Page 39 - Seniors Today -Volume no1
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Last Word

        An Ode to the Perennially Irreverent Spirit

        For our generation – baby boomers, flower children and now senior citizens - Mad was a
        totem... a guiding light to make sense of a topsy-turvy world

        By Manoj Maheshwari

        The recent news that Mad magazine was
        closing down hit me like a bolt from the blue. I
        have for many years not read the magazine but
        it still feels like the sudden loss of an old friend.
        As I sit in my recliner (, it is not about
        getting is about ergonomics!) and watch
        the rain come down, I decide to write an ode.
        My generation had a childhood where things
        were difficult but life was simple. An era of
        physical games, reading endless comics, sim-
        ple pakoras and bun maska, chatting with
        friends... all gave us immense pleasure. And
        then we grew up into a rebellious world of the
        60s and 70s... we gasped at the flower people.
        Lit up an unfiltered cigarette imagining it was         all kind. Mad was often rude, tasteless, and
        a joint. Marvelled at the sheer in-your-face (or        childish but as Gloria Steinem said: “There
        was it up-yours?) attitude at Woodstock. And            was a spirit of satire and irreverence in Mad
        desperately wanted to break our conservative            that was very important.”
        shackles and embrace this new rebellious                For our generation – baby boomers, flower
        irreverence.                                            children and now senior citizens - Mad was

        Mad was our window to be part of the irrev-             a totem......a guiding light to make sense of a
        erent rebel cause. Its defining face of Alfred E        topsy-turvy world as we learned from it to
        Neuman with his gap-toothed grin, somewhat              distrust authority, whether in the form of poli-
        goofy but with eyes that gleamed with quiet             ticians, advertisers or media figures.
        intelligence, epitomised the magazine’s charac-         Alas, the institution is finally closing down
        ter. It was not trash – it was rebellion, irrever-      as are a lot of its original core readers. The
        ence and biting satire intelligently put together       truth is that at some point, everything ends.
        with an overlay of snarky humour. Month after           Our most useful shield is to just laugh along
        month, it turned out a compilation of insanity,         the way. And it doesn’t really matter where
        cheekiness and satire. No ego was too big to            the laughter is coming from or what you are
        puncture, no pretensions too small to prick.            laughing at. So to all my Mad brothers all I
        Who doesn’t remember President Nixon on the             want to say is: Don’t forget we are the ‘The
        cover in a spoof on the movie The Sting, with           Oddfather’, of  ‘Somedunce Kid’ and, for God’s
        Mad calling it ‘the big con’ or the depiction of a      sake, do not ‘Botch Casually’ as you fix the ‘An-
        raised middle finger for one issue in the mid-          tenna on the Roof’!
        70s? ‘Spy vs. Spy’, the biting take on the Cold         Mad is dead... long may you be Mad.
        War is another treasured memory.
        Mad spoke to the young about universal val-
        ues of liberalism and exposed phoniness of

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