These are worrying times, my friends.Many things to discuss, many things to contribute one’s thoughts to…and most of all this:
It must be admitted that few girls, of whatever age, have ever fathomed the delirious appeal of Mad humor.
These are the words of Michael Dirda of the Washington Post. Girls don’t like Mad?? Then explain to me, sir, why I have a picture of Fonebone hanging in my hallway?
Of course, no girl, and certainly no mother, could be expected to appreciate the risquÂ¿ insightfulness of “Snap Ploobadoof” — the sound of “Wonder Woman releasing her Amazon brassiere.”
If I have no appreciation of it, sir, then why did the detailed image instantly appear to me the second I read Snap Ploobadoof? Not only that, sir, I can look it up within one of my three or four Don Martin books 5 ft to my right, if I were inclined to do so.Hmph.Michael Dirda has an obvious desire to make Mad a “boys only/no gerls allowed” club house because, apparently, his memories of buying Mad at the corner store would be sullied if he knew that his ‘dorky sister’ was also reading it when she built her fort out of couch cushions. I submit, friends, that Michael Dirda is, in reality, a dork of the same type as those who has ruined the memory of Monty Python sketches by continually and unceasingly yelling “Ni!” every bloody g-damn opportunity. However, Dirda’s intention is to review The Completely Mad Don Martin…a compilation of Don Martin’s work over 30 years at Mad…and convince you, the reader, to buy it. I agree, and if I had $150 kicking around, I would certainly pick it up. His article, however, reviews memories of his favourite Don Martin gags in such a way that they manage to dampen the impact. How can you describe the Freak Accident, the Drag Race, or even the Rat Race:
My favorite single drawing — one I remember from boyhood — is “An Evening in the City.” A stubble-bearded guy with rolled-up shirtsleeves peers out of an office window and says, “I tell you, Mrs. Frimp, I’m getting sick and tired of this Rat Race!” At the next window the blowsy Mrs. Frimp answers, “I know what you mean, Mr. Eck! We’re all getting sick of it!” Below the couple, one sees the street: full of large, very determined rats, in track suits, running a marathon through the city. Mrs. Frimp then adds, needlessly, “Besides . . . a 7-day Rat Race is such a stupid idea in the first place!!”
Sure, it recalls fond memories…but nowhere near as funny as the original cartoon was…because it was a drawing. Does one describe the Mona Lisa?
Don Martin made up that sound, and that poster, and those names. But, as Gary Larson emphasizes in his foreword to The Completely Mad Don Martin, the man most truly dazzled in his drawing. His jowly, cross-eyed characters stare at us from the page with an utterly sublime imbecility, unaware of their smug silliness, confident that they are in control, the captains of their destiny and the masters of any situation, no matter how complex or improbable. In fact, Martin’s characters — half of them named Fonebone — resemble and behave like the Three Stooges, but Stooges without the least modicum of intelligence. Martin’s naively stupid fairy-tale princes, incompetent surgeons, hapless Tarzans and demonic dentists generally end up with cracked skulls and dazed what-hit-me grins. Whatever happens to them, though, they never, ever see it coming. But the reader does — and this is part of the pleasure of Martin’s humor: Like silent-era comedians, his characters toss a banana onto the sidewalk, then slip on it.
I think Dirda spent too much time intellectualizing something that wasn’t meant to be intellectualized in the first place. Then he made it lamer by essentially claiming something along the lines of “girls have cooties”.
Obviously, one’s dopey sisters could hardly be expected to grasp the sheer genius of a name like Elwood Pleebis, Fornis J. Plebney, or Horace Veeblefetzer. But even those girls one kind of, sort of, liked might actually fail to roll on the ground with uncontrollable laughter at a political poster that proclaimed: “Help the mentally incompetent. Re-elect your congressman!”
Yeah. ‘kay. Oh..one more thing. I’ve read Mad lately. If boys want to lay claim to the current state of Mad, they’re welcome to it.