) then you harbor fond memories of Alfred E. Neuman (what ... me worry?), cartoonist Don Martin’s grotesquely comical creations and Spy vs. Spy.
This little slice of cultural chaos was a little pricey (“50 cents ... cheap”) so for me it was an occasional indulgence. But whenever I could scrounge up the four bits it made for a blissful afternoons lampooning of societal norms — when that was far from common.
What made MAD special was the way it took ordinary facets of American life and turned them inside out. Generally speaking, it was stuff that otherwise went unexamined.
I still remember one parody from the early ’60s wherein a “reporter” interviewed a pot-bellied cop who was a proud member of the John Birch Society. It was howlingly funny — and enlightening. There were equally lacerating spoofs of the counterculture. Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter once observed that MAD was “ready to pounce on the illogical, hypocritical, self-serious and ludicrous.”
Where is MAD when we need it? Oh, it’s still around but it no longer enjoys the cultural cachet it once did.
All of the following tidbits were found circulating about the inter-web. None were prominently reported in the mainstream media. They were not reported at all in the right-wing media. That’s because the media doesn’t care, our politicians prevaricate and we-the-people disregard anything that gets in the way of our preconceived, predigested perceptions.
• This week, Mitt Romney (who is vowing to repeal Obamacare — which is the mirror-image of the health care bill Mitt himself pushed for and signed into law as governor of Massachusetts) stated that; “We don’t have people who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance.
Estimates vary, but even the most conservative guesstimate is that between 30 and 50 thousand people die each year in this country as a direct result of being uninsured. The most despicable aspect of Mitt’s remark is that he knows this. We often yearn for a cure for death by cancer. We could cure death by apathy with the stroke of a pen.
• Republican Wisconsin state Rep. Roger Rivard made the observation, this week, that; “Some girls rape easy.” He was affectionately quoting his father. The point he was attempting to make is that rape is very often a simple case of buyer’s remorse. Did you ever wonder how ignorance and bigotry propagate so easily? Children are empty vessels — and it is parents who fill them.
• Former Republican Arkansas state Rep. Charlie Fuqua (who is running again) has called for the forced sterilization of negligent parents. Actually, we did have a brush with eugenics back in the early decades of the 20th century. It’s one of the uglier chapters in our history.
Fuqua doesn’t like Islam or kids any better than bad parents. He believes that ALL Muslims should be deported and has called for the death penalty for rebellious children. No, I am not making any of this up, nor am I distorting his views. It’s all in his book; “God’s Law,” in which he cites the Bible as his inspiration.
For his enlightened views on the family unit, Fuqua has been rewarded with several terms in the Ark. State House and the “Friend of the Family” award from the Arkansas Christian Coalition a few years back.
He doesn’t sound that friendly to me.
• Republican Rep. Scott DesJarlais is a Tea Party darling who is running for re-election in Tennessee. He is also a volubly Christian, pro-life physician who impregnated one of his patients (he was married at the time) and then pressured her to get an abortion — in writing. She was one of four indiscretions which he admitted to. This was all verified in court documents and was a matter of public record during the last election cycle. No-one cared. He won in a walk. He will again.
• Florida real estate billionaire David Segal has informed all 7,000 of his employees that they will be fired if Barack Obama is re-elected. Atta’ boy, Dave! Thanks for demonstrating to all those liberal weasels that conservatives are the real job creators.
• Mitt Romney has criticized President Obama for daring to suggest that our schools could use more and better teachers. Yeah, because all that I have recounted lends itself to the suggestion that we are decidedly over-educated.
Meanwhile, all of those accursed political ads will be gone within the month — and I will finally be able to plug my phone back in.
Bud Wright is an author and Pasquotank County resident