Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Rite of passage

My oldest son's birthday is this weekend...he'll be 9. I decided it was time to celebrate his budding maturity and ever-expanding sense of humor. So, as a rite of passage, I bought him a subscription to Mad magazine.

It was a spontaneous idea that came about after he and his younger brother spent half an hour at the local library reading back issues of the magazine. They focused on Spy vs Spy and other light content, but they were thoroughly getting into the magazines. Clearly, they're ready.

It took me back to the days of my own youth when I didn't understand most of the movie parodies (between not having seen the movies and not understanding most of the contextual parody and sarcasm), yet I thoroughly understood the overall concept of making fun of, while shining a light of truth on, the status quo.

I have always contended that much of my free-thinking and questioning of authority was originally nurtured by my having grown up reading Mad and it's sister magazines, Cracked and Crazy. Maybe it seems strange to think that such illustrated rags of parody and satire could contribute to the development of a child's critical thinking ability, but in my case, I know that it's true.

But then, maybe that just says something about my own upbringing and childhood. I don't know. I'll also admit that there'll be three people fighting to get their hands on every issue of Mad that arrives at our house.


  1. I was never allowed to buy Mad magazine while growing up, btu I read a friends copy as often as I could, and I used to sit at the magazine rack in the supermarket and read it while my Mom shopped. So even though I rarely actually owned an issue, I loved it while growing up, and I think it helped to shape some of my world views. That explains some things, eh? Good on you for getting a subscription for your son. Enjoy it with him!

    Oh, btw-Cracked and Crazy weren't sister mags, they were competing mags published by other publishers but copying Mad's style and formula. (Cracked by Major then Globe Publications, Crazy by marvel)

  2. Ah, sorry, I should've chosen a different term. Brothers, maybe? As in brothers in arms? Although Crazy was clearly adopted...couldn't compete at all with Mad and Cracked was only marginally better.