Monday, February 21, 2011

Unread Herrings

There were 2 seminal magazines in the Age of Aquarius. The National Lampoon arrived as a monthly in the spring of 1970. A sophmoric, smart ass, older kid's magazine. Smarter than Mad, funnier than anything else available. Their stock in trade was topical parody. Little was off limits, as demonstrated by the ad above.

For those too young to remember, VW bugs supposedly floated, at least for a while. For the rest of the story Google Mary Jo Kopechne, and put 2 and 2 together.

By the time the Lampoon movies (Animal House et al) went into production (1977) the magazine had pretty well run its course, although it remained on life support under various incarnations until the late 90's. Back issues are available but expensive. A CD of back issues is supposedly either in the works or available at Amazon.

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead written by Rick Meyerowitz is a great biography of the magazine, its creators, writers and the generation which produced them.

In the mid 80's came SPY.

Spy's claim to fame was satire, although at times it would accidently resort to solid investigative news reporting. Created by Graydon Carter, it dealt primarily riffed within the media and entertainment industries, which in those days meant a lot of inside NYer stuff. For we flyovers, Spy was Holden Caulfield all growed up, an intro to textual cool. Traces of the old may still be found in Vanity Fair, which not coincidently is edited by Mr. Carter.

In its infinite wisdom Google Books has digitized all copies of Spy. For a time travelers look back to what in many ways feels a hundred years ago take a look here. It's worth the peek for the ads alone. Always start with the first issue and work forward.



Main Line Sportsman said...

I long for a copy of Nat'l Lampoons Kefauver High School Yearbook....

Jg. for FatScribe said...

a grand post ... that VW add is beyond droll; scathing? thx for the links to google books. will check into those back copies.

Divine Theatre said...

Still, there is no news source as reliable as The Onion.

lostpastremembered said...

I lived down the street from the old Spy office and often ate next to the cast of characters/writers at a local eatery. If you thought the magazine was funny... you should have heard them at lunch! The Onion is a great rag... but Spy was fab in its day.