Paul Gosselin (2010)
I have fond memories of reading Mad magazine as a kid and have a stash of old beat up Mads going back to the late sixties (somewhere in my house) to prove it. Most of them have been read and reread until the covers fell off. I remember many Mad movie satires that were actually much better than the movies themselves.
Moving to Quebec (French Canada), I lost touch with Mad as it is rarely seen on French magazine racks here. Over the last ten years, from time to time, on a trip I'd buy a copy of Mad. While there was still some good stuff (a good satire of Obama's economic initiative a few issues back), I noticed a tendency to sex-ploitation, a clear sign of writers in a creative rut. The logic is, if you can't come up with a good idea, throw in some sex and it'll sell... More and more, I'd find myself regretting buying a copy.
Recently I bought a copy of issue #504, hoping it would be worth the $6. Even though I'm a Mac user, I thought the satire on Ipad was great as was the one on cell phones. The Toyota Story wasn't bad either, but the Archie satire, where Archie marries Jughead, really tore it for me. What a pathetic piece of politically-correct crap! I feel just like Vomit Projectile Baby...
Over the years, Mad magazine has gained an position of influence. It is not the position of a preacher, a university professor or that of a politician, but a position of influence nonetheless. SciFi author, Kurt Vonnegut well described this kind of influence. In an address to a PEN Conference in Stockholm in 1973 he said to the assembled writers:
“(...) why aren't we more influential than we are? I am persuaded that we are tremendously influential, even though most national leaders, my own included, probably never heard of most of us here. Our influence is slow and subtle, and it is felt mainly by the young, They are hungry for myths which resonate with the mysteries of their own times.
We give them those myths.
We will become influential when those who have listened to our myths have become influential. Those who rule us now are living in accordance with myths created for them by writers when they were young. It is perfectly clear that our rulers do not question those myths for even a minute during busy day after busy day. Let us pray that those terrible influential writers who created those [myths] our leader's [believe] were humane. Thank you.” (pp. 228-229; in VONNEGUT, Kurt Jr. (1975) Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons, Dell Publishing Co. Inc, New York)
So the question then is, what are the myths that Mad magazine is propagating? What are the beliefs and prejudices that Mad is propagating? Don't give me any garbage that it's neutral or “just entertainment”. Scripture teaches that one day all our works will one day be called into judgement. And it also teaches that those who influence others will be more severely judged. Perhaps guys at Mad magazine are not into Christian stuff, but some of you have a Jewish background and the Torah also condemns homosexuality as evil, destroying the image of God in man and woman. I am fully aware that this contradicts the post-modern dogma that each individual can shape their own system of good and evil and do what they want, but that is too bad. Judgement will come someday, in this life or in the next. Despite what the intellectuals believe, despite what the media says, despite what Mad magazine says, it is part of the real world. It is true. Yes Alfred E. should worry...
Perhaps this talk about judgement has gotten you worried. Over the past few years cartoonists have actually had death threats made against them by Moslems. Don't worry about me. I am not one of those coherent Moslems that might send you a letter bomb or show up at your doorstep with a loaded pistol. While I do believe in judgement, I do not believe I have any sort of personal “ duty ” to execute it. That is not in my hands. My God does not need my help in that area. So though Christians may talk about judgement, you won't have to worry that any coherent Christian sending you a bomb or showing up on your doorstep with a pistol pointed at you.
Note that I did not use the mindless politically correct expression, “Moslem extremist”. This is simply garbage. There are coherent Moslems and there are incoherent (or inconsistent, westernised) Moslems. From the beginning Islam has been a militaristic, intolerant ideology. Mohammed himself, was a general and personally took troops into battle against the “infidels” (as opposed to Jesus who turned down the first opportunity to do that). The first four centuries of Islamic expansion was entirely military. By the Middle Ages, this expansion had taken Mohammed's soldiers into Spain, which was conquered for many years and also into France which barely escaped the same fate at the battle of Poitiers in 732. At this encounter, Charles Martel did not have a debate with Moslem missionaries or intellectuals. He was fighting Moslem armies. At this point, the West might have easily become Moslem and historically wherever Islam has become dominant it has stifled creativity and freedom of expression. Not convinced? Then just check out the report published by Freedom House organisation (The News of the Century: Press Freedom) on freedom of the press in all the countries of the world. This is something that should concern you.
Freedom House uses a simple system to classify countries in relation to how much freedom of expression is allowed or stifled. There are three categories :
F = Free
PF = Partly Free
NF = Not Free
In reading this report take time to set aside countries with either Islamic regimes or countries where Islam is dominant culturally. The result is rather startling (an example, based on the 1999 report).
So what's my point?
Well, in a world dominated by Islam, Mad magazine would never have existed. Just think about that. Oh, and by the way have you ever had the courage at Mad magazine to do a satire of Islam or a famous Imam like you do of well-known Evangelists or like you did of catholic priests on p. 56 of Mad issue #506? How about it? Why not put your freedom of expression to good use?
In any case, please reconsider the politically correct crap you've been putting out of late. Yes I'm quite aware that it is the dominant ideology, but one day judgement will come and you will have to account for what you've done. That is just the way the real world is made though we don't often see justice served in this world. But here we do have real freedom and real consequences and one day true justice will be served to all. But there is still time to change our ways.
I wish you well at Mad magazine.
Paul Gosselin; Social Anthropologist and author
< - Note that in the case of Christianity it only shifted into militaristic mode AFTER it had bought into the marriage with the Roman Empire in the fourth century AD. It is a late perversion. In the case of Islam, the union of State, Religion and Military was in the original DNA of Mohammed's religion.