I've had a subscription to Mad Magazine
since I was 13
. One afternoon
2001 I received my latest copy in the mail. I turned back the white protective outer cover, and Alfred E. Neuman
versions of the family from Malcolm in the Middle
smiled back at me. I was pleased, since I used to watch that show, and I think it's funny when Mad
parodies shows that I actually watch. Then I opened the actual magazine
, and read this slogan:
Corn Gone Wrong
It was a furshlugginer Corn Nuts ad, featuring two giant, sinister ears of corn. I stared at it for a good five minutes, no lie. I tried to find the humor in it; the parody. It seemed so foreign in MAD that I didn't even think that it could possibly be the real thing. When I got to the Letters and Tomatoes Department, I saw their lame disclaimer. From now on, the disclamer read, MAD would be hosting real ads, probably because they needed the money to buy their fancy new glossy color pages. Way to conform, guys. Anyone who's read Good Days and Mad knows that not only do ads have no place in there, but William M. Gaines once paid extra money to order special paper because he was out of the crappy newsprint they've always used, and he refused to use the glossy paper he had lying around. He wanted Mad to look cheap, as it always had, and always should look.
I mean, there's even an ad on the back cover, once a sacred place for the funniest and biggest ad parodies, the heart of Mad. Sometimes they would post parody covers of other publications, like the Ikea catalog, on the back cover. Stuff like that was so awesome. They can never do that again. They can never have an "upside down" cover again. Readers wrote in to complain about the ads, but their letters were answered sarcastically, as always. That really turned me off, and now I only read MAD in the library. It's not nearly as good as it was before, and I'd never pay for a copy again. Why support Corporate America any more than I have to?