Thursday, July 16, 2015

J. Edgar Hoover vs. MAD Magazine!

I suppose this shouldn't surprise me at this point, and yet somehow it does....

What follows are the first few paragraphs of Jake Rossen's 7-8-15 article entitled "When the FBI Went After 'Mad' Magazine":

"In a memo dated November 30, 1957, an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation identified as 'A. Jones' raised an issue of critical importance: 'Several complaints to the Bureau have been made concerning the "Mad" comic book [sic], which at one time presented the horror of war to readers.'
"Attached to the document were pages taken from a recent issue of Mad that featured a tongue-in-cheek game about draft dodging. Players who earned such status were advised to write to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and request a membership card certifying themselves as a 'full-fledged draft dodger.' At least three readers, the agent reported, did exactly that.
"Mad, of course, was the wildly popular satirical magazine that was reaching upwards of a million readers every other month. Published by William Gaines, who had already gotten into some trouble with Congress when he was called to testify about his gruesome horror comics in 1954, Mad lampooned everyone and everything. But in name-checking the notoriously humorless Hoover, Gaines had invited the wrong kind of attention.
"The memo got several facts incorrect: Mad had switched from a comic book to a magazine format in 1955, and it was Gaines’ E.C. Comics that had 'presented the horror of war' in other titles. Despite getting these crucial pieces of information wrong, Jones didn’t hesitate to editorialize: 'It is also of interest to note that…it is rather unfunny.'
"The agent recommended the Bureau’s New York offices 'make contact' with Mad’s headquarters to 'advise them of our displeasure' and to make sure 'that there be no repetition of such misuse of the Director’s name.'
"Less than a week later, the Feds entered the hallowed hallways patrolled by Alfred E. Neuman."
To read Rossen's entire article, click HERE.

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