Mad Magazine was fact-checked by Snopes in the wake of a (rare) article making fun of Joe Biden, or his memory problems, coming to light on its website.
It was rated Mostly False by spokesperson Bobby Snopes Jr, who explained that “Every one in America cannot be expected to know that Mad Magazine is, or was, a satirical publication.”
The issue was brought to the attention of mainstream media outlets like the New York Times and the Washington Post, who decided to let fact-checkers rummage through the history of the monthly.
This only worsened the scandal, as one of their number uncovered the publication of a series of problematic articles in the 1970s called “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions.”
Appalled by the negativity, the scorn, and the hatred displayed by one Al Jaffee, The Times decided to show the articles to a select group of college students at Columbia University.
The responses turned out to be almost universally negative, if not devastating: Mr. Jaffee makes us feel unsafe, said one female student who preferred to remain anonymous. It is judgmental, testified another who is majoring in gender studies, it is unsafe and triggering, said a third, while a fourth asked, “Where is the room for dialog? Don’t you understand? This is precisely the reason why we need safe spaces.”
Asked why anyone would write hurtful comedy like that, Mr. Jaffee, who turned 100 last March, said that that was a question that it was probably safer for him not to provide an answer to.
Amazon chimes in
Threatening to limit the distribution of, and demonetize, the periodical founded by Bill Gaines and its website, an Amazon spokeswoman requested the censure of 290 articles or so while demanding “an apology from Mr. William Gaines, from his heirs, or from whoever is in charge of the website today.”
One example given of a problematic story was a 1980s James Bond 007 spoof because “in today’s #metoo environment, a number of people might be triggered by Mort Drucker’s hot chicks or be offended by the title, ‘For Your Thighs Only‘.”
One e-bay fact-checker who has been going back and looking through old Mad magazines for the past two months was asked if he at least enjoyed reading the compilations as well as the vintage issues.
“Honestly, it was more of a task — a noble one at that — so I haven’t really had time to laugh, although I did chuckle a bit when I read spoofs of both Bushes, [Ronald] Reagan, and [Richard] Nixon…” (Like most humor outlets then as today, at least 70 to 80% of Mad’s most acerbic comedy was directed at the right and at conservatives.)