Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bring Back National Lampoon

I need to rant about some political nonsense.

What's with all the brouhaha over the picture on the cover of the New Yorker?

Why must we always cater to the lowest common denominator?

Here's the offensive photo.


And the outcry is that the casual observer will see it and have the wrong idea. Have we lost all faith in our American voters that we believe a glimpse of a magazine noted for satire will influence the election?

Thank heaven these uber PC knuckleheads weren't around in the 1970's when National Lampoon ran covers and fake ads that were brutal. For the whippersnappers in the crowd, National Lampoon used to be a magazine, not a cinema company. Before Animal House, and the Chevy Chase movies there was


I can only imagine the protests that would echo today.

The most famous ad ever run in National Lampoon was this one


What is the point of all this? Simple, American journalism had a long history of satire dating back to long before some of the "offended and outraged" folks were born.

Instead of reacting to every potential snippet of nonsense, how about focusing on some freakin' issues?

I believe it is racism, pure and simple. And not by the New Yorker Magazine, but by those crying foul. Barack Obama, as the Democratic Candidate, is fair game. No one has ever pulled any punches in any election before this. Political cartoonists always pretty much had free reign.

Until today.

Please tell me why different rules apply.


Adullamite said...

I love the Volkswagon ad! They would never try that today! :)

Anonymous said...

Different rules apply because we are allowing the political correctness lobby to frighten us into submission. I hate, loathe and detest political correctness.

Over here, we do still have Private Eye, thank heavens. I can't see them lying down without a fight. ;)

GumbyTheCat said...

Yes, PC has indeed gone wild. Mention that most terrorists are Muslims, and someone will get offended over "profiling". It's why an elderly grandmother will gave her baggage searched more thoroughly at an airport, but someone named Achmed al-Qaeda bin Sadr saunters right through security! God forbid we should offend someone who actually might try to blow up a jet...

Da Old Man said...

@ adullmite: The VW ad was certainly tasteless. But, it had no impact on Kenedy's career. Were people that much smarter back in the 1970's?

@ jay: Yup, I'm totally opposed to intentionally hurting others, which is what some people allowed in the past. But now, it's as if we are so afraid to upset any one any time.

@ Gumby: I understand profiling. I'm not against it. It's unfortunate, but it's a part of life.

shyne said...

I think the pc trend is symptomatic of how egocentric we've become as individuals. We place too much emphasis on our own senstivities, forgetting we're all just grains of sand on a beach.

This current feeling that some thoughts aren't "appropriate" is no more than an intolerance for opposing views.....jmo, of course.

Unknown said...

The thing about satire is, though, it actually has to be... say... funny. And obviously a joke.

I get the impression that folks try so hard to be scandalous these days and buck the PC system for attention that the funny ends up being lost somewhere along the way.

Stuck in the back of a drawer.

With gum on it.

And old pencil shavings. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks my pc was getting tired of running all the pc stuff.

Da Old Man said...

@ Shyne: I like the grains of sand analogy. It reminds me of sand castles on the beach. We're all part of the structure, but we are only here for a short time.

@ Jenn: True, but again, funny is subjective. While most people love your blog, which is one of the funniest around, some people actually prefer the humor of Pauly Shore. I swear. Ok, maybe only his Mom and his girlfriend, but still. :)
BTW, if I were editor of the New Yorker, I don't know if that's the cover I would have chosen mainly because it just didn't bring the funny.

@ Dr. Rob: You're welcome. :)

Howard Bannister said...

I concur. The funny wasn't brung.

I think as satire, it's really inartful. No context. If that image were in a thought bubble with a cartoon redneck thinking it...well...

I dunno. That's still not very funny, is it?

GetSmartGal said...

Love your rants Old Man!!

I think humor/satire should be left to those who do it well-National Lampoon, SNL(in the early years), The New Yorker missed the mark in a big way here. I didn't see the funny.

People were sensitive in the 70's they just weren't as organized...all those drugs and limited technology = lack of motivation ;)

Chat Blanc said...

National Lampoon is seriously funny! I'm a diehard pet lover and even I laugh at the dog bit. And the VW/Kennedy thing-a hoot and a half! Why? Because they're provocative. Anything less ruins the value of the humor. Too bad we're going "soft" these days.

Bradley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bradley said...

A funny thing regarding the National Lampoon cover with the dog on it - it's my understanding that it was their worst selling issue. Maybe American's really don't get it.

Da Old Man said...

@ Howard: It's better. Call the New Yorker to see if they have any openings. :)

@ Getsmartgal: Back in the 70's we had drugs that always made everything funnier

@ Sandy: Oh yeah, they were edgy. :)

@ Bradley: I wonder why. It's probably their most well known cover ever. Could be because it was the death issue. Kind of a bummer.

Kelly said...

You make valid points, COC. I for one miss the days of National Lampoon, too. I bought a subscription to that mag every year. You always knew where they were comin' from and they never ceased to make me laugh.

Da Old Man said...

@ Kelly: It was the most politically incorrect magazine ever. And hysterically funny. P.J. O'Rourke got his start there, and he is one of the best writers of all time.

MYM said...

Yeah, I didn't get all the fuss ... it's satire. Not sure it's funny satire, or even effective satire, and I don't think it was worthy of the cover, but what do I know.

Sad that people won't talk about issues ... just odd. You American's take too darn long for these elections, Canadians do them in 6 weeks. Maybe 8. That's it. Done.

Simon Jester said...

Geez! I loved National Lampoon. And it frequently had topless women too. What a full service rag.

savvy said...

Good topic today, and I agree. I'm not offended, but I am also not amused, and if the point is satire, then where the heck are the laughs? The problem is that while I get the point, many won't, and satire without a capable audience is just.... dumb. Then again, in a country run for 8 yrs by Dubya, what can one expect?

Da Old Man said...

@ Drowsey: You think 2 years is a long campaign?

@ Don: I never noticed the topless women. LOL

@ Savvy: Just saw the Daily Show. Bottom line, it was stupid, and Obama campaign should have laughed it off. I agree with Jon Stewart.

Anonymous said...

Funny shit, it's the damned truth though.

Anonymous said...

Here here! The National Lampoon ruled! I don't think many people nowadays realize just how much influence that magazine had on American humor.

Re: The New Yorker cover, I think the REAL satire is that it offended those whom it was intended to entertain. Here they were designing a cover to satirize those uptight right-wingers, and instead it offends the uptight left-wingers.

This proves once again that the left abandoned its counter-culture credentials a long time ago. They've morphed into a bunch of blue-nosed stuffed shirts. Lenny Bruce is turning in his grave.

Kelly said...

To Da Old Man:

Yeah, I knew about O' Rourke getting his start there. He was funny as hell back then. Unfortunately, he's not as funny as he used to be. God, I miss National Lampoon. It's irreverent humor was truly unique. I think it shaped my way of thinking. Scarey!

Anonymous said...

I can relate. I parodied this whole thing yesterday, and got some comments that seem to indicate there are some people out there with a dire sense-of-humor deficit.


Nanny Goats In Panties said...

I'm not sure this cover was meant to be "funny" as in ha ha. As I understand it, it was meant to mock the people who are making the statements/accusations depicted on the cover. It's making a point, rather than trying to make you laugh.

Anonymous said...

I had occasion to discuss the New Yorker cover with a very intelligent and reasonably well-informed woman I know on the day of the controversy. She's a lifelong Democrat. Her reaction was concern that maybe they knew something we didn't, that perhaps their willingness to go over the top like that was a sign that they really wanted to get a point out. It gave her pause, and, as I said, she stays fairly well informed, is sharp and analytical, and has probably never voted for a Republican in her life. Somehow, I can't imagine that she is the only one of hundreds of millions of Americans who might have had thoughts like that. So yes, whether we like it or not, I think something like this definitely has the potential to influence the election.

Anonymous said...

Words without their context (or images) leave us intellectually bankrupt and without the capacity to truly gauge content. It's sad.


Ed said...

Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

It needs to be banished from our lives!

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