Some things don't change: Iconic MAD character Alfred E. Neuman still is "What, me worry?"
Sometimes when I use the computer, I grab a magazine to look at while it is "thinking"--it keeps me from getting too impatient and clicking things I shouldn't click. So tonight, WiFi at Borders. I grabbed MAD magazine, something I read regularly as a kid in the mid and late '70s.
MAD seems a lot more grown up now, I think. Or is it the kids that read it are more grown up?
When I was growing up, MAD was a critic of the way we lived. It poked fun at aspects of the American lifestyle. It did also make political commentary, but I don't remember it being as frequent or as pungent as today. It was more about family life. It also took on popular culture--mainly movies, music and television. Poking fun at the pretensions of these media was MAD's stock in trade.
The copy I picked up was a year in review sort of thing, with just one movie satire. The rest was dedicated to the events of the year. Events and people (Glenn Beck?) that most of MAD's 15-22 readership was likely to have heard of and followed in this age. I am not sure we would have been up on all that back in the 1970s.
It just felt different. Much more partisan and political with a clear left/progressive bias. I thought it a bit of a pity. I would like to see MAD mocking things such as the celebrity culture of today, and the pretentiousness of movies like "Avatar." Instead there is a lot of satiric attention to Beck and the Tea Party. There was a funny poke at celebutard Lindsey Lohan, and I LOL'ed at the mock up Car and Driver with tips for enjoying trips with runaway Toyotas. I was saddened though overall at how grown up the magazine seemed--how relentless all the partisan concerns were and how they pressed in on this icon of youthful rebellion, this magazine of pokes-in-the-eye that I remember fondly from my growing up years.
No wonder it seems like kids are older and older these days. No wonder our discourse has gotten more and more divided. The dividing starts early.