Friday, April 17, 2009

It's Still a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

How big an influence was MAD Magazine on me as a child? Probably way too big. MAD, back then, was not like MAD is today. MAD used to satirize bigger things back in the sixties and well into the seventies. Sure they did movies and TV, but they also lampooned politics, every day life, literature, and poetry. The MAD reader in those days had to have some degree of literacy in order to understand the articles. Being a youngster I didn't understand it all, but I learned a lot from reading MAD about poetry and politics. I may have said this before, but I learned more about poetry from MAD Magazine than I did from going to school. And I include my college years.

I also learned about politics. Had Barack Obama grown up on the influence of MAD rather than that of Reverend Wright, William Ayers, and the rest of his rogue's gallery, he might have a better understanding of international politics and foreign affairs. In MAD number 98, the October 1965 issue (which was my introduction to this subversive little 'zine, given to me by an aunt who I will not embarrass by naming), they ran a piece called, The MAD United States Foreign Policy Primer. It was written by Lawrence Harvey Siegel and illustrated by Robert James Clark.

Right there, on page 35 of that issue, lesson 2 of the primer clearly reads:
See the World
It is divided into three parts:
One part consists of Enemy Nations,
One part consists of Neutral Nations,
One part consists of Friendly Nations.
We have been pushing our style of Democracy at all of them.
Has this policy succeeded?
You bet it has.
Today, our Enemies hate us,
The Neutrals hate us,
And our Friends hate us.
Which proves an important Democratic Principle:
All men are equal.
I was nine years old when I first read that back in the olden days of 1965, and I understood it. I bet Obama could too. And there were other humorous lessons that, in their own silly way gave an accurate, if not cynical view of the world, and our country's place in it. Rereading it, one notices that things haven't changed. Our friends still hate us. The neutrals hate us, and our enemies are called enemies for a reason. The only difference is that back in 1965, nobody could blame Bush for the world's hatred.

I bring all of this up only because our president is still running around the world, trying to make friends by undercutting the reputation of his own country, the one where he was (probably) born, the one that allowed him to grow from humble beginnings to the most powerful man in the world, the one where, even if he weren't president, he would still be providing a life for his family way beyond anything he could have provided in Kenya, Indonesia, or any of the other Islamic dictatorships that we're not at war with.

If he had some kind of understanding of how the world works, he would understand that nobody (especially our enemies) is going to suddenly like us because he runs around apologizing of American exceptionalism and saying dumb stuff like,
Too often, the United States has not pursued and sustained engagement with our neighbors. We have been too easily distracted by other priorities and have failed to see that our own progress is tied directly to progress throughout the Americas
and really dumb stuff like,
The U.S.-Cuba relationship is one example of a debate in the Americas that is too often dragged back to the 20th century. To confront our economic crisis, we don't need a debate about whether to have a rigid, state-run economy or unbridled and unregulated capitalism -- we need pragmatic and responsible action that advances our common prosperity.
I'd be willing to loan Obama my MADs that I have left. Then he too, could get an education and stop saying things that make him sound like Alfred E. Obama.

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At 3:27 PM, Blogger Mrs. C said...

Can Obama kiss the Arabs' feet next time he goes over that way to bow? I mean, because we don't need a debate about whether democracy is good or bad if they have oil.

I wish the office of the president had just a little more dignity right now...

The thing I remember most about MAD magazine was the folding picture at the end. :]

At 9:54 PM, Blogger Jungle Mom said...

I am especially livid after seeing Obama shake the hand of Chavez!!!

At 9:41 PM, Blogger Harry said...

Yeah, Obama does seem to have a warm spot in his heart for dictators, whether they be crazed Islamic theocrats or atheist commies. As long as they represent tyranny and hate the United States and Israel, Obama is their best budd. It is truly sickening.

At 7:29 PM, Blogger MightyMom said...

Harry, you're right, and it kinda makes you wonder what his aspirations Pres enough?? or is he taking notes from these other guys that he thinks are so wonderful?????

At 9:49 PM, Blogger Harry said...

People like that can't get to where they are without their faithful supporters, and Lord knows, Obama has a lot of those. I think King of the World would suit him fine.


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